Wil­son on brink of his first world ti­tle

Townsville Bulletin - - SPORT -

SU­PER­CARS star David Reynolds will spear­head Ere­bus Mo­tor­sport’s re­turn to the Bathurst 12- hour en­durance race in 2019.

Reynolds will join Luke Youlden and am­a­teur driver Yasser Shahin to con­test the Pro- Am class in a Mer­cedes AMG GT3 in the Fe­bru­ary race at Mount Panorama. Reynolds and Youlden paired up to win the Bathurst 1000 Su­per­cars race in 2017 in an Ere­bus car.

The pair looked set to re­peat that suc­cess at this year’s race be­fore Reynolds suf­fered de­bil­i­tat­ing cramps with just 26 laps to go.

A heart­bro­ken Reynolds lost the lead to even­tual win­ner Craig Lown­des be­fore hav­ing to hand over to Youlden for the race’s clos­ing laps.

Yes­ter­day’s an­nounce­ment marks a re­turn to GT rac­ing for Ere­bus, who won the 12hour out­right in 2013.

“The event holds a spe­cial place in the hearts of our team,” Ere­bus chief ex­ec­u­tive Barry Ryan said.

“It was the stage of our first big vic­tory and some­where we never fin­ished out­side the top five.

“We al­ways go there with high ex­pec­ta­tions.

“We want to push for the Pro- Am vic­tory but with the speed Yasser shows as an am­a­teur driver, also give the out­right vic­tory a go.”

Ere­bus aim to test in midJan­uary ahead of the event. RE­TIR­ING Joel Parkinson says it’s a mat­ter of when, not if, Ju­lian Wil­son joins him as a world surf­ing cham­pion.

The Queens­land pair will brave the famed Ban­zai Pipe­line in Hawaii’s sea­son- end­ing World Surf League event from to­mor­row morn­ing.

If Wil­son, equal se­cond on the series lad­der, wins the Bil­l­abong Pipe Mas­ters and leader Gabriel Me­d­ina doesn’t make the fi­nal the 30- year- old will win a maiden world ti­tle.

Parkinson, 37, will farewell the tour af­ter 18 years at the break he con­quered to win his lone ti­tle six years ago.

The Gold Coast surfer knows how hard it is to win such a ti­tle but says Wil­son is ready.

“He’s in his prime and I think be­tween 30- 33 is the best time when you still have your youth but you’ve been on tour for some time.”

Wil­son won the sea­son- opener on the Gold Coast de­spite hav­ing a shoul­der in­jury and his round nine win in France shot him into ti­tle con­tention.

He is the only non- Brazil­ian to win a leg this year, with Me­d­ina and Filipe Toledo ( equal se­cond with Wil­son) both more than ca­pa­ble of carv­ing up the Ha- wai­ian break to se­cure the ti­tle. But the un­pre­dictable na­ture of Pipe means there are no cer­tain­ties next week, while the with­drawal of de­fend­ing world cham­pion John John Florence is an­other plot twist.

Parkinson can win a fourth Triple Crown of Surf­ing ( an event made up of two lower- level Hawai­ian lead- up events and the Pipe Mas­ters) and ide­ally help his mate out by de­feat­ing a Brazil­ian on the way to a strong re­sult.

“That would be a huge scalp, it’d be some­thing,” Parkinson said of beat­ing Me­d­ina or Toledo.

SURF’S UP: Ju­lian Wil­son com­petes at the Pipe­line Mas­ters in Hawaii and ( in­set) Joel Parkinson.

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