How Darwin's most iconic celebration nearly didn't happen

  • Repco Supercars Championship
  • |
  • 07/06/2021
  • By James Pavey

A bout of ill health and an error while leading nearly cost David Reynolds his maiden solo race win in Darwin.

The next stop on the 2021 Repco Supercars Championship calendar, Hidden Valley Raceway, has been kind to Kelly Grove Racing recruit Reynolds.

A maiden solo driver win in 2015 aboard a Prodrive Falcon came three years before he hit the front on the Sunday in an Erebus Commodore.

Reynolds, along with Jamie Whincup and Shane van Gisbergen, has won at Hidden Valley in a Ford and a Holden.

WATCH: REYNOLDS CELEBRATES IN DARWIN

His first, however, nearly went begging following a pre-race bout of illness, and a mid-race incident passing a backmarker.

“In ’15, I remember going into that race, I had the runs really bad, I couldn’t keep anything down,” the Penrite Racing Mustang driver told Supercars.com.

“That was a 200km race; it was tough, but my car was amazing.

“I qualified on pole and the car was so fast; it would have been a crime if I didn’t win.

Reynolds was quick, but under the weather

“I had a gap on Chaz [Mostert] when I stuffed up trying to pass [Michael] Caruso, who I think had a drama and was a lap down.

“I caught him really fast into Turn 5 and it scared me a bit, and I locked a tyre and cut straight across and didn’t do Turn 6 at all.

“If you did that these days, you’d probably be penalised, so I got away with it and I was super lucky.”

The day wasn’t all roses, but the result spoke volumes; Reynolds had finally won a solo driver race, nearly two years after he combined with Dean Canto to win on the Gold Coast streets.

Reynolds beats Mostert to victory

Having set a precedent with wild podium celebrations, such as throwing a broadcast microphone off the Bathurst podium in 2012, and lobbing pot plants off the Gold Coast podium, Reynolds was in control of how he’d celebrate in the Top End.

“I saw [then V8 Utes driver] Ryal Harris do a shoey after he won a race and I thought it was a good idea,” he said.

“I said to myself that I’d copy him the next race I won, and it was all but the next race!

“Me and him had a bit of a laugh about it, then everyone else started doing it.”

'I thought it was a good idea...'

The aptly-named ‘shoey’ was later performed by Australians Jack Miller in MotoGP and then Daniel Ricciardo in Formula 1.

Reynolds repeated the celebration when he scored his famous Bathurst win in 2017, and did it again in Darwin in 2018.

The 2015 win itself, while a career-defining moment, was tinged with the feeling of ‘what could have been’.

Three years earlier, Reynolds led at Phillip Island before a drama in his pit stop consigned him to 21st.

Reynolds accepts his fate

“It was my first solo win; it’s a funny old sport, isn’t it,” he said.

“My first one would have been Phillip Island in ’12; I qualified second and won the start.

“Then in the pit stop, the fuel hose split… that could have been my first win.

“I’ve had a lot of bad luck.”

'The car was so fast; it would have been a crime if I didn’t win'

Grouped with Whincup, van Gisbergen and Mark Winterbottom, Reynolds is one of four active drivers to have won multiple races in Darwin.

In 2018, aboard an Erebus Holden, he shot from fourth on the grid to lead into the first corner with a sensational outside move.

The Albury-born driver admitted the fast, flowing circuit seems to suit his style, which could provide a key confidence boost following a trying OTR SuperSprint.

“I don’t know why I go well there; as soon as I step off the plane there, I feel like I’m in a good spirit,” he said.

Reynolds celebrates victory in 2018

“It’s got a really good vibe, and I like the track; it’s nice and flowing.

“Every corner is different from the other, if you know what I mean. It’s a great challenge.

“It’s got a long straight, big braking zones, and I sort of suits my driving style.

“In saying that, I’ve had bad days there too; you need a good car there to go well.”

WATCH: HIGHLIGHTS OF REYNOLDS'S 2015 WIN

Next weekend’s event will mark the first time Reynolds will race in Darwin aboard a Mustang, having steered Erebus Commodore ZBs between 2018 and 2020.

Searching for a return to the podium following dour showings at Symmons Plains and The Bend Motorsport Park, Reynolds believes Darwin will provide another key level playing field in the battle for wins in 2021.

“It’s pretty even there between the Mustang and Commodore,” he said.

“I’ve won there in Fords and Holdens, and they were pretty similar.

Reynolds at The Bend last month

“They do have differences, but it’s a place where you can have good drive and get a good lap time, and also have good turn and get a good lap time.

“It’s one of those tracks which is a great leveller.”

Reynolds will return to the track for the Merlin Darwin Triple Crown across June 18-20. Tickets are available here.

The event will be broadcast live on Foxtel and will be streamed on Kayo, and will be broadcast live and free on Seven.

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