Rain, hail, shine, Skaife and Richards in 40th Bob Jane T-Marts 1000. Holden Racing Team's Mark Skaife and Jim Richards combined to win a drama-filled Bob Jane T-Marts 1000 in front of a record Sunday crowd of 57,180 at Mount Panorama in...
Rain, hail, shine, Skaife and Richards in 40th Bob Jane T-Marts 1000.
Holden Racing Team's Mark Skaife and Jim Richards combined to win a drama-filled Bob Jane T-Marts 1000 in front of a record Sunday crowd of 57,180 at Mount Panorama in Bathurst today.
Ten years after the duo combined to win the race in a Nissan GT-R, they did it again to register Holden's fourth consecutive and 20th overall Bathurst win in its 40-year history.
The victory followed Skaife's win last year and takes his total Bathurst wins to four and Richards' to seven. Bathurst legend Peter Brock holds the record at nine wins, and on his return to the mountain today finished 23rd in his Team Brock Commodore with Craig Baird.
In a day that included nine safety car periods following multiple crashes, numerous leader changes and rain, hail and shine, the Number 1 Commodore proved too good over the 161 laps to win by just over two seconds.
In second place was Jim's son Steven Richards and Russell Ingall in the Castrol Perkins Number 16 Commodore with the podium filled by Jason Bright and Tomas Mezera in HRT's Number 2 Commodore.
To cap off a great day for Holden, the top five finishers were all Commodores with Rick Kelly and Nathan Pretty (Holden Young Lions) and Larry Perkins and Paul Dumbrell (Castrol Perkins Racing) placing fourth and fifth respectively.
Ford's leading finisher was the Betta Electrical Number 66 Falcon of Tony Longhurst and Matthew White in sixth place.
The top-10 was rounded out by Greg Ritter and Alan Jones (Shell Helix Racing), Cameron McLean and Tony Scott (VIP Petfoods Racing), Steve Ellery and Luke Youlden (Super Cheap Auto Racing) and John Faulkner and Richard Bates (Dynapack/GJ Gardner Homes Racing).
But it was Skaife's and Richards' day as they took the chequered flag in six hours 58 minutes 41.0260 seconds.
"It was a tough race. This place puts up everything from weather to safety car periods, and it was a sprint every time the race went back to green," said Skaife.
"You can never get too confident, but thankfully we didn't have too many hiccups except for the plastic bag in the air duct in the final laps."
Richards said that today's Bathurst victory number seven for him was the sweetest of all.
"This is probably the best because I wouldn't have too many to go," said Richards.
"Bathurst has an exceptional race track and this year it all came down to the last 20 or so laps."
The Castrol Perkins team of Steven Richards and Russell Ingall looked at the positives in their second-placed finish.
"We probably lacked a bit of car speed early but we really pushed all the way. I thought Russell's stint in the car during the wet and hail was magnificent to give us a great show," said Richards.
"The team was fantastic. At the end of the day, we were the only team that took it up to HRT consistently all week," said Ingall.
Ford was strong early with the Brad Jones/John Bowe combination for OzEmail Racing taking the lead from the start and maintaining the ascendancy until the first round of pit stops around the 30-lap mark.
Jones' stint included a new race lap record of 2:09.5705 on lap 29. It was also this lap that the first of nine yellow flags was waved through the race. The final green flag was brought out on lap 145 which ultimately made it a sprint race between the eight cars on the lead lap.
Skaife's win wrapped up the V8 Supercar Championship Series for him with a lead of 751 points with three rounds remaining.
In the other big news, today's crowd (57,180) was close to 5,000 more than the previous Sunday record. The combined four day crowd of 163,840 was another huge record for the Bob Jane T-Marts 1000, close to 10,000 up on the previous best also in 1999.
IMG Director of Motorsport Geoff Jones paid tribute to the legion of motorsport fans and families for the making the 2002 edition of the Bob Jane T-Marts 1000 the best yet.
"This event continues to grow in status, and we are delighted to have celebrated the 40th anniversary with such a massive crowd," said Jones.
"It is fair to say that we had all ingredients this year. The inaugural race winner Bob Jane and his T-Marts took on the naming rights for the event before nine-time winner Peter Brock announced his return to the mountain.
"A great mix of experience and youth, plenty of thrills and spills, the typical fluctuation in weather conditions, and the enthusiastic crowd, combined to make the Bob Jane T-Marts 1000 a huge success."