Home' V8X Supercar Magazine : June July 2014 Issue 81 Contents 72
wait until the end of the season because we
were leading the championship. I went back
and sat with Dr. Julian and went through
the pros and cons of prolonging the opera-
tion or doing it there and then.
“He said, ‘You can wait – I can’t guarantee
I can do the same operation in six or eight
months time, in the way I can do it right
now’. So for longevity in the sport and for
health, I went against the team and got the
operation done. One lateral ligament got
replaced and one was repaired.
“Then of course I went into a really inten-
sive rehabilitation process. I missed a round
(at Symmons Plains), which Cameron
McConville filled in for me, and it was
teeming down with rain so I was more than
happy to sit at home and watch it on TV!
“We came back at Winton, we had to go
through a medical examination obviously
to get back into the car. I passed the medical
but the doctor wasn’t confident enough that
I’d have enough side strength or support to
hold the knee or the leg without the brace.
“So then we had to modify the race suit
to go over the brace as well, which felt quite
funny. The team also asked for an approved
hand clutch but other teams refused, so we
had to stay with what we had. Luckily at
that point we only used the clutch off the
line, so my leg didn’t get a lot of workout.
“But then, of course, getting back in the
car after the accident, I was still uncomfort-
able in the car and being around other cars.
Once I got the first race out of the way and
with the contact and rubbing and all that,
once I got past that point, race two and
three were fine. We didn’t have a terribly
good weekend, but from that point there
was no turning back.”
Lowndes went on to win his third and so
far last championship that year, which was
a pretty big effort given the missed round
and the slow return at Winton.
Today he still suffers with his knee and
runs a training program that minimises
impact. He doesn’t run like the other
drivers, so plenty of bike work and the like
is the plan for the rebuilt Kid.
I would probably rate it to other crashes, I’d
probably say a seven or eight is the closest I
have got to it since,” he says.
1999: the KeY
Enduros The long-distance events were included in the
championship for the first time, so the season ended at
Bathurst, where Lowndes wrapped up the title (right).
Control tyrEs An end to the tyre war with Bridgestone
signed up as the control tyre manufacturer.
AdElAidE 500 The debut for the event that would be
known as the Clipsal 500, a marquee street circuit round.
supEr touring dEClinE The battle of Bathurst was won
in V8s’ favour as Super Touring lost its Great Race date.
shEll sponsorship The category became known as the
Shell Championship Series as the commercialisation of
V8 Supercars really stepped up.
diCk Johnson rEtirEs Marks the end of an era two
years after rival Peter Brock stepped down from full-time
driving. Lowndes had launched the youth movement.
15 Years on
The 1999 triumph remains Craig Lowndes’ most recent
championship success, remarkable for a driver who won
three championships from his first three full-time seasons.
Lowndes has finished runner-up five times since, includ-
ing the last three seasons, as he continues to push Triple
Eight teammate Jamie Whincup.
Could 2014 be his year to claim that long-awaited fourth
title? He’s had a stronger start than in recent seasons,
launching the year with a win and three podiums.
Consistency has been key; banking solid points with an
impressive finishing record in the first half of the season.
And unlike in recent seasons, Lowndes has been ahead of
Whincup in the standings early on with the reigning champ
forced to fight back from a tough start to the year by his
Whether this is enough to get Lowndes over the line come
season’s end, we’ll have to wait and see...
Scan to watch Craig Lowndes’
spectacular crash at Calder Park
Raceway in 1999. And try and count
how many times his car actually
rolls... not an easy task!
Fans welcome the mended lowndes to
Mount Panorama, where he would be
crowned the 1999 champion.
V8X81 p68-72 Lowndes Crash 1999.indd 72
12/5/14 4:17:30 PM
Links Archive April May 2014 Issue 80 Aug Sept 2014 Issue 82 Navigation Previous Page Next Page