Shane van Gisbergen recently won the 2109 Barry Sheene Medal, an annual award honouring the achievements of a Supercars driver during that championship season. The medal is named after the two-time Grand Prix motorcycle world champion and motor racing television commentator Barry Sheene, who died from cancer. It is presented to the driver adjudged to have displayed ‘outstanding leadership, media interaction, character, personality, fan appeal and sportsmanship throughout the season.’ Undoubtedly van Gisbergen was a worthy winner for 2019. We saw an example of this at the Gold Coast 600 when, in the heat of the battle, he put aside his on-track rivalry with Scott McLaughlin in order to help him after a massive crash in qualifying.
He is the second Kiwi to have won the award since its inauguration in 2003. Scott McLaughlin was the first Kiwi to be honoured back in 2014.
2014 saw the return of Volvo in the Australian Touring Car Championship (International V8 Supercars Championship) since Robbie Francevic won the title driving a Volvo 240T in 1986. Volvo entered the championship with a factory team in a collaboration with Garry Rogers Motorsport and its motorsport arm, Polestar Racing. McLaughlin and Robert Dahlgren were the drivers in 2014.
McLaughlin made an impact from the get-go in Adelaide when he shocked six-time Champion Jamie Whincup on the last corner at the Clipsal 500 in Adelaide and never looked back. Remember those words, on live TV, “I just plucked it in first, gave it some jandal and f… yeah.”
He then went on to claim ten pole positions, and four race wins, second only to the dominant champion Jamie Whincup and equal with Mark Winterbottom, and one behind fellow Kiwi Shane van Gisbergen.
He went on to win the award for a second time in 2016.