Rev up for Oz nanny state
Stupidities can’t take shine off our sporting success
THIS year’s Bathurst 1000 brought out the best with true characters winning the race and inspiring millions along the way.
The win by Holden’s David Reynolds, Luke Youlden, their team Erebus Motorsport and its wonderful owner Betty Klimenko was one we’ll remember for a long time.
Their win was nothing but hard work, talent and passion for the sport and the people who love it.
Reynolds is a star, a larrikin and a sportsman who refuses to wear the corporate straight jacket. He speaks his mind, has fun and has put a tonne of effort into becoming a champion.
Youlden won the race at his 18th attempt and is a reminder to us all to never give up, while Klimenko is a superstar. Supercars should shine the brightest spotlight on her. Betty’s life story is amazing, but her passion for the sport and the people in her team is phenomenal.
The day after the race I spoke to them for my show on Sky News. But it wasn’t without a reminder of some of the stupidities that try to snuff out the very things that make these guys great.
We arranged to meet at the Sydney Opera House for the interview and from the second they got out of the car they were mobbed by schoolkids, race fans and a load of people who wanted to have photo.
They brought the Peter Brock trophy with them and gladly handed it to anyone who wanted to hold it as they took a snap with the winners.
It was a wonderful scene, not of fame, but of how sport can inspire a goodwill politicians would give their right arm to bottle.
But out the corner of my eye came the sight of a security guard who quickly descended on the scene to break up this spontaneous moment to query if we had a permit to film there.
“Come off it,” I said. “They just won Bathurst and we want to talk to them at one of the great public buildings we all own.”
But no, we didn’t have the paperwork.
So with Brock trophy in hand we were shunted to not just the bollards that guard us against terrorists, but three metres beyond where the security guard’s authority ended.
It was unnecessary and a frankly embarrassing reminder of the nanny state we now live in.
Meantime, we all know politicians try to use sport to pump their own polls. On Monday Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull filmed himself talking to Nathan Walker, the first Australian to professionally play hockey in America’s National Hockey League.
It’s four of the most painful minutes of tape I’ve seen. Turnbull has no idea who this bloke is and has virtually nothing to say to him.
After a couple of minutes of the smallest of small talk, Turnbull asks Walker if he’s met Australia’s ambassador to the US, Joe Hockey. Hockey, get it? He plays hockey and the ambassador’s name is Hockey.
It was skin crawlingly awkward stuff.
Funnily enough, Turnbull never tweeted or called Reynolds, Youlden or Klimenko after winning Bathurst. Now, you’d think if he was going to fake an interest in sport, it might be the one that we Australians actually watched on Sunday.
But then again, can you imagine how embarrassing that call would have been too? So … um … Bathurst ... yeah.
SPORTING TRIUMPH: V8 Supercar driver David Reynolds (right) celebrates with co-driver Luke Youlden after winning the Bathurst 1000 at Mount Panorama, Bathurst, last Sunday.