The very best news Holden fans could possibly ask for. Mark Skaife has retired.
I’ve been saying it for a long, long time now. One cannot be a successful V8 Supercar driver and a team owner. Even as a part-owner, it’s been crystal clear ever since HRT suffered the withdrawal of Holden’s ownership due to internal politics in the sport, and Skaife taking on 50% of the fiscal and managerial load, that Skaife the driver had also departed the scene. Clearly, the rumoured move by DJR’s Will Davison to HRT is now on. How good can this move be for HRT, Garth Tander, and above all others, Davison himself. Tander has no-one to either gauge himself against in the team, and no-one to internally compete against, despite the often false impression teams give of bon homie between teammates.
I’m both fascinated and just a tad unsurprised by Skaife’s statement that his desire to drive simply wasn’t in him anymore, and that “I’m probably turned on more by walking into boardrooms and making sponsor presentations or putting in a business case together.” I’ve never seen Skaife as the studious business executive, and probably never will. He doesn’t impress in that manner. I’d say he’s been led to the edge of the precipice by some very poor performances over recent years on a team basis, and pushed over by his own dissatisfaction at not being that guy on the top step of the podium any longer. Let’s be honest and admit that the man is a champion driver, but also that throughout his career, he’s never really had to struggle with sub-standard equipment under him, as many of todays better drivers have, and still are. Skaife started out in factory-backed machinery, and ends in factory-backed machinery. From Nissan to Holden, from Gibson Motorsport to the Holden Racing Team he’s always had the cream. I’ll be much more interested in watching Will Davison bloom in a factory-backed team than commemorating the end of a career which could have been so much greater than Skaife himself allowed it to be.