There are some great rivalries in V8 Supercars racing. Holden versus Ford. Whincup versus Winterbottom. Burgess versus Jenkins.
Never heard of the last one? Well it’s a contest that’s emerging on the other side of the pit wall as Red Bull Racing Australia team manager Adrian Burgess and his Tekno Autosports equivalent, Bruce Jenkins (pictured left to right), compete for bragging rights.
The two Britons are the best of mates and former colleagues in European motorsport, but now also fierce rivals as they race against each other in V8 Supercars.
Burgess even played a key role in Jenkins joining Tekno in 2011, its first year as a stand-alone team.
Obviously, Burgess is the one with the long term winning results and credentials in V8 Supercars, but Tekno’s 2013 form has been impressive.
It has included a win for new recruit Shane van Gisbergen at the Clipsal 500 in Adelaide and some strong race finishes for the Kiwi, and teammate Jonathon Webb, ahead of RBRA aces Jamie Whincup and Craig Lowndes.
“We are very close mates,” Jenkins told v8supercars.com.au. “So there is a very personal battle going on here and I told Adrian when I first came onboard here ‘don’t think I will be sitting behind you, I will be chasing your short tails and at the end of the day I will tread on your toes’.”
Burgess’s retort is pretty straight forward: “When you have backed it up for years and races and races then you have a right to start singing… you look at the big table he’s not ahead of us.”
The keen-ness of the rivalry is exacerbated by the fact Tekno is a customer of RBRA’s parent Triple Eight Race Engineering, racing Car of the Future Holden Commodore VFs built by the Queensland organisation.
“We are two individual teams, we are working together for the best of Holden and we will do what we can to win races,” said Jenkins. “Beating them is a huge accolade for all the team members. We are a very small team in a very big fish tank here.”
Burgess has seen the Triple Eight customer relationship from both sides, as he managed James Courtney’s epic 2010 championship win for Dick Johnson Racing in a T8-built Ford Falcon FG.
“We always give out competitive machinery, I know that better than anyone,” Burgess said.
Jenkins, who worked at Formula One teams McLaren – including a stint with Ayrton Senna – and Paul Stewart Racing as well as various development open-wheeler formula in Europe, was having a holiday from racing when he spent some time with Burgess at the Perth round of the V8 Supercars Championship in 2011.
Burgess introduced him to Jonathon Webb and his father and team owner, Steve, and Jenkins was managing the operation by the time of the 2011 Sucrogen Townsville 400.
“It was one of the most nervous choices I had to make to come all the way down here,” Jenkins said. “But I don’t regret it one bit now.
“Steve is fantastic, he has supported the team 100 percent through everything we have done and given us the belief we can put in the results that we now are.
“Two years down the road since I come onboard to be posting the results we are is amazing. It is a great team.”
Whincup and Lowndes are currently first and second in the V8 Supercars Championship, while Van Gisbergen runs seventh, and Webb 10th.