RED Bull Racing Australia team owner Roland Dane was left stunned on Wednesday when Adrian Burgess, who effectively ran the team, announced that he was leaving to take up a position as Walkinshaw Racing managing director.
Walkinshaw Racing runs the Toll Holden race team cars of Garth Tander and James Courtney as well as the Supercheap Auto car of Russell Ingall. It also provides components and back-up to other teams as well.
Burgess joined RBRA at the end of 2010 after a stint with Dick Johnson Racing during which the team won the 2010 V8 Supercar championship with driver James Courtney.
During his time at RBRA Burgess guided the team to a Bathurst 1000 win and two drivers' championships as well as two team championships. There is no doubt his departure will be a blow to the team's plans.
Burgess is set to replace Steve Hallam at HRT as part of a restructuring of its operations and he will take with him a great deal of useful information from his 2 1/2 years at RBRA.
A clearly incensed Dane was quick to respond to the news announcing that he would take up the position he held before Burgess joined the team.
Burgess's departure was made effective immediately although Dane expected Burgess would honour a contract commitment to serve a six- month notice period.
"He is effectively on gardening leave for six months and I will go back to doing what I was doing before.
"We won an awful lot of races before he came along and we will carry on in that light now," a bitterly disappointed Dane said.
"If the HRT think that the only way they can win races is to take people away from us then fine. They are clearly richer than us," said Dane.
Dane is convinced the head hunting was driven by James Courtney who recently signed a new three-year deal with HRT after negotiations were conducted by expat Australian Alan Gow, who is his manager.
Dane said he should have anticipated the possibility of the move because of the previous links between Courtney and Burgess but he admits he didn't see it coming.
Burgess and Courtney have been long-time friends, apart from their time together at DJR, with Burgess engineering for Courtney when he raced in Formula 3 for Carlin Motorsport.
AS THEY often say in motor sport, nothing is forever.
Tony Gaze, the first Australian to race in a Formula One Grand Prix, died recently aged 93.
Gaze competed in the Belgian GP on June 22, 1952, in his privately entered HWM Alta. He started from 16th position in the 22-car field and came home in 15th place.
He then lined up for the British GP at Silverstone the following month, qualifying 26th in a 31-car field, but didn't finish due to a blown head gasket.
The German GP at the iconic Nurburgring circuit was his next race in August where he qualified 14th but was forced out after six laps of the 23-kilometre circuit.
The final GP he entered was the Italian race at Monza but he failed to qualify in the 34-car field.
He later raced an Aston Martin DB3S in sports car races in Europe in the Kangaroo team.
Gaze was a decorated World War II fighter pilot and the step-grandfather of V8 Supercar drivers Will and Alex Davison.