Scotty is a an excellent hand, but there’s also plenty of life in Garth.
The Walkinshaw Racing team’s decision to grab free agent Scott Pye to line-up with already re-signed James Courtney next season is easy enough to understand. Pye, cut loose from DJR-Team Penske for 2017, has shown great speed, is articulate and well presented, and has youth on his side.
Except for the age factor, all of those positives could also be attributed to Garth Tander, the highly credentialed long-time servant of HSV Walkinshaw who will depart HRT/Walkinshaw after 12 years at Clayton.
For me the decision is a bit like seeing Tony Cochrane drive over a cliff with one of my good mates – there is an aggravating mix of blessing and regret.
Garth Tander, by any measure, still has plenty to offer. Given the right machinery (and he has had to live with a dodgy old shitter for much of this season), he can mix it with anyone.
And is there anyone more impressive at slicing through the pack from a rearward grid slot? Don’t answer: I already know.
I’m more than pleased that Pye has found a good seat for the future. He has plenty to offer. But surely GT is still among the best six or eight drivers on the Supercars grid.
The timing of the decision to go for Pye over Tander was not terrific, coming just a few days after the veteran and Warren Luff combined to brilliantly win the Sandown 500.
Unsurprisingly, Tander is disappointed with Ryan Walkinshaw’s call.
He feels that at 39 he has plenty more to add to his 50 race wins, a V8 Supercars crown (2007), two Bathurst 1000 successes (2009, 2011) and the Sandown 500.
For sure, Tander will find a job next year, and let’s hope it’s with a competitive Supercars team.
He has been linked to a return Garry Rogers Motorsport, where it all started for him in 1998.
Perhaps a slot may emerge for Tander at Brad Jones Racing, just a couple of hours up the Hume.