On this day: The shock win that fell from the heavens

  • Repco Supercars Championship
  • |
  • 19/08/2021
  • By James Pavey

Just add water.

That’s the tonic for a Supercars thriller, right?

On August 19 in 2007, Lee Holdsworth and Garry Rogers Motorsport combined to pull off one of the greatest shock victories in Supercars history.

Sydney rain and mist blanketed Oran Park on this day 14 years ago, and it was Holdsworth and GRM which played their hands.

The then 24-year-old, who had never won a Supercars race, had worked himself into fourth position going into the third and final race.

The decision to start the final race on wet weather tyres, while most others stuck to slicks, proved inspired when the heavens opened.

At the end of the warm-up lap, half the field decided to enter the pits after realising that slicks were the wrong choice.

Still having a mandatory pit-stop to perform, those who chose to start on slicks found themselves coming in after a lap.

Holdsworth races through the mist and spray

Craig Lowndes led from pole, but Holdsworth rounded him up as the leaders went under the bridge.

Lowndes, struggling on slicks, asked engineer Campbell Little what was coming, and was met with the response: "It's raining here, and there's rain on the radar."

The chaos left Holdsworth out on his own; at one stage, he enjoyed a 49-second lead over the field. He led Cameron McConville, who also started on wets, by six seconds after the standing lap.

However, the dramatic race featured three Safety Car interventions, with Holdsworth pegged back to the field each time.

Good weather for ducks

The first Safety Car was called on lap 24 of 46 following an incident for Jason Bright, who got going again.

Holdsworth’s teammate Dean Canto speared off at Turn 1 on the lap 27 restart, triggering a second Safety Car.

Remarkably, the Safety Car was triggered immediately after the lap 31 restart following contact between Greg Murphy and Mark Skaife, the latter bogged in the wet sand.

The race was restarted on lap 35, but Holdsworth ran untroubled for the remaining 11 laps to claim his maiden race win.

A maiden win for Holdsworth

It was a result Holdsworth so sorely needed after he was knocked around in a major Winton accident earlier in the season.

"It took me a couple of rounds to get back in the feel of things, and I was a little bit timid... especially on the wet circuits," he said.

"I felt safer starting on wets here and it turned out to be the right decision.

"I had to get ahead of these guys and I knew I had to pull a gap because there was a chance it could have dried out.

'Just want to get out and celebrate with my team'

"It's better than anything else I've felt before. I've got butterflies in my stomach and just want to get out and celebrate with my team.”

Holdsworth would have to wait until 2010 before he won again, with GRM on the streets of Homebush.

His third and so far final, to date, victory came in an emotional triumph for Erebus Motorsport at Winton in 2014.

The 38-year-old will co-drive with Walkinshaw Andretti United star Chaz Mostert at the Repco Bathurst 1000 in November.

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