Rac­ers on run up­hill

Townsville Bulletin - - SPORT - TRENT SLATTER trent. slatter@ news. com. au

THEY’LL be tear­ing up the race­track at Reid Park this week­end, but Triple Eight stars Jamie Whin­cup, Shane Van Gis­ber­gen, and Craig Lown­des took the chance to get their legs pump­ing yes­ter­day morn­ing with a run up Cas­tle Hill.

The Su­per­cars trio were joined by lo­cal fans and fit­ness en­thu­si­asts as they pounded the pave­ment for a fi­nal fit­ness ses­sion ahead of a mas­sive week­end of rac­ing.

Whin­cup was the first to reach the top in keep­ing with his ex­em­plary record at the Townsville 400 where he’s won eight races, but he said he wasn’t in com­pe­ti­tion mode just yet.

“It was all about get­ting some fresh air and keep­ing it healthy. I en­joyed the jog with the boys and a few of the lo­cal girls. It was good fun,” Whin­cup said.

“Fit­ness is crit­i­cal for any­one whether you’re an ath­lete or not.

“It’s about stay­ing healthy and be­ing a bet­ter per­son at the end of the day. Get­ting a bit of a sweat up, it doesn’t get any bet­ter.”

Van Gis­ber­gen was less en­thu­si­as­tic about the morn­ing run – sim­ply of­fer­ing that “it sucked” – but he said the rac­ing in Townsville al­ways made the trip worth­while.

“I al­ways like com­ing here. It’s a bit too hot, but the rac­ing here is al­ways awe­some,” he said.

“It’s al­ways close. You’ve got to rub the car up against the wall and you’re al­ways on the limit the whole way.”

Van Gis­ber­gen is the de­fend­ing cham­pion and last year’s Townsville 400 played a huge part in his suc­cess as he fin­ished se­cond and first across the two races.

The New Zealan­der is yet to find the same con­sis­tency this sea­son, but he’s still run­ning fourth in the cham­pi­onship and felt ready to make an­other ti­tle charge.

“We al­ways go well on tracks like this. We just have to fo­cus and work as hard as we can,” van Gis­ber­gen said.

“This year has been a bit up and down, but we’re still fourth in the points and close to the front so we just have to make sure we make no mis­takes and have two good days.”

Whin­cup is yet to claim a race win this sea­son, but he’s still run­ning third in the cham­pi­onship with seven podium fin­ishes to his name.

The six- time se­ries win­ner said he al­ways felt com­fort­able tak­ing on the Reid Park street cir­cuit and he was con­fi­dent his engi­neer­ing team had him primed for an­other suc­cess­ful round.

“I’m feel­ing good. We’ve done a lot of work on the car be­hind the scenes to try and make it more com­pet­i­tive this week­end,” Whin­cup said.

“Time will tell whether that hard work pays off or not, but there’s no stone un­turned. We’ve gone through ev­ery­thing to make sure we hit the ground run­ning.

“I do en­joy this place. There’s a lot of good people up here so I al­ways feel good and gen­er­ally get the best out of my­self.

“So hope­fully that hap­pens again this week­end.”

Pic­ture: ZAK SIM­MONDS

TRACK ACES: Mem­bers of the Triple Eight Rac­ing Team Jamie Whin­cup, Shane van Gis­ber­gen and Craig Lown­des after run­ning up Cas­tle Hill yes­ter­day.

Su­per­cars driver Cameron Wa­ters.

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