'Battling to hold back tears': Holden legend rocked by retirement

Chris Young
Sports Reporter

V8 Supercars legend Mark Skaife has revealed he was ‘battling to hold back tears’ upon learning of the Holden brand’s demise on Monday.

Parent company General Motors announced they would be ‘retiring’ the iconic brand, shedding 600 manufacturing jobs in the process.

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Monday’s announcement threw the future of the Supercars category into chaos, with Holden not committed to the category beyond the 2020 season.

Skaife, in an interview with Sky News, said that while there had been ‘worrying signs’ in recent years, he couldn’t believe the iconic brand had come to an end.

“I just never in my lifetime thought that there’d be a day where we would see Holden move out of this country,” Skaife said.

V8 Supercars champion and longtime Holden Racing Team driver Mark Skaife says he was moved to tears by the brand's demise. (Photo by Robert Cianflone/Getty Images)

“The reality around football, meat pies, kangaroos and Holden cars, it’s been part of our psyche … it’s been part of the social fabric of Australia.

“(it will impact on) Australian culture and the Australian landscape and the DNA of what we are as a nation and what we’ve manufactured and what we’ve loved.”

Holden demise prompts outpouring of support

GM's decision to scrap the brand in Australia and New Zealand by next year dropped a bomb on Supercars officials and teams just days out from the season opening Adelaide 500.

Holden has been a part of Australian touring car racing since the 1960s, with iconic names such as Peter Brock, Craig Lowndes, Mark Skaife and Jamie Whincup becoming synonymous with the Red Lion.

"Today's news is understandably disappointing for fans who have followed Holden's success in Australian Touring Cars and Supercars since its debut in the 1960s," Supercars said in a statement.

Ex-factory team Walkinshaw Andretti United, who were Holden's factory team for 27 years from 1990, expressed their sadness at Monday's news.

"Our team has shared a long and successful relationship with Holden in Australia for three decades," the statement read.

"It's very sad to see them leave. We are thankful for their support, and proud of what we have achieved together, including seven Bathurst 1000 victories, and six driver championships."