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Despite some hiccups Jim Richards and the Shannons Falcon Sprint have finished second overall in round five of the Touring Car Masters championship which was held at the popular Muscle Car Masters meeting at Sydney Motor Sport Park.

Richards had to settle for fourth place in qualifying behind series leader John Bowe in the Mustang ,Andrew Miedecke in his Chev Camaro and Cameron Tilley in his Mustang.

In the first ten lap race Richards finished a fighting second on the road but subsequently was relegated to third after the imposition of a five second race time penalty because the car was deemed to be moving on the grid prior to the start of the race.

For the second race the top ten from race one were reversed with Richards starting from row four and at the end of the ten laps he finished fourth after a good battle with the HQ Holden of Les Warmsley.

The third and final ten lap race saw Richards finish fourth on the road but again the officials deemed that the Falcon Sprint was moving before the start of the race and the multiple Bathurst winner was given another five second penalty which moved him back to fifth.

“The car was moving on both occasions and I really had no choice but to cop the penalty. It’s unfortunate but at the end of the day it made no difference to where we finished overall for the weekend”. said Richards.

“The car performed faultlessly over the weekend and I have no problem running it for the final three rounds of the championship. We can’t match the straight line speed of the larger capacity cars but there are still a lot of points on the board and while Bowe is in a very strong position in the championship I have to try and protect my second place”. said Richards who turned 66 the day after the meeting.

Richards also confirmed he was not planning on running the rebuilt Shannons AMC Javelin before next year due to other commitments and not wishing to rush the installation of all the components in the completed and painted shell.

“I want to make sure it’s 100% before I bring it out to race and the Falcon is serving me well at the moment anyway”. said Richards

John Bowe has a very comfortable lead in the championship with 849 points with Richards on 740 and Andrew Miedecke on 699.

The next round of the championship will be run at Sandown.

The MCM meeting also featured races for the historic Group C and Group A touring cars and Richards took his former Touring Car championship winning Nissan Skyline HR31 to compete against an eclectic group of genuine race cars from the past In qualifying for the Heritage Touring cars Richards qualified on pole position by a full second from Terry Lawler in his Ford Sierra RS500 and led away from the start. Unfortunately the car came to a halt on lap two while leading and a disappointed Richards was forced out for the rest of the weekend.

“We haven’t had a chance to pull the engine down at this stage but I feel it has dropped a valve”. The team at Gibson Motor Sport will soon establish what the problem was and get it fixed so I will be looking forward to be getting back in the car”. Richards said that he was really enjoying being reunited with the car and being able to drive it in anger.

“It’s a great car to drive and I must say it has bought back lots of memories of when I last raced the car over twenty years ago”. said Richards

Richards also took his John Player liveried BMW 635 to the meeting so overall it was a very busy weekend for seven time Bathurst 1000 winner.

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