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