Motorsport: Fit again Murphy back for Hamilton

By Eric Thompson

Greg Murphy. Photo / John Pryke
Greg Murphy. Photo / John Pryke

New Zealand V8 Supercars iconic driver Greg Murphy has been given the all-clear by surgeons to go racing this weekend at the last V8 event in Hamilton.

The four-time Bathurst winner was confident he would recover from a back injury to battle on the Frankton streets, but a green light from the professionals is more than welcome.

The Kiwi can now concentrate on getting the job done at the ITM400, and although he thinks it is a long shot to win - the TAB have him at 100 to one - you can never say never in motorsport.

When the annual event was raced at Pukekohe, Murphy owned the race but he has had lean pickings both here and in Australia since 2005.

"The back's coming along good and doing what it's supposed to do at this point," said Murphy. "Of course I'd love to win at Hamilton, that's the reason we go racing. It means a lot to win as a Kiwi in New Zealand, you only have to ask the Gis [Shane van Gisbergen] how that feels. It's fantastic.

"Unfortunately at the moment you wouldn't be putting too much money on us to be the one to spearhead the challenge this weekend. You have to be truthful about it; we haven't actually set the world on fire so far this season.

"If miraculously we were able to turn that around this weekend it would be sensational and I would absolutely love that."

Many of the category drivers have come to respect the Hamilton circuit and like racing on the challenging and tricky track. The general consensus is one of loss, and all the drivers will be keen to do well at the last hurrah at the Waikato city.

"It's disappointing for all the people who have put so much effort into the place. It's a sad day when you lose a race track no matter where it is.

"When we left Pukekohe we all thought we were going to a bigger and better place but it wasn't to be," said Murphy.

It will be a tall order for Murphy to stand on the podium either Saturday or Sunday. He is, though, a proven winner and if the planets are aligned and the mechanical gods glance his way, it is not too big an ask for "Murph" to get his first podium in a long time.

If he does have a good day tomorrow in practice, the tables could turn, and with a good qualifying run the Kiwi could make the pointy end of the grid for Saturday's race.

He sits at the foot of the V8 Supercars points table having only completed one of four races. Murphy had a huge shunt at the opening round involving Jonathon Webb at the Clipsal 500 in Adelaide and then had to miss round two at Symmons Plains in Tasmania because of a blown disc.

The dream for all New Zealand race fans would be to see all three Kiwi drivers - Murphy, Van Gisbergen and Fabian Coulthard - on the podium regardless of the order.

- NZ Herald

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