Bathurst he­roes set for Hamp­ton

Franklin County News - - SPORT -

‘‘It was an easy de­ci­sion to come over to Hamp­ton Downs.’’

Bathurst con­queror and V8 Su­per­car hero Jim Richards will be the fo­cus on and off the track at the Hamp­ton Downs an­nual Fes­ti­val of Mo­tor­sport held at the North Waikato cir­cuit this week­end, January 13-14.

Richards will get be­hind the wheel of the iconic black and gold John Player BMW635 along­side other pe­riod cor­rect Bathurst pedi­gree cars and play a lead role on stage at a cel­e­bra­tory din­ner planned for the Satur­day night of the 4Guys Au­to­barn Le­gends of Bathurst event.

And it is fit­ting that one of the stars of the show is a dead­set le­gend around Mt Panorama.

Richards will be joined by a host of other driv­ers with Bathurst con­nec­tions in­clud­ing his son Steve, Fred Gib­son, John Bowe, Al­lan Mof­fat and Paul Ra­disich.

It is around 25 years since Richards ce­mented his place in Aus­tralasian mo­tor­sport his­tory with an un­for­get­table vic­tory speech from the top step of the podium.

Ford fans were in­censed that their hero Dick John­son was de­nied the win due to a de­ci­sion made by the of­fi­cials and they made their feel­ings known by boo­ing Richards and his co-driver Mark Skaife on the podium.

Richards is look­ing forward to shar­ing his Bathurst mem­o­ries and get­ting back be­hind the wheel of the Peter Stur­geon-owned, ex-Frank Gard­ner Group C BMW 635 CSi.

‘‘It was an easy de­ci­sion to come over to Hamp­ton Downs and see some peo­ple I haven’t seen for a while and have a drive in a nice car.

‘‘It prob­a­bly runs bet­ter now than it did back in the day. The tyres are bet­ter for a start.

‘‘Back when I drove it the tyres weren’t as good as they are now so it’s prob­a­bly faster now than when I drove it 30 years ago.’’

Richards’ son Steve will climb be­hind the wheel of an exGian­franco Bran­catelli/Johnny Ce­cotto BMW E30 M3, also owned by Stur­geon.

An­other high­light of the Le­gends of Bathurst fes­ti­val will be the Bathurst Revival, which will be a chance for cars and driv­ers that have a con­nec­tion with Bathurst to race on track.

The Le­gends on Stage din­ner on Satur­day evening at Hamp­ton Downs Pavil­ion prom­ises to be an­other high­light of the week­end.

Re­visit some clas­sic mo­ments from Bathurst on the big screen and hear from Jim Richards, Steve Richards, John Bowe and Paul Ra­disich about their favourite Mt Panorama mem­o­ries.

SUPPLIED

V8 Su­per­car hero Jim Richards will be the fo­cus on and off the track at the Hamp­ton Downs’ an­nual Fes­ti­val of Mo­tor­sport on January 13-14.

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