People often ask me what I do in between race meetings and when I give them the answer they are generally quite surprised.I tell them I live a bit of a double life.
The majority of my life is racing. Live it. Breathe it. Watch it. Work it. Love it. You see me at race weekends running around pitlane like a crazy woman, I am there in the heart of action where many can only ever dream of getting so close and I am very grateful for my position!
I then come home and spend the next day (when I can) watching the replay, reliving it, catching the moments I might have missed, debriefing, updating my notes from the weekend and just digesting really what on earth just happened in the last three days. Then there are meetings, off-site shoots, reading, researching which goes on continually in the background.
But in between that is when I become what I like to call my second self - aRegistered Nurse in the Emergency Department.
Call me an adrenaline junkie. I suppose the two are not so dissimilar now I think about it. I run around chasing drivers who sometimes don't want to talk (Caruso, I'm looking at you mate!) dodging cars and being in the firing line.
Then I go to the ED, where I run around after patients who often don't want to do what I want them to, dodging all sorts of things and very much in the firing line!
So yes I live what I call a double life. A Pitlane reporter and a nurse. However, this doesn't mean the two don't ever combine! Nope. After QR my patients and fellow nurses were asking why I was so tan (Melbourne winter - sun, what is that!). The majority of people I work with have no idea what I get up to on weekends when I am not at the hospital. But at the track I always know when drivers, camera guys, audio guys, anyone really, starts the conversation with, 'so you know how you are a nurse, I have this...' that the next few words could literally be anything!
But it's all in good fun and I am more then happy to help or offer some advice to anyone who is asking!
Seriously though - this is the last weekend before we really 'do the double' and get into the Pirtek Enduro Cup part of our season. This weekend is big in terms of momentum, confidence and Championship points. It's a two day event for V8 Supercars so it will be critical to be quick out of the gate as the guys will only have just over one hour between the second and final practice session and qualifying. We also continue with the Super Sprint format however we return to a mixed tyre compound event like we saw at Darwin earlier in the year. Hard tyres Saturday and the addition one set of soft tyres on Sunday.
In recent times not a lot of V8 Supercar racing has been done on this circuit so it is going to be a really challenging weekend. Traditionally the circuit was very abrasive, but in 2011 they started resurfacing small sections of the track and have extended the resurfacing as the years have gone on. This is one of the reasons this circuit can be so tricky to get a handle on for drivers and engineers. As they are trying to set a car up for 3-4 differing levels of grip over one lap. For example turns two-three were resurfaced in 2011, turn one in 2012 and then some parts are still original tarmac.
There are many long flowing corners where one leads into the next and due to the long loaded nature of these corners it is hard on rear tyres. Drivers also need to watch for dropping off kerbs, which is what ruined Whincup's race in back 2012 after he suffered a late tyre failure.
The thing of note really is the 'unknown' going into the weekend. We haven't seen these Next Generation V8 Supercars race at this circuit. Both previous test days here were rain affected. We have mixed tyres which means strategy on Sunday when the big money is up for grabs is going to be really interesting. We have seen teams purposely split strategies this year to avoid stacking, and surprised us with strategy, which has certainly kept us on our toes in pitlane!
Whatwe do know is we have a desperate and determined Mark Winterbottom who is hungry to grab an ARMOR ALL Pole Position and some consistent car pace, the Holden Racing Team is on a charge with pace and has momentum right now, Craig Lowndes has himself back on track and caught up on some much needed sleep, and there are three more races with 300 valuable confidence boosters up for grabs before the Pirtek Enduro Cup in just three weeks time.
- Speed out the gate is critical, with such little time on Saturday morning; feedback from drivers in practice to the engineers to get the car in the window will be a pressure cooker situation.
- Mixed tyres on Sunday is going to be exciting and make qually effectively a shootout on softs!
- Even though he has never raced a thing at this track McLaughlin will be looking good to lock in that win Caruso denied him at QR
- I also feel it's Fabian's time to be back on the
And finally, for those who have had sleepless nights wondering what happened to our beautiful team mascot bird friend we found and saved from almost certain death at QR. He/She has gone to a beautiful, loving, caring home with a new adopted family to enjoy life.
Follow Riana on Instgram and Twitter,@rianacrehan