A "phenomenal" campaign of V8 Supercar driving came to a climax today when Greg Murphy and Rick Kelly took out the 41st Bob Jane T-Marts 1000 at Mount Panorama in Bathurst. The K-Mart Racing duo smashed records all through this year's Bob Jane...
A "phenomenal" campaign of V8 Supercar driving came to a climax today when Greg Murphy and Rick Kelly took out the 41st Bob Jane T-Marts 1000 at Mount Panorama in Bathurst.
The K-Mart Racing duo smashed records all through this year's Bob Jane T-Marts 1000 to win the ultimate showdown from Craig Lowndes and Glenn Seton (Ford Performance Racing) with Steve Ellery and Luke Youlden (Super Cheap Auto Racing) joining them on the Bathurst podium for the first time.
Murphy took the checkered flag after the 161-lap marathon to claim his third Bathurst title, joining only six other drivers to have achieved this feat in the event's history. He won previously in 1996 and 1999.
Co-driving the number 51 Commodore, Kelly became the youngest ever Bob Jane T-Marts 1000 winner at 20 years of age.
The dynamic duo had the powerhouse car for all four days of practice, qualifying, top 10 shootout and the 1000km race topping all daily timesheets. Yesterday Murphy ripped out the fastest lap even seen around Mount Panorama clocking 2:06.8594 to put the Commodore on pole position.
"I can't believe it," said Murphy. "It's pretty indescribable. It has been a fairytale weekend. I can't believe this whole weekend has happened. Without a doubt this has been the highlight of my career so far.
"We used a basic strategy. We fell into our windows everywhere, sticking to a fairly basic strategy and plan, and it all came off."
The race had some dramatic moments, none more so than on lap 150 when the sixth safety car for the day emerged after a tangle between John Bowe (OzEmail Racing) and Steven Richards (Castrol Perkins Racing) which sent Bowe into the sand at Shell Corner.
The gaps closed up and Mark Skaife (Holden Racing Team) who was in second place had an opportunity to tussle with Murphy but was black flagged to fix a loose rear door. This ended the chance of a podium for the four-time winner and victor for the past two years.
Lowndes took his opportunity and claimed second place for Ford Performance Racing which also became the first time that co-driver Glenn Seton has stood on the podium in 20 Bathurst attempts. He was awarded second in 1987 after a post-race enquiry.
"We didn't have the horsepower to match some of the front running cars but we certainly had the economy," said Lowndes.
"Everything went to plan, and a little bit of luck went our way with the penalty to Skaifey."
An emotional third place went to the one-car Super Cheap Auto Racing team of Steve Ellery and Luke Youlden -- the second consecutive endurance race that the Ford team finished on the podium.
"This is a big result for a little team," said Ellery. "Sandown was great but Bathurst is what it's all about."
Steven Richards held off father Jim Richards (Holden Racing Team) in a great tussle over the concluding laps to take fourth position in co-driver Larry Perkins' last Bob Jane T-Marts 1000 after 26 starts and six wins on the mountain.
The elder Richards held on to cross the line in fifth position teaming with Tony Longhurst this weekend, while series leader Marcos Ambrose with co-driver Russell Ingall (Pirtek Caltex Havoline Racing) placed sixth after encountering tyre problems late in the race.
The win by Murphy closed the gap between he and Ambrose in the V8 Supercar Championship Series to 76 points with three rounds to go. All V8 Supercar attention is now focussed on the Gillette V8 Supercar Challenge at the Lexmark Indy 300 on the Gold Coast from October 23 to 26.
Jim Richards capped off a big day by completing the trifecta of Carrera Cup races over the Bob Jane T-Marts 1000 campaign, keeping Queensland's Marcus Marshall at bay in race three this morning.
Adding to the phenomenal performances on the track, the four-day crowd was a remarkable 158,832 with a final day crowd of 52,384 immersed in record-breaking motor racing.
The crowd figures over the four days were 28,140 (Thursday), 33,755 (Friday), 44,553 (Saturday) and 52, 384 (Sunday).
For further information visit the website www.bobjanetmarts1000.com