A Brief History of the Shoey
If you saw the podium for last Sunday's Belgian Grand Prix, you would have seen Mark Webber reluctantly drinking from fellow Aussie Daniel Ricciardo's shoe. The origins of the shoey lie in 1800s Germany, and more recently it has been a tradition for a handful of Australians. However it was only in 2015 that it entered mainstream culture thanks to a series of Australian car and motorcycle racers. The Americans gave spraying champagne and international racing colours. Our cultural contribution to international motorsport is drinking from a sweaty boot.
The first example of a racing driver doing a shoey was three time V8 Utes champion Ryal Harris, after winning at Barbagallo last year. This largely went unnoticed. When V8 Supercar driver David Reynolds did a shoey after winning the second Saturday race at Darwin's Hidden Valley later that year, it was the first time that most Australians had seen one. Reynolds had just completed a 70 lap race in 35 degree heat outside the car, and he'd been racing in that shoe for the last 12 months. When commentator Mark Skaife ask Reynolds why, he said “I can’t, I just can’t.”. This sort of behaviour is typical of Reynolds. He celebrated his first ever race win at the Gold Coast in 2014 by throwing pot plants off the podium down to his team.
Then MotoGP rider Jack Miller took the shoey to an international audience after winning his first MotoGP race at Assen, Netherlands earlier this year. This inspired Daniel Ricciardo to do a shoey. He had promised himself he would do one if he one a race this year, but concerned he might not win a race, he decided to do on after finishing on the podium in his 100th race at the German Grand Prix. “Today, (my) 100th race, I got a podium, summer break (is about to start), I was like ‘just in case I don’t win this year I’m going to do a shoey, and do my fellow Australians proud’,” Ricciardo said.
Mark Webber then took things further by doing a shoey out of someone else's shoe following a race he wasn't even in. While Webber was interviewing Nico Rosberg, Ricciardo started pouring champagne into his boot and when Webber approached Ricciardo for an interview he was encouraged to drink a mixture of champagne and someone else's sweat from a show. Webber said “I’m not drinking out of that mate,” before drinking out of it anyway. In normal circumstances he probably wouldn't have.
That then is the history of the shoey in motorsport. If you're looking for someone to thank (or blame), it's David Reynolds. Ryal Harris may have done it first, but it was Reynolds who made it go mainstream. It's you're turn, Will Power.