An insight into the types of people who bet on sport in Australia.
The people who start the carparks for the Bathurst 1000 are up to the same tricks as the football fans and are well acquainted with our beautiful game, even if we don’t want them to be.
The names of the players, the bus and the drivers have been well defined for them. On some level they know what’s going to happen before it does, although at least this year they were relatively accurate in predicting a washout with four drivers in each qualifying session and two, David Wall and Chaz Mostert, qualifying in first and second to take the new ‘Rick Ward’ #1 ‘Blue Baffle’ Chevrolet SS.
Some of the selections were very strong. Jonathon Webb was confident about the race debut of Jamie Whincup. “It’s a big jump,” he said. “Obviously Scott McLaughlin’s gone to Red Bull Racing. Jamie is going to have a big weight lifted off his shoulders. I think he’ll be able to go for it. I think he can definitely hold his own up front.”
Just three races into the V8 Supercars Championship, Jamie Whincup has the look of a championship contender. He’s done everything right. His qualifying effort was clinical and measured, and like some of his team-mates, such as Shane van Gisbergen, he’s already got a second and a third.
Webb correctly predicted that on Friday morning Todd Kelly would be on the back row of the grid due to a five-place grid penalty for the car-change incident with Cameron Waters at the Clipsal 500. “For a new driver coming in, that’s not good enough,” he said.
However, Webb was very pessimistic about the threat from Scott McLaughlin. “I think he’s going to struggle a little bit. I don’t think he’s got much pace. I think the car’s going to be better for the first two or three rounds and then come Gold Coast he’ll have to look after it.”
Scott McLaughlin will need to look after the car a lot as he’s experienced some bad luck already this year. He took his car to the garage in each of the first two races after being caught out by incidents on corner entry. On Saturday the car suffered an electrical fault that put him out of contention.
Despite Webb’s pessimism about McLaughlin, there were still good selections made, such as the comments made by Phil Barnes at the opening race of the event. “I was thinking he’d have a little bit of a rocky time,” Barnes admitted. “I was just concerned for his first outing in the (Car)Live car. You want to see a little bit of a fight from the reigning champion. He’s had a bit of a horror run so far.”
The message was clear. Most of the telecasts that we saw in Bathurst were focused on McLaughlin’s troubles. The Bathurst 1000 is like an open-wheeler championship and the championship contenders need to be winning races. We all knew who the frontrunners were going into Bathurst and they were going to be front and centre.
The same two drivers who looked strong in the early part of the V8 Supercars Championship were well represented at Bathurst in 2016, with Craig Lowndes, Chaz Mostert and Jamie Whincup setting the pace.