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Motorsport fans have taken to social media in droves to slam Prime Minister Scott Morrison over what many are calling a "shameless" public relations stunt at Sunday's Bathurst 1000.
The PM was present at the famed Mount Panorama as Chaz Mostert won The Great Race for the second time, fighting back from early dramas to deny Shane van Gisbergen back-to-back victories in Australia's most famous motor race.
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Mr Morrison appeared to be in full campaign mode on Sunday, first presenting retiring Supercars legend Jamie Whincup with his Hall of Fame trophy, on an emotional day for the seven-time champion.
The Prime Minister didn't miss a chance to spruik the federal government's Covid-19 response as he welcomed back a capacity crowd to the track after only 4000 were able to attend last year's event due to the pandemic.
Many in the crowd also didn't miss an opportunity to boo the Prime Minister as jeers frequently accompanied his presence at the track.
“I want to thank all Australians,” Mr Morrison said.
“We’re well over 80 per cent, we’ll be above 90 per cent double-vaxxed around the country very shortly and the fact that Australians did that means everybody can be at Bathurst for the best race in Australia.”
The PM also hopped in a Ford Mustang with five-time Bathurst 1000 champion Mark Skaife for a hot lap around Mount Panorama, looking decidedly nervous as the Supercars great described the intricacies of the track and the extraordinary speeds drivers get up to in various sections.
“And what about this ride down here PM. This is skyline. You can’t see a thing and you arrive at 220km/h, down the hill," Skaife said.
“What a cool piece of road. We love this place. People talk about it around the world.
“We’re doing 230km/h with the Prime Minister!”
— 7Sport (@7Sport) December 5, 2021
Mr Morrison did his best to remain composed as Skaife hurtled around the track, with the PM even dropping a few iconic lines for viewers watching on TV.
“It’s one of Australia’s great institutions and great historical races and one of if not the best course in the world,” he said.
“It’s absolutely magnificent. The fact that there’ll be people beaming in from all over the world and what they’re going to see is Australia open — we’re double-vaxxed, people are back, they’re in their trailers, they’re together again.
“It’s just showing where we’re heading — looking out the front windscreen not in the rear view mirror.”
The PM even commented: "How good is Bathurst", but the stunt went down like a lead balloon for plenty of viewers who took to social media to savage Australia's leader.
You know you're buggered when you're booed at Bathurst. Time to pack up the faux-Bogan, hokey, blokey populist shtick. Go home, ScoMo. The punters can see right through you.
— 💧Urban Wronski (@UrbanWronski) December 5, 2021
Albo is announcing policies and attempting to fix Liberal mistakes. Scomo is in photo opportunity mode at Bathurst. One is being useless and one is doing the right thing #Albo #auspol #ScottyFromPhotoOps
— TheGreatOne (@emblenlivepart2) December 5, 2021
Scomo at Bathurst for selfies
Labor presenting a better future for the young with more free TAFE positions and Uni spots
Guess who I'm voting for
— geoff thomas (@geofft53) December 5, 2021
And the crowd is booing him at Bathurst…goodbye Scomo 🤗
— Steve (@stevie_bro) December 5, 2021
Scomo at Bathurst pretending to be an average joe 🤮🤮🤮🤮 #Bathurst1000
— Michael* (@squeakee21) December 5, 2021
Can't believe it. Morrison sitting beside Mark Skaife doing an interview whilst being driven around Mount Panorama. The bloke is shameless!
— Don O'Brien (@bigdon61) December 5, 2021
Chaz Mostert claims second Bathurst 1000 win
Mostert and his Walkinshaw Andretti United co-driver Lee Holdsworth - who is finally a Bathurst 1000 champion at his 18th attempt - were the quickest and most consistent drivers at Mount Panorama all weekend.
But their golden run from pole appeared to be in tatters after Mostert was forced to bring his Commodore into the garage on lap 49 of the 161-lap epic due to a left-wheel puncture.
However, there was no panic in the WAU ranks as Mostert recovered and was able to cross the line almost four seconds ahead of Ford ace Cameron Waters, who finished runner-up for the second year in a row.
Erebus' Brodie Kostecki achieved his best result on the mountain by coming in third.
Seven-time Supercars champion Jamie Whincup was fourth, narrowly missing out on the podium, in his final race before transitioning into off-track management as Red Bull Ampol's new boss.
It was Mostert's 16th win of his Supercars career and his first Bathurst 1000 victory in a Commodore after an extraordinary 2014 triumph while driving a Ford Falcon.
This year was the first Supercars season after General Motors decided to retire the iconic Holden Brand.
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