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Sep 16, 2014

KUMHO V8 SERIES ‘ORIGINAL’ CLOSING IN ON RECORD

Blue Mountains racer John Vergotis typifies ‘privateer’ V8 racing spirit

WHEN the Kumho Tyres Australian V8 Touring Car Series made its debut at Mallala Motorsport Park back in 2008, John Vergotis was part of the tiny four-car grid.

Fast-forward six years and the Katoomba workshop proprietor is one of the backbone competitors in the series, which caters for ex-Falcons and Commodores no longer eligible for the V8 Supercar Development Series.

Vergotis is one of the most experienced Kumho Series drivers in the field and typifies the traditional ‘privateer’ label, preparing and racing his own car at meetings all over the country.

This weekend he will compete in round four of the 2014 series at Phillip Island and tie Western Australian Matt Hansen for second on the all-time Kumho Series starts list with 21 round appearances, four short of record holder Chris Smerdon.

“I do it because I enjoy it, at age 54 I’m certainly not trying to make a career out of it!” says Vergotis. “I always make sure I go out onto the track with a smile on my face and come back with one. If I can’t do that I need to give it away.

“I am racing against kids a third my age in some instances! I’m a grandfather now so you have guys at one end of the spectrum who are teenagers and then guys like me. I do it for the thrill and to better myself and keep improving at it. That’s what encourages me to do it again and again.

“You don’t have to be number one to enjoy this. It’s a series where you can go and enjoy it without being first. I hope more people get on board with the category.”

Vergotis, who started racing at age 45, is so passionate about his ex-Brad Jones Racing Falcon BA that he re-painted it in the team’s 2003 green and black livery as carried by V8 legend John Bowe during the period.

He started in the Kumho Series in an ex-Glenn Seton Ford Tickford Racing Falcon AU in 2008 and made the step up into the newer model car last season.

Vergotis will be part of the field in this weekend’s round at Phillip Island with Ryan Simpson leading the points from Justin Ruggier heading into round four of six for 2014.

The Kumho Tyres Australian V8 Touring Car Series cars will have private practice at Phillip Island on Friday with official practice, qualifying and Race 1 on Saturday and Races 2 and 3 on Sunday.