Motorsport: Murph burns up the track

By Eric Thompson

V8 Supercars veteran returns to winning form on his favourite circuit at Pukekohe.

Greg Murphy and Jack Perkins show winning style as they speed past the grandstands at Pukekohe yesterday. Photo / Sarah Ivey
Greg Murphy and Jack Perkins show winning style as they speed past the grandstands at Pukekohe yesterday. Photo / Sarah Ivey

Greg Murphy showed vintage form over the weekend by finishing second, first and first again at round six of the V8 SuperTourers series at Pukekohe over the weekend.

The V8 Supercars' driver arrived back in New Zealand after a horrendous session across the Ditch marred by injury and a car that's not performing.

However, over the two days of racing Murphy and his co-driver Jack Perkins, also a V8 Supercars pilot, put on a dominant display to take the lion's share of the points and close the gap on series leader John McIntyre.

The weekend was the last time cars will do battle on the grand old lady of motor racing circuits, as the track is due to be re-configured in preparation for the return of the V8 Supercars in April next year.

Murphy showed the many fans at Pukekohe his form of old when he was virtually unbeatable. He won four of the seven rounds held there during 2001 to 2007 and was dead chuffed to be on top of the podium after a long time in the desert.

"This is seriously cool to be in these cars and back at Pukekohe," said a Murphy we haven't seen in a while - happy.

"We were pushing it and pushing it trying to break the guys behind and Jono [Jonathan Webb, Scott McLaughlin's co-driver] was pushing me hard and in the end we managed to get it over them.

"We had a great day with two wins and this guy [Perkins] did an awesome job. It brings back a few memories. It was back in 2005 that I've felt anything like this and it's nice to come back to Puke in front of a great crowd.

"It's great to be competitive and put the Mike Pero Commodore on the podium in the number one spot."

Murphy had a solid co-driver in Perkins and the former V8 Supercars' racer hasn't disappointed in the V8ST enduro rounds, having won in Taupo at the previous round and backed that up with a second in race two.

"It was really good today," said Perkins. "Everyone knows I did a bit of a stuff-up yesterday and today that didn't happen and I was able to hand the car over to Murph and watch him at work. It was a little bit nail biting towards the end but it turned out all good."

As one of the new generation of V8 drivers, McLaughlin has been the man to beat since missing the Manfeild round, winning three straight races at the last of the sprint rounds at Hampton Downs and then finishing with a first and second at Taupo in the opening enduro round.

The 19-year-old has been turning heads in Australia in the V8 Supercars' development series winning the odd race and being at the sharp end of the championship. He really made folk take notice when he finished sixth at the Bathurst 1000 a few weeks ago co-driving with Webb.

The duo won the opening race on Saturday and were the only pair to take it to Murphy and Perkins all weekend, finishing with a first and two seconds.

"Anyone who can beat Murph around Pukekohe is doing okay," said McLaughlin. "He's won numerous titles around here in V8 Supercars so I can't complain.

"The car was probably the best we could get it but it needed to be a little better. Jono drove great all weekend and I'm so proud of everyone. We lead the overall championship now so bring on Ruapuna [last round, November 23-25]."

Three different pairings grabbed the third spot on the podium over the weekend; Kayne Scott/Simon Evans, Daniel Gaunt/Andrew Waite and Richard Moore/Owen Kelly. Championship contenders Jonny Reid and John McIntyre will be looking to Ruapuna to make amends to keep their championships hopes alive.


Six of best for Oz hero Stoner

Casey Stoner won a fairytale sixth successive Australian Motorcycle Grand Prix yesterday as Spaniard Jorge Lorenzo clinched the MotoGP world championship.

In his farewell home MotoGP before retiring from the sport, Aussie Stoner continued his domination of the Phillip Island event he has made his own since he first won on the track in 2007.

Yamaha rider Lorenzo finished second to secure the world title, with Briton Cal Crutchlow third.

Lorenzo has an unassailable lead in the points standings with just one more race remaining this season. It is Lorenzo's second world title.


V8ST points after five rounds

*Scott McLaughlin 2995

*John McIntyre 2840

*Greg Murphy 2732

*Jonny Reid 2654

*Andy Booth 2308

*Kayne Scott 2299

- NZ Herald

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