From race suits to red carpet

  • 12/12/2014
  • By Riana Crehan
  • Virgin Australia Supercars Championship

Monday was our night of nights. Our one night of the year where we can all get out of our race suits, our team shirts and let our hair down in our best party frocks. The V8 Supercar season is a long, intense rollercoaster ride and the V8 Supercars Gala Awards is our way to recognise the superstars of our game, the drivers, who provide us with the entertainment on track.

At the track the majority of the time the teams are fierce competitors, sometimes barely able to crack a smile as they walk past each other. There are countless hours spent late at night in a cold transporter or garage trying to fix a mangled car, trying to unlock mystery speed and endless time spent waiting at airports.

The Gala is the night to put the competition aside and come together and celebrate another year of this great Championship.

For the ladies who put up with the tired and emotional drivers when they arrive home from a week of racing and appearances 15 times a year, as well as the travel in between races, this is also a chance to catch up and frock up - and for most of them have a rare moment away from young children.

I always think about these ladies, who are also true champions.

Amy Wall, with twin baby girls and a son - what a woman.

Kristy Kelly, two kids, works at the team, has a million animals, travels around the country with Todd - and is simply stunning.

Leanne Tander, with two little champions, has gone back to her racing career, writes a blog, and travels with Garth.

I could go on and on because these ladies behind the gents are all incredibly special and deserve huge congratulations for what they do throughout the year when we are 'on the road'. It's not an easy life being left at home for many months of the year, but I am glad at the Gala Awards the gals get their time to shine!

At this years Awards night we recognised and said farewell to the 'Enforcer' Russell Ingall as a full-time racer.

This was a really special moment - and I know he will hate that I say this publicly, but the old dog did shed a tear!

He will be missed very much on the grid full-time in 2015 but I have absolutely no doubt we will see him around in some capacity, purely because he loves the attention and just simply wont be able to stay away!

I will add that Julia Ingall was one of my best-dressed nominees on the night. I thought she looked absolutely stunning. Her dress was simple but sophisticated and Russ continues to punch well above his weight (he wont mind me saying that).

Now, the most talked about topic of the night of course - the frocks.

So many stunners on the night but in my eyes there were a couple of standouts. I have already given a nomination to Jules, so to add to the list I will say my fellow reporter and lady behind the camera Erin Molan - the girl can seriously do no wrong. Styled by Lauren Clarke and wearing a Philippa Galasso gown, just beautiful.

My other nominees were Jess Dane, who does a great job in public relations for Red Bull Racing Australia, in a sparkling floor length navy gown by Elle Zeitoune,

And Courtney Nicholson, Jamie Whincup's partner, who looked spectacular in a gold and white fitted number again from Elle Zeitoune! Seems only fitting that the champion has a winning lady on his arm.

My final mention goes to Lara MacDonald, Craig Lowndes' partner, who was also styled by Lauren Clarke -the girl was on a roll.

Click here for the Red Carpet photo gallery.

As far as the gents go, I need to give a nod to Ryan Walkinshaw. He had talked up his shoes to me all week and they certainly did not disappoint - dark green and full of sparkle. It takes a brave man to wear completely glittered shoes to a V8 Supercars dinner and I say there should be more!

Our entertainment for the evening was the amazingly talented Jessica Mauboy, and there was one person in particular who was starstruck.

Earlier in the year when we were filming some segments for the telecast Fabian Coulthard informed us that Dale Wood was the biggest Jess Mauboy fan on the planet. So one of the highlights of the night was the look on Dale's face when Jess Mauboy invited Dale onstage during her performance. Of course, Dale knew every word and I am pretty sure his wife need not buy him a Christmas present ever again. One happy boy!

Thanks @jessicamauboy for @FabianCoulthard & @1dalewood 's on stage selfie for @v8supercars tonight! pic.twitter.com/9ZxUe4wpr7

Becky Lamb (@Becky_Lamb) December 8, 2014

It's fair to say the champagne was flowing and the race boots were switched for dancing shoes -James Courtney and his former Championship winning engineer Scott Sinclair were dance floor kings - and at the Virgin Australia Lounge on Tuesday morning there were plenty of sore and sorry faces. But a great way to cap off what was a truly fabulous year of V8 Supercars.

Don't forget to tune in this weekend to V8Xtra for a special one-hour episode from the V8 Supercar Gala Dinner with all the highlights including the red carpet, the final show for 2014!

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