The balaclava scandal is one of the Bathurst memories that I will never forget when the officials penalised Marcos Ambrose and Warren Luff for not wearing a silly balaclava in the 2005 Supercheap Auto 1000.
Starting at lap 101 where the officials believed Ambrose’s co-driver Warren Luff didn’t have his balaclava on during his stint while the team deny the claim against them. They spent 2-3 laps debating against the officials whether or not he wore it as the officials believe he had it in his pocket for the whole stint.
On Lap 104 race engineer, Paul Forgie told Marcos Ambrose “Stop this lap, please Marcos, you got to do the drive through, you go to drive through this lap.”
When Marcos asked what the drive through penalty is for, Paul told him “They say Warren didn’t have his balaclava on.”
That sent Marcos nuts on the radio, “You gotta be kidding me, this is a joke, an absolute joke, its the biggest race of the year and they black flag us for that, you gotta be kidding me.”
As what all good race engineers need to do in the tough times, is to calm their driver down before the day gets worse than it already is and that’s what Paul Forgie did.
“Actually mate, I’m not kidding you, let’s keep cool and get back out there, there is a long way to go, Murphy’s car just gone pass us, we’re still in a good chance, we’re on lead lap and we’re got a good car,” said Forgie when he trying to calm Ambrose down.
Then the day gets worse for Marcos as the team doesn’t think Marcos has a balaclava on aswell. So the team got Paul Forgie to ask him on the radio on lap 110 “Are you wearing your balaclava” with Marcos responding “I think so.”
If Marcos does get caught after the race without a balaclava on, the officials could give him a big penalty. On Lap 118, Paul Forgie told Marcos “Ok Marcos, if you’re not wearing a balaclava I want you in this lap and we will put one on you, if you are wearing a balaclava keep going.”
“Yea, It’s one of those things you gotta cop on the end of the chin, they meant to do it and we haven’t done it, so be it, said Ross Stone when asked about the balaclava situation during the Channel Ten telecast.
On Lap 121, Marcos Ambrose pits to put a balaclava on which takes almost 40 seconds.
“I want the whole field checked, the whole field” said Marcos as he leaves the pits on the team radio.