Chinan high school scores international green technology gong

Facing the future: Toby Thorpe ventures out from Huonville High. Photo: Peter Hannam Toby Thorpe, shares the stage with Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi (left) and Nursultan Nazarbayev, President of Kazakhstan. Photo: Supplied
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It’s not every day an n high school student from gets to share a stage with Abu Dhabi’s Crown Prince, Sheikh Mohamed Bin Zayed and the President of Kazakhstan Nursultan Nazarbayev – and walks away with a $US100,000 ($132,000) prize.

But for 15 year-old Toby Thorpe, this week’s award ceremony in Abu Dhabi was merely the end of the beginning for a two-year plan to spur interest in renewable energy and energy savings among students and his local community south-west of Hobart.

​”It’s been a long time coming … now we can actually put our plan into action,” Mr Thorpe said. “It’s quite exciting.”

So far, about 20 students have helped design and install a pellet mill, bio digester, a bicycle-powered mobile cinema, and started work on a greenhouse made from 2500 recycled bottles.

The main venture, though, will now proceed with the funding from the Zayed Future Energy Prize. That venture will transform a decrepit former dental clinic at the school into a six-star energy rated training site on campus.

“It will be a research centre for students and an example for community members and other schools to learn what we’re doing so they can take it back and do it themselves,” Mr Thorpe said.

Those other schools may include fellow finalists for the Oceania category of the prize scooped by Huonville.

“[It’s] a lighthouse school for the region,” Geoff Williamson, the school’s principal said. “We’re already having conversations with Samoans and the Fijians – a lot of their projects are similar.”

And for Mr Thorpe, the adventure may be just beginning. His long-held plan to become a civil engineer with the n airforce may get a makeover after a visit to Abu Dhabi’s main renewable energy research centre, the Masdar Institute.

Follow Peter Hannam on Twitter and Facebook.

The author was a guest at IRENA’s seventh annual assembly and the World Future Energy Summit in Abu Dhabi.

Back-to-school: Parents deliberate over school shoes, from the dirt cheap to the brand names

Asha Taylor tries on new school shoes at Shoes & Sox, in Bondi Junction, Sydney. Photo: Janie Barrett Herbie Khan likes his new shoes, with his mother Nicole Graham. Photo: Janie Barrett
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Those $15 school shoes may be tempting, but be warned – a cheap and ill-fitting pair could cause corns, calluses, foot pain, lower back pain, and lasting damage.

“It’s endlessly sad. Poor fitting or poor quality footwear can contribute to kids coming home feeling tired, sore and irritable, not wanting to play sport, and sometimes in pain,” says Brendan Brown from A Step Ahead Podiatry.

It’s back-to-school shopping time, and thousands of parents are deliberating over schools shoes, from $12 leather mary janes at Big W to $160 Torandos from Clark’s.

Mr Brown says there are five features he always looks out for, and the cheaper the pair, the fewer of the features they are likely to possess. They are: Firm heel counterDoesn’t flex at the middleBends at the toeDoesn’t twistLace-ups

He recommends lace-ups, ahead of velcro, buckles, and slip-ons, in that order, because “laces can be tightened and loosened from your toes to your ankles, helping make the shoe fit more like a glove on your foot.”

He’s also a fan of black runners as an alternative, from brands such as ASICS and New Balance, which are increasingly moving into the market.

“Ascent has a range of school shoes they call ‘sports shoes in disguise’,” he says. “The biggest mistake I see parents making is buying shoes too big for their children’s feet.”

Karen Craig, retail director of Shoes & Sox, says black runners were a popular buy, with many children wearing school shoes for three days a week, and then swapping into more comfortable footwear for the other two days.

Clark’s Daytona leather lace-ups continue to be hugely popular among senior students, most likely because it comes in six widths.

Among junior boys, Clark’s Lochie velcro shoes with double straps are a common sight, while junior girls are exiting stores with a pair of Clark’s Indulge mary janes.

“Prices can vary depending on construction and width fitting. Our cheaper ones around $90 don’t have the range of width fittings,” says Ms Craig.

“The more expensive ones are all leather, and leather lined. At $90, they may have a synthetic inner, but they’re perforated, allowing the foot to breathe.”

Ms Craig says shoes should be properly fitted and last an entire year – that’s about 1300 hours of wear.

“You get what you pay for, because $30 shoes are tempting, but it’s all about the construction issues that are invisible to the consumer,” she says.

Ascent was able to nab the Australasian Podiatry Council’s exclusive endorsement two years ago after making an application, passing lab tests, and paying fees.

Before that, Clark’s enjoyed the industry’s exclusive endorsement.

George Wilson, APC’s business development manager, says the logo is meant to indicate to the public they can trust the product, “that’s all”.

“There’s no therapeutic benefit from wearing any sort of school shoes, but they’re well designed and do no harm, are well constructed, durable, and for those reasons they have our support,” he says. “The endorsement works like the National Heart Foundation’s tick.”

Zoe Taylor, mother-of-three, says comfort, durability and quality are the most important factors when shopping for school shoes for her children Eland, 11, Asha, 8, and Carter, 6.

“With Asha, we tried on lot of pairs, because her feet are very narrow, she wanted a certain style and it took us a few goes to get one that was actually good,” she says.

Nicole Graham, from Randwick, says $100 was a lot of money to spend on shoes, but she wanted her son Herbie, who is entering kindergarten, to be “really comfortable because he has to walk to school everyday”.

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AMA doctors accuse Labor of undermining confidence in health system

Labor’s health spokesman Walt Secord, left, with Opposition Leader Luke Foley. Photo: Jane Dyson n Medical Association NSW President Brad Frankum. Photo: Harriet Alexander
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NSW Health Minister Jillian Skinner.

The head of the influential doctors lobby has called out the Opposition’s criticisms of the health system under minister Jillian Skinner as unhelpful and corrosive and urged Labor not to use hospitals to push its own political agenda.

n Medical Association NSW president Brad Frankum said he planned to meet Opposition Leader Luke Foley to address his concerns about Labor’s attacks on Mrs Skinner, which were having a knock-on effect for doctors and nurses working in the system.

“I would urge people on both sides of politics to not use critical incidents in hospitals as a way of pushing party political agendas because it’s very damaging to clinicians and hospitals but most importantly to patients in the system,” Mr Frankum said.

“I understand that politically, in the short term, it’s probably successful, but you’ve got to be careful what sort of health system you want to inherit if it does end up in getting you votes.”

Mrs Skinner weathered a series of health scandals last year, including the gassing of two babies at Bankstown Hospital that left one brain damaged and the other dead, chemotherapy under-dosing at St Vincents Hospital, body mix-ups at Royal North Shore Hospital in which a baby was wrongly cremated and unapproved antibiotic use by doctors.

Labor’s health spokesman Walt Secord has repeatedly called for her resignation, saying that she was covering up a crisis in the health system.

He told Fairfax Media he stood by his criticisms of the minister and would be delighted to meet Dr Frankum to discuss health policy.

“I want to work with doctors, nurses and allied health professionals to restore public confidence in the NSW health and hospital system, which has been destroyed by Jillian Skinner,” Mr Secord said.

“As the Labor health spokesperson, my job and energies are spent solely on standing up for patients and their families – and advocating for them when they are let down by the state government. That has occurred repeatedly under Jillian Skinner.”

“I think Mrs Skinner has done a woeful job as health minister. The new premier must replace Jillian Skinner immediately.”

Premier Mike Baird was under pressure to drop Mrs Skinner from the portfolio in the cabinet reshuffle that was to occur before he blindsided colleagues with his resignation announcement on Thursday.

Mr Foley told reporters on Friday that Mrs Skinner was like a “cockroach” in her tenacity.

“She would survive a nuclear winter,” he said.

Dr Frankum said while he expected Labor to hold the government to account, some of its attacks were irresponsible – such as pre-empting the findings of the St Vincents chemotherapy scandal – or nonsensical – such as blaming the government for the rise in Salmonella cases.

“I’m very non-partisan but I’m concerned about people not ambulance chasing because it really undermines the confidence that the public has in the health system.”

Clinicians were able to work more effectively when Andrew McDonald, a paediatrician by trade, was the health spokesman for Labor, he said.

“We were able to go on with our job without worrying that every incident in the hospital system would end up on the front page and that’s important because it had become extremely toxic through the last government’s term,” Dr Frankum said.

“I’m seeing a swing back to that now and I think that’s really retrograde.”

Mrs Skinner told her local newspaper the Mosman Daily on Thursday that she wanted to continue as health minister, but would support the leader in any event.

“I will do whatever Gladys wants me to do,” Mrs Skinner said.

WNBL: Canberra Capitals fight to win against Bendigo to keep Carly Wilson’s fairytale alive

Lauren Mansfield scored 19 points against Bendigo. Photo: Elesa Kurtz Jazmon Gwathmey. Photo: Elesa Kurtz
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Canberra Capitals star Marianna Tolo says the players will use Carly Wilson’s retirement as the extra motivation for their push to end a five-season finals drought.

The Capitals edged closer to an elusive play-off berth with a gritty win against the Bendigo Spirit on Saturday night, blowing the visitors away in the final quarter to secure a 77-63 triumph.

Tolo was the standout again with 28 points and nine rebounds and was backed up by workhorse point guard Lauren Mansfield, with the duo combining for more than half of Canberra’s final score.

But the underlying inspiration came from Wilson, who announced last week she was retiring at the end of the season after almost 20 years in the WNBL.

The Capitals’ post-match huddle made special mention of making a charge for Wilson to give her a chance to finish her career with a fairytale fourth championship.

The Capitals have won 10 games this year and will walk a finals tightrope in the last six games of the year as they target a finals return for the first time since the 2010-11 campaign.

“We had to keep fighting to wear them down and we really kicked it up a gear in the last couple of minutes,” Tolo said.

“The announcement of Willo’s retirement is more motivation for us and we’re going to go into every game like it’s our last game.

“We’ve really got to fight because we know we’re coming from behind on the ladder, we know we’ve got a bit of catching up to do.

“We’re just praying for some results, but we’re doing everything we can to take care of our own business.

“Willo’s retirement adds a bit of fiestiness and a bit of fight for us. You want a player to have that dream finish to their career and for Willo, someone who’s been here so long, we’re doing everything we can to fight for her.”

Canberra has no beaten every team in the competition and toppling the Spirit will give the Capitals the confidence they need if they break into the play-offs.

Their next test is an Day clash against the second-placed Sydney Flames at Tuggeranong on Thursday, with both teams desperate for victory so close to the end of hte regular season.

The Capitals trailed by as many as 15 points in the opening half and had to wait until late in the third quarter to mount their challenge for the lead.

Bendigo was playing its second game in less than 24 hours after making the draining journey from Townsville to Canberra on the morning of the game to back up.

But every time the Capitals threatened to blast the visitors away with some Tolo magic or a Lauren Mansfield long bomb, the Spirit kept clawing their way back into the contest.

The score was locked at 56-all at three-quarter time and the lead continually traded hands until the Capitals opened up their biggest lead of the game with just two minutes left.

The Spirit didn’t have enough energy to get back into the game and Tolo killed off their last-minute hopes to snatch a 14-point triumph.

“Bendigo is a really tough team. It qas quite physical but I was glad we were able to execute down the stretch,” Mansfield said.

“That’s huge for us, it’s our third win in a row and we hadn’t beaten Bendigo yet so that’s really nice because we can go into the finals with a lot of confidence.

“We’re really hoping to get into those finals … Willo got a bit emotional at the end. She’s our leader and we want to send her out the right way.”

AT A GLANCE

CANBERRA CAPITALS 77 (Marianna Tolo 28, Lauren Mansfield 19, Mikaela Ruef 7) bt BENDIGO SPIRIT 63 (Kelsey Griffin 20, Nayo Raincock-Ekunwe 13, Nadeen Payne 10) at Tuggeranong Basketball Stadium on Saturday night. Crowd: 825.

BBL06: Sydney Sixers through to Big Bash League semi-finals after defeating Melbourne Stars

Power: Sean Abbott rescued the Sydney Sixers against the Melbourne Stars as he led them to a semi-final. Photo: Scott Barbour – CAThe Sydney Sixers have booked a ticket to Brisbane for the semi-finals after coming back from the brink of elimination to beat an undermanned Melbourne Stars at the MCG on Saturday night.
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Sean Abbott silenced the partisan crowd of 46,671 with a whirlwind innings that turned impending defeat into a stirring three-wicket victory.

The come-from-behind win sets up a clash with Brendon McCullum’s Brisbane Heat at the Gabba on Wednesday night for a berth in this summer’s Big Bash final. The Stars blew a chance to book a home final and must now travel to Perth for their semi on Tuesday.

The Sixers’ campaign was destined for the scrapheap after Nic Maddinson departed in the 15th over but they were rescued by the hitting power of Abbott and the smarts of veteran Johan Botha.

The pair added 59 off 28 balls for the seventh wicket to lift their side into the four at the expense of the Melbourne Renegades, who needed the Stars to win to keep their season alive.

Abbott came into the state scene as bowling all-rounder but his batting had failed to live up to expectations. But he saved one of his best innings at domestic level when the Sixers needed him most. He finished unbeaten on 33 off only 17 balls, seeing the Sixers home with an over to spare.

“To play the way he did will do wonders for his confidence,” Brad Haddin said.

The Sixers were under pressure in both innings of the game but each time they delivered the goods late.

A score around 180 was on the cards for the Stars, who were missing six first-choice players to injuries or international selection, they lost seven wickets in the final 27 balls for just 26 runs.

The Sixers would have had their sights on getting stuck into the Stars’ undermanned middle order but were made to wait before they could get through their high-class top three.

The Stars were given a strong start by foundation duo Rob Quiney and Luke Wright, who brought up their team’s 50 within the first five overs.

Quiney was looking particularly potent but after reaching 35 in a hurry clipped one off his hip to short fine leg.

It proved an important dismissal, as Quiney was threatening to destroy the Sixers and it brought about a more conservative approach from the Stars, who were wary of exposing their less experienced batsmen.

With Nathan Lyon hard to get away, the Sixers were able to rein in the Stars during the middle overs but the hosts were still well placed for a total in excess of 180.

Lyon claimed the key wicket of Wright, who made 62 off 47 balls, allowing the Sixers to capitalise on the Stars’ shallow batting.

Haddin turned the clock back by taking a one-handed classic to remove Seb Gotch though his juggled stumping of Evan Gulbis was not his smoothest piece of glovework.

Chinan Open 2017: Milos Raonic and Gael Monfils progress into fourth round

Milos Raonic and Gael Monfils have made it through to the fourth round of the 2017 n Open after accounting for Gilles Simon and Philipp Kohlschreiber respectively in their third-round encounters at Melbourne Park on Saturday.
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They will be joined there by surprise packet Denis Istomin who continued his seed-slaying run by defeating No.30 seed Pablo Carreno Busta in a five-set thriller 6-4, 4-6, 6-4, 4-6, 6-2 which lasted three hours and 27 minutes.

Wildcard Istomin’s latest triumph came just two days after he caused one of the biggest upsets in the tournament’s history, when he ousted six-time champion Novak Djokovic in the second round.

No.13 seed Roberto Bautista Agut also earned passage to the fourth round after needing more than four hours to finally shake fellow Spaniard David Ferrer 7-5, 6-7 (6-8), 7-6 (7-3), 6-4 in a hard-fought match on Show Court 3.

Frenchman Simon provided Raonic with his sternest test of the tournament to date by not only becoming the first player to take a set off the Canadian but also breaking his serve for the first time after Raonic began his campaign with 42 consecutive holds.

In fact, Simon broke Raonic three times, including a double-break which helped the 25th seed win the third set.

However, despite committing more unforced errors (34-22), Raonic almost doubled Simon for winners (55-31) and sent down 21 aces on his way to a 6-2, 7-6 (7-5), 3-6, 6-3 victory in just over two-and-a-half hours.

Raonic will now face Bautista Agut who claimed his first win over Ferrer and is aiming to qualify for his first grand slam quarter-final.

Simon’s compatriot Monfils had few troubles in disposing of Kohlschreiber in straight sets 6-3, 7-6 (7-1), 6-4 in just under two hours.

The No.6 seed hit more winners (32-22), broke the German five times and had a superior percentage of first-serve points won (76-69).

Monfils will now face Rafael Nadal in a mouth-watering round-of-16 clash after the 14-time major winner downed German young gun Alexander Zverev in a five-set epic on Rod Laver Arena.

Istomin has never made it to a grand slam quarter-final, either, and this is the furthest he has gone in a major since reaching the fourth round of the 2013 US Open.

In order to qualify for a maiden final-eight appearance, he will have to get past 15th seed Grigor Dimitrov, who beat 18th seed Rchard Gasquet at Rod Laver Arena on Saturday night.

But given his incredible performance against Djokovic two days ago, few adversaries in the men’s draw would hold fears for the veteran Uzbek.

Canberra United warned to avoid avalanche of goals trap against Wanderers

Stand-in Canberra United captain Ash Sykes has warned her teammates against expecting an avalanche of goals when they play the W-League’s worst defensive side on Sunday.
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The rampaging Canberra side has hammered home nine goals in the past two weeks to cement their place as the competition’s most dangerous attacking team.

However, they need to beat the Western Sydney Wanderers at Campbelltown on Sunday to stay in contention for minor premier honours with just two games left in the regular season.

Sykes is the competition’s leading scorer this season with 10 of her own while Canberra’s ruthless attacking unit has dismantled opponents and scored 28 goals in 10 games so far.

Sykes says the best part is they’ve slotted their 28 goals without relying on the most prolific scorer in W-League history, Michelle Heyman, who is racing the clock to recover from injury in time for the finals.

“But we’ve got to bring ourselves back down to earth a bit, and that’s what we’ve done this week at training and at meetings,” Sykes said.

“We have to find some consistency now in good performances heading into the finals. You can’t drop your game in the league this year.

“We have to be concentrating to make sure we get to where we want to be.”

Canberra United will wait until Sunday before deciding whether regular skipper Ellie Brush will make her comeback from a knee injury against the Wanderers.

Brush flew to Sydney on Saturday night after playing her first n football game in an AFL Women’s pre-season clash between the GWS Giants and Brisbane Lions.

Brush damaged her medial ligament more than a month ago and is keen to earn her spot for a W-League recall while also juggling her AFL Women’s commitments.

But Canberra has been firing in her absence and cruised to a 7-2 rout against Perth last weekend.

The Wanderers present an unpredictable challenge for title-contenders Canberra after losing 10-2 against the previously win-less Adelaide last weekend.

But Sykes says Canberra’s up-and-down experience in recent weeks will help safeguard them against expecting a win against the Wanderers.

Despite riding high this season, Canberra has won just one of its past three matches and the players are still stinging from a 6-1 defeat against Sydney FC at the start of January.

“We know what the feeling is like after you have a big loss, you have a mentality that you’re not going to let it happen again,” Sykes said.

“We also know that what happened to Western Sydney last week doesn’t count for anything. They’re going to be dangerous, especially at home.

“We’ve seen the best and worst of us this year so we’ll be aiming to keep things on track.”

W-LEAGUE ROUND 13

Sunday: Canberra United v Western Sydney Wanderers at Campbelltown Stadium, 2.30pm. TV time: Live on Fox Sports and ABC.

Weir dominates the Valley with four timer as Big Duke seals Hobart Cup trip

Trainer Darren Weir has plenty to smile about. Photo: Vince CaligiuriLast season Darren Weir smashed John Hawkes’ record for training the most winners in an n season when he saddled up  348 of them. Can  he go even better  and  nudge the 400 barrier?
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Its a question worth asking after he boosted his tally by another four  at Moonee Valley on Saturday, taking his total for the season so far to 214. The 2016-17 campaign still has more than six months to run, so he is ahead of schedule.

The scary thing for his opponents is that he continues to upgrade his stock.  Only recently he was given Winx’s little brother, El Divino, to train, along with some promising imports owned by n Bloodstock.

One galloper who has already contributed to the Weir record several times in the past couple of years is the  game and consistent  Burning Front, who led all the way to win the feature at the Valley on Saturday – the 13th victory of his career.  The  win took his career earnings to well over $700,000.

Burning Front was ridden by Brad Rawiller, one of four  jockeys to ride winners for Weir –  the others being Damian Lane, Ben Allen and Craig Williams.

But it is another of his scorers, English import Big Duke, who has the most potential.

The five year old arrived in without much fanfare given that his sole victory in his first four starts had been in a low-rating race at Wetherby, better known as a jumps track in the UK.

But since joining Weir he has taken great strides and his victory in a 2040-metre handicap  was his second in three weeks following his win at Caulfield on Boxing Day.

On both occasions he has been partnered by leading apprentice Allen, although it’s fair to say that the horse’s class  got his youthful rider out of trouble on Saturday after he appeared to have been outpointed early in the straight by Cool Chap, the Lee Freedman galloper ridden by three-kilo claiming Boris Thornton.

Big Duke had enough in the tank to get clear in the closing stages to win by a length, giving Weir and his team hope that he could add to their honour roll in the Hobart Cup next month, a valuable staying race they have won with the likes of True Courser, Offenbach and Hurdy Gurdy Man.

“I thought Boris outrode Ben to be honest, he got around him, Ben missed the boat a bit. Lucky the horse was good enough to get Ben out of trouble,” was Weir’s relieved verdict as  his $1.90 favourite returned to scale.

“Today was to see whether we go to the Hobart Cup or not and I reckon he deserves his trip over there. Luke Murrell, who buys all these horses, kept saying to me all prep ‘wait until you see him when he gets over a mile-and-a-half and he will be better again’.”

The way he won today would suggest he’s right on the mark to run a strong 2400 metres.

“He was a bit of hard work in his first two starts, but now he has started to work with us and he’s been a bit more tractable. Jarrod [Warrnambool-based assistant trainer Jarrod McLean] and the crew do a great job to get these horses right.”

Another Weir horse with improvement in her is progressive Zabeel mare Zasorceress, who scored in the 1600-metre handicap for fillies and mares.

The $5 chance had only recently moved to the Weir yard having been tried against the best stayers  of her age in Sydney and Brisbane last autumn and winter, and she obliged here under Damian Lane.

Weir’s other winner was the three-year-old Gratwick in the opener, the first leg of a  Williams double the rider completed on Domino Vitale for Colin Little.

Englishman Archie Alexander had a welcome city winner with improving three-year-old filly Wheal Leisure (Michael Dee), while apprentice Ben Thompson got on the scoresheet when he got up in the final stride on Cindy Alderson’s consistent Smart Dart. Mark Zahra added to his premiership total with a win on Lady Esprit for Ciaron Maher before Team Hawkes took the honours in the last event with  Ameristralia.

New Holden Racing Team Commodore divides fans

Titleholder Shane van Gisbergen and his six-time champion teammate Jamie Whincup are expected to renew their Supercars battle this season in new-look Red Bull Holden Racing Team Commodores. Photo: Mark Fogarty The new Commodore. Photo: Mark Fogarty
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The new Holden Racing Team Commodore. Photo: Mark Fogarty

Fan reaction to the transfer of the iconic Holden Racing Team brand to dominant Supercars squad Triple Eight has at best been mixed.

Moving the moniker away from long-time custodian Walkinshaw Racing was never going to be popular with diehard followers, but it is the new look of the old name that is proving most divisive.

It is a discordant merger of Triple Eight’s existing Red Bull backing with its additional status as the Holden Racing Team, taking over as the sole factory backed Holden team in Supercars.

Thursday’s unveiling of the Red Bull Holden Racing Team prompted plenty of comment on social media, with a sizeable proportion critical of the new livery that adorns the Commodores of defending V8 champion Shane van Gisbergen and record six-time title-winner Jamie Whincup.

The main complaint is that the new look is dominated by the energy drink giant and lacks the traditional graphic cues that were HRT signatures for more than two decades.

Gone is the emblematic lion and helmet logo that featured on the sides of HRT Commodores since the team’s inception in 1990.

The change also marks the end of Team Red, which became HRT’s alter ego after it adopted Holden’s corporate colour as its predominant hue in 1998.

The RBHRT livery is mainly matte blue with large generic Holden signage that appears more Red Bull cerise than Lion scarlet.

Nowhere on the cars does it say Holden Racing Team, which to entrenched followers confirms that the once mighty brand is now but an adjunct.

The traditional lion emblem was never going to sit comfortably with Red Bull’s rampant bull symbol and, despite the best efforts of Holden designers, became an inevitable casualty of the alliance.

While Holden’s backing is worth at least $2 million a year, Red Bull is the team’s primary sponsor – contributing at least $4 million – and commands the main signage rights.

As Holden’s flagship Supercars squad, HRT gathered a legion of fans based on its factory alignment as much as its dominance in the late 1990s and early 2000s.

It was the most popular team by far in Supercars and retained a large dedicated following during its decline over the past decade.

Holden ended its backing of the Walkinshaw operation and switched the factory team imprimatur to Triple Eight in a money saving consolidation of its diminishing motor sport involvement.

Concentrating its support on Triple Eight makes sense as since the team switched from Ford in 2010, it has dominated Supercars and overshadowed HRT, which hasn’t been a championship contender since 2009 and hasn’t won the Bathurst 1000 since 2011.

It was a far cry from HRT’s golden era from 1996-2002, when Craig Lowndes and then Mark Skaife dominated, winning a combined six V8 championships and three Bathurst 1000s.

But to many of the HRT faithful, Triple Eight is still the enemy, regarded as an interloper that hopped on the Holden bandwagon when it lost Ford’s backing in a dispute, perhaps ironically, over colour schemes.

Triple Eight dominated the Supercars championship with factory backed Falcons in 2008/09, but fell out with Ford because it raced them in red in deference to primary sponsor Vodafone rather than being predominantly blue.

There is no doubt that Triple Eight will restore the Holden Racing Team name as a front-runner, which should appease most of HRT’s long-suffering fans.

But there will remain resistance at an emotional level because in its new guise, Holden Racing Team is more of a label than an entity.

Holden fans need to get used to the idea, however, as the Lion’s future in Supercars is inexorably linked with Brisbane-based Triple Eight Race Engineering, which under Anglo-Irish owner Roland Dane – who became an n citizen last August – has become the benchmark Supercars team over the past decade.

As well as adopting the HRT appellation, Triple Eight is developing the next-generation Holden Commodore racer to take over next year, powered by a twin-turbocharged V6 allowed under the new Gen2 rules.

Triple Eight will also supply all Holden teams with the main components of the new Commodore racer – the look of which is based on the imported road car replacing the locally made model in 2018 – in a centralisation of supply that will include a single source for the American-made 3.6-litre V6 that will replace the traditional five-litre V8.

The adverse reaction of a large body of fans notwithstanding, Holden – which is committed to Supercars through 2019 – and Triple Eight are convinced the Red Bull HRT amalgamation will eventually win over disaffected fans.

“This is a big moment for us,” Dane said at the launch of RBHRT. “I’m very proud of the two big brands we have brought together.

“We want to make sure that we’re winning as much as we ever did. So if that has the roll-on effect of underlining the Holden Racing Team as part of Red Bull Holden Racing Team, then we’re doing our job.”

Van Gisbergen is looking forward to defending his Supercars crown under the HRT banner, noting that the team was an early inspiration in its glory years.

“It’s pretty cool,” he said. “I grew up in the Skaifey era, when it was the main team. To be part of that history now is pretty awesome. I’m pretty stoked to be a part of all that.”

Holden owns the HRT brand and has also kept the rights to the historic lion and helmet logo, which while it may never be seen again on a race car, could return as an off-track symbol.

“It’s been put on the shelf,” Holden’s motor sport and sponsorship manager Simon McNamara said. “We looked at how we could make it work with the race team, but it couldn’t come together to please everybody. We’re very happy with how it’s come up.

“But the [lion/helmet] logo could come back in some way. It represents us and we may not may not use it in some way in the future.”

McNamara engineered Holden’s three-year exclusive deal with Triple Eight, but his future with the company is the subject of speculation.

Despite his presence at the RBHRT launch on Thursday and Holden’s confirmation that, as of Friday, he was still its motor sport representative, there have been reports that he is about to leave the company.

Sources at Holden indicated that the management of its involvement in Supercars would be “clarified” early this week.

Transfer of Holden brand has diehard fans all revved up

The Red Bull Holden Racing Team Commodore. Photo: Mark FogartyFan reaction to the transfer of the iconic Holden Racing Team brand to dominant Supercars squad Triple Eight has at best been mixed.
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Moving the moniker away from long-time custodian Walkinshaw Racing was never going to be popular with diehard followers, but it is the new look of the old name that is proving most divisive.

It is a discordant merger of Triple Eight’s existing Red Bull backing with its additional status as the Holden Racing Team, taking over as the sole factory-backed Holden team in Supercars.

Thursday’s unveiling of the Red Bull Holden Racing Team prompted plenty of comment on social media, with a sizeable proportion critical of the new livery that adorns the Commodores of defending V8 champion Shane van Gisbergen and record six-time title-winner Jamie Whincup.

The main complaint is that the new look is dominated by the energy drink giant and lacks the traditional graphic cues that were HRT signatures for more than two decades.

Gone is the emblematic lion and helmet logo that featured on the sides of HRT Commodores since the team’s inception in 1990.

The change also marks the end of Team Red, which became HRT’s alter ego after it adopted Holden’s corporate colour as its predominant hue in 1998.

The RBHRT livery is mainly matte blue with large generic Holden signage that appears more Red Bull cerise than Lion scarlet.

Nowhere on the cars does it say Holden Racing Team, which to entrenched followers confirms that the once mighty brand is now but an adjunct.

The traditional lion emblem was never going to sit comfortably with Red Bull’s rampant bull symbol and, despite the best efforts of Holden designers, became an inevitable casualty of the alliance.

While Holden’s backing is worth at least $2 million a year, Red Bull is the team’s primary sponsor – contributing at least $4 million – and commands the main signage rights.

As Holden’s flagship Supercars squad, HRT gathered a legion of fans based on its factory alignment as much as its dominance in the late 1990s and early 2000s.

It was the most popular team by far in Supercars and retained a large dedicated following during its decline over the past decade.

Holden ended its backing of the Walkinshaw operation and switched the factory team imprimatur to Triple Eight in a money-saving consolidation of its diminishing motor sport involvement.

Concentrating its support on Triple Eight makes sense as since the team switched from Ford in 2010, it has dominated Supercars and overshadowed HRT, which hasn’t been a championship contender since 2009 and hasn’t won the Bathurst 1000 since 2011.

It was a far cry from HRT’s golden era from 1996-2002, when Craig Lowndes and then Mark Skaife dominated, winning a combined six V8 championships and three Bathurst 1000s.

But to many of the HRT faithful, Triple Eight is still the enemy, regarded as an interloper that hopped on the Holden bandwagon when it lost Ford’s backing in a dispute, perhaps ironically, over colour schemes.

Triple Eight dominated the Supercars championship with factory-backed Falcons in 2008-09, but fell out with Ford because it raced them in red in deference to primary sponsor Vodafone rather than being predominantly blue.

There is no doubt that Triple Eight will restore the Holden Racing Team name as a front-runner, which should appease most of HRT’s long-suffering fans. But there will remain resistance at an emotional level because in its new guise, Holden Racing Team is more of a label than an entity.

Holden fans need to get used to the idea, however, as the Lion’s future in Supercars is inexorably linked with Brisbane-based Triple Eight Race Engineering, which under Anglo-Irish owner Roland Dane – who became an n citizen last August – has become the benchmark Supercars team over the past decade.

As well as adopting the HRT appellation, Triple Eight is developing the next-generation Holden Commodore racer to take over next year, powered by a twin-turbocharged V6 allowed under the new Gen2 rules.

Triple Eight will also supply all Holden teams with the main components of the new Commodore racer – the look of which is based on the imported road car replacing the locally made model in 2018 – in a centralisation of supply that will include a single source for the American-made 3.6-litre V6 that will replace the traditional five-litre V8.

The adverse reaction of a large body of fans notwithstanding, Holden – which is committed to Supercars through 2019 – and Triple Eight are convinced the Red Bull HRT amalgamation will eventually win over disaffected fans.

“This is a big moment for us,” Dane said at the launch of RBHRT. “I’m very proud of the two big brands we have brought together.

“We want to make sure that we’re winning as much as we ever did. So if that has the roll-on effect of underlining the Holden Racing Team as part of Red Bull Holden Racing Team, then we’re doing our job.”

Van Gisbergen is looking forward to defending his Supercars crown under the HRT banner.

“It’s pretty cool,” he said. “I grew up in the Skaifey era, when it was the main team. To be part of that history now is pretty awesome. I’m pretty stoked to be a part of all that.”

Holden owns the HRT brand and has also kept the rights to the historic lion and helmet logo, which while it may never be seen again on a race car, could return as an off-track symbol. “It’s been put on the shelf,” Holden’s motor sport and sponsorship manager Simon McNamara said. “We looked at how we could make it work with the race team, but it couldn’t come together to please everybody. We’re very happy with how it’s come up. But the (lion/helmet) logo could come back in some way.”

McNamara engineered Holden’s three-year exclusive deal with Triple Eight, but his future with the company is the subject of speculation. Despite his presence at the RBHRT launch on Thursday and Holden’s confirmation that, as of Friday, he was still its motor sport representative, there have been reports that he is about to leave the company.

Sources at Holden indicated that the management of its involvement in Supercars would be “clarified” early this week.