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The Javlin


19 APRIL 2013

Jim Richards long time friend and tarmac rally navigator Barry Oliver has been honoured by the newly formed V8 Media Association by being inducted into the Hall Of Fame for his contribution to course commentary and journalism.

Oliver was one of five inaugural inductees along with cartoonist John “Stonie” Stoneham ,publisher journalist and photographer Ray Berghouse ,journalist Jon Evans and broadcaster and commentator Will Hagon.

Oliver commenced his commentary career in March 1980 in Tasmania after being conned by one of the regular Symmons Plains commentators.

“The previous December at a Christmas function I met and was talking to Angus Richard and he suggested I should join the team at some point.” said Oliver.

“I thought nothing more about it but at the March Touring Car championship meeting ,during Saturday practice ,he spotted me on the bank and called me up to the commentary box.”

“When I walked in he handed me a microphone and introduced me and then a few minutes later walked out of the box and left me to it with 26 Formula Vees coming out onto the circuit.”

Over the following years Oliver became involved in commentary not only for circuit racing but rallies ,speedway ,karting and drag racing as well as regular motorsport segments on local radio and television.

In 1992 he was invited to become the series on course commentator for the touring car championship and continued in that roll ,including the transition to V8 Supercars ,until the end of 2007.

He became known as the “voice of V8 Supercars” and over that sixteen year period called over 500 separate races and conducted many press conferences as MC. Oliver was part of the Grand Prix commentary team in Adelaide for all but the inaugural race and for some years was the series commentator for the V8 Development series ,Formula Holden and the Formula Ford series.

In the late eighties Oliver was invited to provide a weekly motorsport column for the Examiner newspaper in Launceston and that still continues.

“To be awarded this honour by my peers was one of the highlights of my career and to be included with such an illustrious line up of people I have always admired and respected is very special.” said the grandfather of six.

His link with Richards goes back to when he interviewed the champion driver in the eighties for a local radio show but it wasn’t until 1992 that the relationship developed. “At the Lakeside round of the Touring Car Championship in 1992 Winfield team owner Fred Gibson asked me to give him an update on the inaugural Targa Tasmania event which was in progress and afterwards Jim asked what it was all about. When I explained the format of the event he said he would like to do it the next year and have me as his navigator as I was a local with some knowledge of the roads”.

Subsequently an arrangement fell into place and the two joined forces for Targa in 1993 in an ex Bathurst Twelve Hour Porsche 968 Club Sport and the rest as they say is history.

“Jim and I have become very good friends and at this point have covered over 60 tarmac rallies in Australia and New Zealand so it’s been a wonderful and very rewarding experience.” said Oliver.

Oliver still does some commentary at local level including the annual MG Car Club historic race meeting at Baskerville and hopes to do more this year.

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