Supercars: Series leader Shane van Gisbergen on a return to racing after secret surgery

Championship leader Shane van Gisbergen admits he is uncertain over how the rest of the Supercars season will unfold as Covid chaos continues to grip parts of the country.

The defending Bathurst 1000 champion said he was bracing for more calendar change but was prepared to do whatever was needed to get the last five races of the season away.

Supercars is in the middle of an extended mid-season break, having last raced at Townsville on July 18 and is not due to return to the track until October 2-3 at Winton Raceway.

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The series announced a revised schedule for the second half of the season in late July, with Phillip Island to follow Winton in late October, the Bathurst 1000 and Sydney Supersprint set for November and the season-ending Gold Coast 500 in early December.

The longer break gave van Gisbergen the opportunity to have the metal plate — which he had inserted to repair a broken collarbone after a mountain-biking accident in March — surgically removed this month.

The New Zealand racer defied the injury to make a blistering start to his 2021 campaign, building a 276-point lead in the championship over teammate Jamie Whincup.

media_cameraShane van Gisbergen has built a 276-point lead in the championship over teammate Jamie Whincup.

Van Gisbergen is now itching for a return to racing but, with the next four events slated for the two states in the midst of Covid lockdowns, he acknowledged there could be more change on the horizon and everyone in the series had to be ready to adapt.

“I’m not worried, I guess (I am feeling) uncertain maybe but I can’t control those things,” van Gisbergen said.

“I just have to be ready (to race). At the moment, it’s October and I’ll be ready for October and if anything happens and we have to go on the road for a few months or do anything, I’m ready to do it.

“For sure the calendar is probably going to change again but we have to be ready to adapt.

“Racing and Supercars is my life and I’m sure that all the people running it will make sure that we get something to do, everyone just has to be patient and wait it out.”

Shane van Gisbergen after a victory at Sandown following his mountain-biking accident in March.
media_cameraShane van Gisbergen after a victory at Sandown following his mountain-biking accident in March.

Supercars pushed back the date of the Bathurst 1000 until early November in the hope of being able to attract crowds to its showpiece event.

Van Gisbergen, who claimed his first Bathurst victory in front of limited crowds last year, said the Great Race needed the atmosphere of fans.

“You want that atmosphere there,” van Gisbergen said.

“You want everyone there to experience it. Especially the shootout, the shootout is one of my highlights of the year. Luckily I have been one of the last guys in previous years and you just get fired up … the crowd just cheers when they see every green or red box come up.

“The atmosphere for that shoot out was something I really missed last year.

“I would love to have a full crowd up there again.”

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Van Gisbergen said his collarbone was “all good” after the plate removal and he was now ready to put the incident behind him and return to his quest for a second V8 title.

“It was a shame that it (the bike accident) happened, but it happened and luckily it didn’t affect my racing,” van Gisbergen said.

“It’s gone, it’s over … I’m just waiting for when the season starts again, whenever that is.”

Originally published as Supercars leader braces for more series uncertainty

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