V8 Supercars Enforcer Russell Ingall is prepared for his Last Stand in the heart of Ned Kelly country.
Ingall will compete in his last meeting at Winton Raceway as a full-time V8 Supercars driver at this weekend’s Winton 360.
Like the infamous bushranger, Ingall is a standout character, a hero for many Australians and someone who has not always seen eye-to-eye with officialdom.
One of the similarities between Ingall and the olden-day Enforcer is the way they were both admired by legions of followers, and Ingall says his support base has been particularly strong this year.
“Since I announced this was going to be my last full-time season, I’ve been humbled by the number of people who have shown their appreciation at race meetings,” Ingall said.
“Winton is a place that always attracts a really passionate crowd; apart from Bathurst, it’s the only track where people can camp, so I think there will be more of the same this weekend.
“In my last stand, I’ll be doing my best to give them all something to celebrate.”
While the notorious outlaw fought an army of police in a battle of gunfire outside the Glenrowan Inn in 1880, Ingall will take on 27 rival drivers just eight kilometres south, at the Winton facility.
“While I’m outside the car, I might be friendly and up for a chat with everyone, but once I get behind the wheel, I’ll be ready for combat,” Ingall said.
“I might not wear as much armour as Ned Kelly, but the Supercheap Auto Racing Commodore is one tough weapon.
“I’ve already been attacked a few times this year.”
Unlike the gang of bushrangers who were captured after their final showdown, Ingall will be around for a while longer; after Winton, there are still five rounds in this year’s Championship and he will continue competing in the endurance races next year and beyond.
“I’m certainly not giving up racing,” Ingall said. “I still love V8s as much as ever and there are other categories I want to try as well, but I suppose all good things must end eventually – such is life.”