Larkham: Burgess axing ‘a big call’ from Walkinshaw
Virgin Australia Supercars Championship
By Stefan Bartholomaeus
Supercars pundit Mark Larkham has questioned 'cultural issues' at Mobil 1 HSV Racing following the axing of team principal Adrian Burgess.
Burgess’ contract with the Ryan Walkinshaw-led team was terminated with immediate effect late last week following the latest in a series of poor performances at Barbagallo.
Walkinshaw had poached Burgess from Triple Eight midway through 2013 as part of an aggressive bid to return the then Holden Racing Team to the top in Supercars.
Although Burgess earlier led Dick Johnson Racing (2010) and Triple Eight (2011/12) to championship success, the Walkinshaw team won just seven races under the Englishman’s reign.
Speaking on Network Ten’s RPM, former Supercars team owner and driver turned commentator Mark Larkham described Burgess’ removal as ‘a big call’.
“That blindsided all of us. Adrian is one of the key players in our game,” said Larkham.
“You’ve got drivers, you’ve got team principals but there’s guys that sit in the middle of them. There’s only three or four that I really rate and he’s right at the top of the tree.
“It’s a big call to get rid of him. There’s obviously some cultural issues down there.”
Larkham questioned Walkinshaw’s approach to running the team alongside a variety of other business interests around the world.
Although the Roger Penske-owned Shell V-Power Racing is currently the category’s form team, Larkham pointed to the success of other owners who are intimately involved with their squads on a day-to-day basis.
“There’s issues here for me around leadership,” continued Larkham.
“That’s taking nothing away from Ryan, he’s across it, he’s got to travel around the world, but Adrian has got a much bigger role to play in that game then just running the race team.
“I’ve been lucky enough to see what wins and what loses down pitlane. Garry Rogers, Brad Jones, Roland Dane, those guys are on the ground every weekend and back in the workshop.
“Ryan Walkinshaw because he runs a raft of very successful businesses means he’s not. He’s there at some of them and that leaves Adrian to run everything. I think that’s hard.”