‘It’ Happens: All-Time Moments, Episode 1

“3 wheels on my wagon” – Barry Sheene

Back due to a lack of demand, it’s time for another edition of It Happens, where I detail sporting moments that sometimes have to be seen to be believed.

In this all-time moment, the year is 2001, it’s the Queen’s Birthday long weekend, and the V8 Supercars, under the guise of the Shell Championship Series, are racing around the streets of Canberra for the Canberra 400.

Yep, the good old days of Canberra, with those stupid reverse grid races that led to a crapload of leading drivers getting clouted on the narrow layout…

Speaking of which, the Canberra circuit was designed by Mark Skaife, and ran around the Parliamentary Triangle, full of places like Parliament House, the Treasury Building, the National Library, and the old Parliament House.

Pfft – It’s Questacon or bust.

As far as the street circuits of Australian racing go, Canberra certainly wasn’t Adelaide… It ultimately got the flick after 2002, because nobody wants to be in Canberra in mid-winter.

Anyway, with only 3 laps remaining of Race 3 of the weekend, hotshot rookie Marcos Ambrose in the No.4 Stone Brothers Falcon, already 2 laps down, had some kind of failure with the left rear wheel bearing (Not for the first time that weekend) outside the Chinese Embassy, causing the wheel nut to go flying, and the tyre dislodged and went for a stroll down Flynn Drive.

As Ambrose pulled off the track, the tyre caught the roadside kerb like a train on rails, and it just kept rolling for a good 300m, managing to dodge the passing Top 6 cars (Garth Tander, Steven Johnson, Jason Bright, John Bowe, Steven Ellery) without causing a serious accident.

Anyway, you probably know the end result – It keeps on rolling for about 300m down to the Turn 12 kerbs, and the impact gave the tyre the perfect bounce, and in a scene that had to seen to be believed.


As the Channel 10 commentators pissed themselves laughing, the end result sparked the all-time great line from the late Barry Sheene:

“That’s why they call it a control tyre.”

There’s only one thing I could say about that:

For the record, Skaife won the race, and Steven ‘Junior’ Johnson finished 3rd and won the Round.

To conclude this edition of ‘It Happens’, here’s the incident as captured on Channel 10:

Also featuring Neil Crompton and Mark Oastler alongside Bazza

What is it with Ford Falcons and stray wheels….

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