DISASTER FOR RICHARDS AT SANDOWN
29 NOVEMBER 2012
The final round of the Touring Car Masters Championship at Sandown last weekend proved to be to be a disaster for Jim Richards when the Shannons AMC Javelin was extensively damaged in race two after winning the first race.
Richards had planned to run the very popular Falcon Sprint at the final round and in the practice sessions the car had been very competitive and the team were confident of a good run in the three races.
Unfortunately the team discovered an engine oil leak prior to qualifying and they had no choice but withdraw the car as it was a major job to repair.
Fortunately the Shannons Javelin was on hand having been fully repaired after sustaining rear end damage in the final race at Bathurst.
"I wasn't planning to run the Javelin as the car had just been fixed after Bathurst and I thought I may as well put it to one side ready for the new season and run the Sprint." said Richards.
Despite running the Bathurst diff ratio Richards qualified the car third and then went back to the workshop to get the Sandown diff which was fitted for race one..
Richards made a good start in the race and moved into the lead in front of John Bowe and Andrew Miedecke but then the race was red flagged due to Tony Edwards rolling his Torhana.
The cars then lined up in their original grid positions for the shortened eight lap race and again Richards got a good start and led Bowe into the first corner.
Miedecke was then forced out when the engine failed and it was left to Richards and Bowe to battle for the lead with the Javelin coming home in front.
The second race was a reverse top ten from race one so the Shannons Javelin was on grid position ten.
Part way through of the race Richards was in a convoy of cars behind Greg Crick and Bill Pye and as they came out of the last turn onto the front straight the GT Falcon of Tony Karanfilovski spun causing the following cars to take avoiding action.
Unfortunately Richards could not see the problem in time due to the cars in front and the Javelin crashed into the Falcon causing extensive damage to the left front and side.
"The car is very badly damaged and it's going to take a long time to fix. We will need to strip it back to a bare shell and start from scratch as the chassis rail is damaged beyond repair and floor has been badly kinked." said a disappointed Richards who was not injured.
Despite not finishing the race and missing the final race Richards still finished second overall in the championship behind John Bowe in his Mustang.
Richards is unsure if the car will be ready for the opening round of next year's championship but is confident the trusty Falcon Sprint will be a competitive back up.
"Overall we have had a great year and finishing second in the championship is more than we expected coming in as we did with a brand new car".
Richards was full of praise for his team of Bruce Tyson, Mick Webb, Russell Woollard and Brian Gelding.
"They have done a fantastic job and it's unfortunate for the team that we now have to start from scratch for next year". said Richards.
Richards also expressed his appreciation for the support he received from sponsors Shannons Insurance, Valvoline, Greenfield Mowers Adrenalin and was pleased to announce a new sponsorship arrangement with Wacker Neuson.
The team would like to take this opportunity to wish everyone a very happy and safe Christmas and all the very best for 2013.
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