Full disclosure: I’m not much of a car-racing enthusiast. That said, like most Gold Coasters, I like to watch the highlights of the Gold Coast 600 so I can stay up to date and check in on the results of one of our biggest tourism drawcards.
It makes me so proud that we host such a world-class event every year, one that seems to get bigger and better every year.
This year I was even prouder when I saw the reaction to the part of the race that everyone’s talking about today – the moment when Scott McLaughlin spectacularly crashed, colliding with a wall, upending his car and landing in a terrifying and precarious position with the car on its side.
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The official race medical team raced to his side, but competitor Shane van Gisbergen also ran into action.
Van Gisbergen stopped his car, sprinted across the track and jumped up on the wall next to the wrecking, then attempted to help pull McLaughlin out of his Mustang.
It was a stunning display of Aussie mateship and really sums up why sporting events in Australia are so valuable to the community.
I have re-watched that part of the race twice with my kids, explaining to them that he didn’t have to stop; that he was in competition with the driver who crashed; that no matter what the circumstances or how competitive you are, compassion and kindness trumps all else.
For his part, van Gisbergen – who claimed victory in the final race – was keen to downplay his actions, telling reporters it was an impulse reaction.
“It’s not a good feeling coming around the corner and seeing one of your mates on his side,” van Gisbergen said.
“I helped him out but the medical team were there fast. He was pretty shaken but he will be fine. It was irrelevant who it was when I first saw it. You would do it for anyone in the field – it was shocking.”
McLaughlin was taken to hospital for observation but was discharged Sunday night.
He was quick to thank his competitor for “pulling up”.
“I just want to thank Shane for… seeing if I was all right. I want to say thanks to him,” McLaughlin said.
“It all happened so fast … I was more worried about people hitting my roof than I was about [the crash]. Thankfully we’ve got a great car. Everyone does in Supercars. And we’re safe. And people will learn from this incident and hopefully, we can make safety even better for the next few years.”