Since joining the Repco Supercars Championship schedule in 1998, Hidden Valley Raceway has been a fixture of calendar and has been the scene of some memorable moments.
The Repco Garage has counted down five of the most memorable moments to occur in the top end.
Holden VT Commodore takes first round win in Darwin, 1998
Debuting at the previous round at Calder Park in the hands of Greg Murphy and Larry Perkins, the VT Commodore wasn’t able to display its promise due to inclement weather conditions bringing an early end. There was no danger of this occurring in Darwin.
Hidden Valley was making its debut as a Supercars venue as the title fight was close between the Holden Racing Team’s Craig Lowndes and Russell Ingall for Perkins Engineering, with both moving to the VT Commodore in Darwin.
Race 1 was won by Lowndes in the new VT Commodore, but a disaster followed for the factory squad when both he and Skaife encountered troubles to miss the second encounter.
This opened the door for Ingall to take advantage and won the round leading to a thrilling championship decider at Oran Park.
Marcos Ambrose and Mark Skaife tangle, 2004
The rivalry between then-reigning V8 Supercars champion Marcos Ambrose and Mark Skaife continued to heat up throughout the mid-2000s.
A number of incidents involving the duo including at Perth and Eastern Creek in 2005, but Hidden Valley provided another in 2004 when the HRT was off form.
Battling for the win in the opening race, Ambrose made a lunge down the inside of Skaife at the final turn on the last lap ending in contact and damage for the pair.
A frustrated Skaife, who had endured a tough start to the season up to that point dropped to 14th at the flag.
Ambrose was targeting back-to-back titles and dropped to third as teammate Russell Ingall took the win from Todd Kelly.
Rick Kelly wins after restart drama, 2011
The race appeared to be Mark Winterbottom’s, but a controversial safety car restart occurred leading to a surprise victory for Jack Daniel’s Racing’s Rick Kelly.
A tap from Jamie Whincup prompted Winterbottom to slow down and allowed Shane van Gisbergen to run three-wide down the main straight. An amazing slipstream led Lee Holdsworth to make it four-wide, so let drama ensue.
Winterbottom and Whincup made contact sending the latter as well as van Gisbergen onto the grass, with the FPR driver spinning in the middle of Turn 1 only to be hit by Karl Reindler.
Kelly emerged in the lead as he held off Steven Johnson and Craig Lowndes for victory as Winterbottom placed 15th, Whincup ninth, with van Gisbergen in seventh. Each were penalised 25 championship points.
Caruso wins again, this time in a Nissan
Michael Caruso was at it again seven years later when he broke a three-season winless streak for Nissan by taking the flag at Hidden Valley.
Leading home Jamie Whincup and Chaz Mostert, Caruso gave the Nissan Altima its second Supercars victory 24 hours after Nissan extended its deal into 2017 with Kelly Racing. Talk about timing.
It’s a great result – not just for me personally but it’s obviously important to get this win with what’s going on in the background with the team,” he said.
“It’s something that I promised the team. I knew we were very close to making this result and it’s great that we made it all work today.”
Scott McLaughlin takes the Triple Crown
When he joined DJR Team Penske in 2017, Scott McLaughlin launched into a star of Supercars racing and went on to secure his first championship in 2018, but the following season was pure domination.
Driving the new Ford Mustang, McLaughlin held the ascendency by quite some margin as the model came under scrutiny for parity adjustments.
However, McLaughlin in 2019 became the first driver to secure the Darwin Triple Crown by securing both setting the fastest time in the Top 10 Shootout and winning both races across the weekend.