Orr-West leaves Bathurst with a smile and happy memories
Whakatane dairy farmer and long-time racing driver Christina Orr-West was simply grateful for being able to “live the dream” at Bathurst despite a challenging weekend behind the wheel.
Orr-West, a regular in the New Zealand Toyota 86 Championship for several seasons, finished runner up in the Masters Class of the 2023 championship and was offered the Bathurst weekend when original prize winner John Penny had to put the handbrake on his participation with business commitments.
Last minute the opportunity may well have been but Orr-West is well known for her never-say-never attitude and jumped at the opportunity to race at the iconic circuit, a venue she last competed at more then a decade ago.
Competing in a busy and competitive full field of 32 cars in the fibal round of the TOYOTA GAZOO Australia 86 Championship for TOYOTA GAZOO Racing Australia, she settled in nicely and came away from the weekend with only minor battle scars on the car plus a 25th, 27th and 29th place finish in the three races and a huge smile on her face.
“The last race was frustrating as we had gearbox dramas before the start which ruined any real opportunity I had for a top twenty finish, but hey, that’s racing,” she said. “I’m just stoked that at this stage of my career I was able to race one more time at Mount Panorama.
“The best way to describe it is ‘full on’ but for any racing driver it’s a place that’s on the bucket list and I’ve raced here three times now and loved every second.”
Orr-West was teamed up in the TOYOTA GAZOO Racing Australia team with young up and coming Kiwi racer, Ben Stewart who bagged impressive finishes of 13th, 15th and 18th in his first visit to “The Mountain”.