MIXED RESULTS FOR RICHARDS AT BATHURST
10 OCTOBER 2012
The penultimate round of the Touring Car Masters at Bathurst produced bitter sweet results for Jim Richards and the Shannon’s AMC Javelin with the car punted off the circuit into the sand trap by another competitor on the final corner of the final lap of race two.
Richards had qualified second to series leader John Bowe by the narrowest of margins and the scene was set for a great battle between the two former Touring Car champions.
In race one they were never separated by more than a few metres with Richards getting into the lead a couple of times before Bowe got through to take a narrow win.
That meant they would start from row five in the second race which was a reverse grid for the top ten cars from race one.
From the start Richards had a battle to get past Greg Crick in the Charger with the two making contact when Crick was defending but Richards finally got through and then made up another place when he passed Cameron Tilley in the Mustang..
Going into Murray’s corner for the last time as Richards turned into the corner he was hit very hard in the rear by Tilley which sent the Javelin into the sand trap.
Tilley later claimed that he had brake failure and while that may be true it really deminished any realistic chance of Richards winning the series with one round to go.
The grid positions for race three were determined by the accumulated points from the first two races and with no points scored in race two Richards was forced to start from grid position ten.
In an incident packed race Richards worked his way through the pack and got up to third place at the finish behind winner Brad Tilley in the Falcon GT and John Bowe.
Bowe and Tilley claimed the same number of points to share the round win while Richards had to settle for sixth place with 108 points.
In the process the Javelin recorded the fastest lap of the race proving the car is very much on the pace.
“Apart from the race two dramas I was really happy with car over the course of the weekend and with each outing we have been able to improve the car.” said Richards.
Bowe leads the series with 1087 points from Richards on 954 with Andrew Miedecke third on 849.
Under the Touring Car Masters regulations each driver is required to drop their worst round points and on that basis at this point Bowe would have to drop 129 points and Richards 108.
So the adjusted point score would leave Richards 112 points behind with the three races to go at the final round with a total of 180 points up for grabs.
“Mathematically it would be possible to take out the series but it would depend on Bowe having a disastrous meeting for that to happen and even then I would have to score good points in each race.” said Richards.
The final round of the series will be held at the fast Sandown circuit from November 23rd to 25th as part of the Shannon’s Nationals.
Richards was non committal when asked if he would run the AMC Javelin at Sandown leaving the door open for him to run the very popular Ford Falcon Sprint that he campaigned so successfully last year.
Before that Richards will line up with long time navigator Barry Oliver in the Shannon’s Porsche GT2RS for the Targa High Country tarmac rally in Victoria on the first weekend in November.
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