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The origin of the 'shoey'

NEWS STORY
11/10/2016

Daniel Ricciardo drinking sparkling white wine out of his race boot perfectly epitomises the Red Bull driver, and perhaps Australia as a nation; relaxed, ever so slightly goofy and the sort that would be a lot of fun on a night out.

The 'shoey', as it's known, may have been thrust onto the world stage in recent times but it has humble and very Aussie origins. Predictably, it started by having a drink. Then, another.

"I was just drinking with my mates," Ryal Harris explains. "We used to get on the beers a bit and somehow we starting drinking out of our shoes. I said to them that if I won in Perth that I'd drink Champagne out of my boot!"

Harris races a V8 Ute, perhaps the most Australian of all racing formulas. The V8 powered, rear-wheel drive cars have a two seat cabin and a tray at the back. The story goes they were an Australian invention designed to take the sheep to market in the week, and go to church on weekends. On the roads of Australia they're a common sight, typically driven by a tradie in stubbies. So popular are Utes that there are high performance variants, meaning it's not uncommon for the chippie to rock up in a car that, performance wise, will have the measure of many of Europe's best.

And it goes without saying that there is a racing series for them. It's an aggressive competition that sees the cars severely under-tyred and makes for the sort of door-to-door racing that litters race tracks with wing mirrors. The best in the business is Ryal Harris, who is a champion three times over.

Following victory at Barbagallo Raceway in Perth last year Harris delivered on the promise he'd made to his mates. He carefully untied his race boot, poured the sparking white wine into it before taking an almost-certain-not healthy swig.

A video of his exploits appeared on social media at the time and caught the attention of David Reynolds, an Australian touring car driver known for his own outlandish behaviour. He's thrown pot plants from podiums in the past, and suggested the all-female entry in last year's Bathurst 1000 be renamed the P***y Wagon - for which he was fined $25,000. When Reynolds claimed victory in the V8 Supercars event at Darwin he promptly recreated Harris' victory salute. Suddenly the shoey had gone mainstream.

At the Dutch TT this year Jack Miller claimed an incredibly unlikely victory. The Australian raced to the front on the satellite Honda, riding clear of Marc Marquez to win around the Assen circuit. He celebrated by guzzling from his MotoGP moonboot, no doubt having seen the example set by Reynolds a year earlier.

Now, thanks to Ricciardo, Harris' tongue in cheek celebration, done almost on a dare after a few drinks with his mates, has gone viral.

Harris says he's got one or two tricks up his sleeve should he win again. For a man who's already done 'The Worm' in the tray of his Ute after winning the championship last year, who knows where it might end.

Mat Coch

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