RICHARDS SCORES FIRST WIN IN THE SHANNONS JAVELIN
7 OCTOBER 2012
Round six of the Touring Car Masters series at Sandown proved to be the most successful weekend of the season for Jim Richards and the Shannons AMC Javelin with the combination scoring their first pole position ,first race win and first round win for the season.
The two practice sessions were extremely close between series leader and defending champion John Bowe in his Mustang and the Richards AMC Javelin with Bowe holding the upper hand in the opening session and Richards quickest in the second.
The gap was measured in hundredths of a second so it was obvious that it was going to be a tight battle.
The times dropped considerably in qualifying with Richards coming out on top by four tenths of a second from Bowe with Andrew Miedecke and former champion Gavin Bullas close behind.
Race one saw Bowe score his tenth consecutive win but the Richards Javelin proved to be very much on the pace for a close fought second and the scene was set for an interesting race two which featured a reverse top ten grid from race one.
Greg Crick in the Charger started from pole and led while the others worked their way through the field but then there were two safety car intervention periods which closed the field up and eventually Crick was relegated to second behind Bullas who went onto win from Crick, Richards and Bowe.
Crick had been late going out onto the circuit from the dummy grid and should ,under the regulations, have started from the rear of the grid so he was subsequently given a thirty second penalty and that moved a number of drivers up the order including Richards and Bowe.
In the final twelve lap race Richards was able to capitalise on an incident between Bowe and Bullas on the first lap when Bowe tried a desperate inside move which took both cars off the circuit.
Despite pressure from Miedecke ,Richards went onto score the first race win and round win for the popular Shannons Javelin much to the delight of his hard working crew.
Miedecke came home second with an unhappy Bullas third despite bent steering from the incident with Bowe.
Richards was delighted with car which he felt was suited to the fast Melbourne circuit and he was also happy with handling after some issues at the previous round in Sydney.
“We had some understeer problems at Sydney Motorsport Park and when we got back to the workshop we found a damaged wishbone on the front. We fixed that and changed to a stiffer rear roll bar and the car was much improved.” said the eight time Targa Tasmania winner.
“We felt that we had it in us to win a race eventually as the car has been gradually improving from it’s first outing in Adelaide at the beginning of the year.” said Richards.
Bowe continues to lead the series on 923 points with Richards 77 behind on 846 and Miedecke a further 119 points behind.
The next and penultimate round of the series will be at Bathurst as part of the Bathurst 1000 weekend where Richards will be hoping to close the gap to Bowe.
As this will the 50th anniversary of the great race there are going to be plenty of celebrations including laps of the circuit by some of the cars that raced in years gone by.
On the last lap Bowe ,who was way in front ,lost a rear wheel which damaged the axle housing and he was forced out leaving Wigston to take a narrow win from Richards and Miedecke.
Richards will be involved in this as he will be driving the BMW 635 that he raced at the beginning of the 1985 season before it was sold to Neville Crichton who raced the car at Bathurst later in the year.
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