In one of the more lighthearted moments of the 2021 Supercars season so far, Shane van Gisbergen has offered an interesting answer to the question of how he’s been able to sow up clean sweep weekends at the first two rounds of the championship.
Speaking on The Rock’s Morning Rumble show earlier today while driving to Brisbane, the Kiwi was asked how he had been able to secure five race wins from five starts across Bathurst and Sandown.
“Well, Scotty McLaughlin f**ked off to America, so that’s probably it,” van Gisbergen replied — most of his answer drowned out by laughter from The Rock DJs Andrew Mulligan, Bryce Casey, and Roger Farrelly.
“I don’t know, my team’s just awesome at the moment, and the car is good,” he added. “I’d love to be racing Scotty because I feel like we’d be a real shot to give him a crack this year. I’ll be supporting him in the states, but for me certainly it’s been awesome to be up the front. Loving it.
“I’m a friend of his, and as a competitor you hate the guy because he’s so good. But I hope to think that we [Red Bull Ampol Racing] are getting better. But you just never know, could we have been as good as him this year? Who knows. It would be great to find out.”
In the candid interview, the Supercars points leader detailed the injuries he continues to recover from — injuries that initially jeopardized his chances of racing at the Sandown event last month, with the Kiwi ultimately racing through the pain to three straight wins.
“I fell off a mountain bike three weeks ago, snapped my collar bone, broke my A/C joint, and three ribs as well. So I’ve been in a bit of pain lately, but it’s all good,” van Gisbergen laughed.
“I’ve been in what’s called a hyperbaric chamber. It pressurises the cylinder that you sit in and it’s meant to compress all the white blood cells, red blood cells — whatever that means. It’s meant to make you get better, so I’ve just been living in that.
“That actually comes from Chad Reed. They break themselves all the time, they’re hardcore. He’s got his own one at home, and he reckons that’s the best thing you can do to make yourself get better quickly. I rode quite a bit over Summer, and even did some days with Murph [Greg Murphy].”
Quizzed on what he would like to do after Supercars, the 31-year-old said he was happy to stay in the series. Instead, he pointed to the newly opened Covid-19 bubble between New Zealand and Australia as a possible enabler for opportunities at home.
“I’ve always wanted to do rallying. [The City of Auckland Rally and Battle of Jacks Ridge] was such a good weekend; playing in the Escort on the rally and then the rallysprint at Jacks Ridge was epic. With the borders open now I hope to do some rally this year, but as far as circuit racing goes I’m pretty happy in Supercars.
“I love it in Australia and how close it is to New Zealand. It’s been difficult the last year. Normally when I have a week free I just go home and chill out in New Zealand. I don’t really have any aspirations to go overseas further, I love it where I am and I get to do heaps of other cool stuff as well.”
Van Gisbergen will be back behind the wheel next weekend at round three of the Supercars championship; the Beaurepaires Tasmania SuperSprint. With a perfect 605 points next to his name, he holds a 155-point lead over his nearest rival, teammate Jamie Whincup.