Cat Racing¹s dream of successful Bathurst debut fell short at Mount Panorama today with engine failure putting out the #600 V8 Supercar at half race distance in today¹s FAI 1000.
The experienced duo of John Bowe and Jim Richards had driven the car up to fifth place at one stage but the car rolled to a halt with Bowe behind the wheel after 82 laps.
The pair had enjoyed a trouble free start to the weekend but their realistic hopes of a top five result unfortunately did not eventuate.
"We certainly had a top five car today if our luck had run true but this is the toughest race in the country on man and machine," Bowe said.
"I am disappointed for the boys and all our supporters because it had been looking very promising.
"I don¹t know whether we had the outright speed to win the race today, but our strategies had worked extremely well.
"This mountain can really break your heart, but days like this make you all the more determined to come back again next year."
The engine failure may have been fortunate for the Cat crew who discovered a damaged steering arm after privateer Geoff Full made contact with Bowe after turning in on the Cat car.
"With a capacity 55 car grid, the potential for problems with slower cars is always there," Bowe said.
"I suppose I should be happy to still have a straight car because this is not the type of track where you would want your steering to fail."
While Jim Richards was unable to celebrate success on the mountain today, his son Steven entered victory lane at Bathurst for the second year in a row.
Steven Richards won the event with Greg Murphy aboard a Commodore while Craig Lowndes wrapped up the series championship by finishing second with Cameron McConville.
"I am very pleased for Steven, but I would have rather have seen us up there on the podium he had his turn last year," joked Richards.
"The Cat guys gave us a great car today, but you have to be around at the finish.
"I¹ve really enjoyed working with JB and hope we can do it again next year.
"A good result would have capped off an outstanding debut year for the team, but despite what happened today, they should be very proud of what they have achieved this year."
FAI 1000 BATHURST 161 laps 1. - S.Richards/Murphy (H) - 6 hours 51 minutes 48.8354 seconds 2. - Lowndes/McConville (H) - 161 laps 3. - Skaife/Morris (H) - 161 laps 4. - D.Johnson/S.Johnson (F) - 161 laps 5. - Seton/Crompton (F) - 161 laps 6. - Kelly/Noske (H) - 161 laps 7. - Perkins/Ingall (H) - 161 laps 8. - Weel/Crick (F) - 160 laps 9. - Ritter/Owen (H) - 160 laps 10. - G.Brabham/Bates (F) - 159 laps
Did Not Finish BOWE/J.RICHARDS (CAT FORD) - 82 laps
(F)= Ford (H) = Holden
Paul Ryan <firstname.lastname@example.org>