On this day: A 'long time coming' for BJR

  • Repco Supercars Championship
  • |
  • 01/05/2021
  • By James Pavey

May 1 will remain a critical day in the history of Brad Jones Racing, with Jason Bright’s Perth victory coming on this day 10 years ago.

It took 337 championship races for Bright to strike victory for the team in Jones’ name, with Bright clinching his first win in 138 starts.

BJR had so often threatened victory, yet fell short. Poles and podiums weren’t a rarity, but the win remained elusive.

At Wanneroo Raceway in 2011, BJR earned its successes on merit. Bright had qualified on the front row for the final two races of weekend, and overtook pole sitter Jamie Whincup at the start.

The win itself was overshadowed by the extraordinary start-line fireball after Steve Owen ploughed into the stalled Karl Reindler.

In some ways, Bright’s win was bittersweet considering the catastrophic damage to the Reindler car.

Regardless, nothing could wipe the smile from the face of Jones, who finally achieved the result he and his team so sorely craved.

WATCH: REINDLER’S FIREBALL HORROR

“It was a crazy day because we had our first win, but a car was destroyed on the same day,” Jones told Supercars.com.

“You only need to look at the picture of us all hanging over the pit wall; we have that particular picture on the wall in my office.

“It was a very exciting time for BJR. We had been there and thereabouts, and you look at that picture, and everyone is so pumped and excited.

“It was a great moment.”

The race was red-flagged and the restart delayed to clear the heavily damaged Commodores.

When it did start, it was Bright who got away into an early lead, beating Whincup to Turn 1.

The 1997 Bathurst winner was peerless in the 50-lapper, going on to score his first win since Bahrain 2006.

Jason Bargwanna made it two BJR cars on the podium following a final-lap overtake on Craig Lowndes for third.

“It was a long time coming,” said Jones, who notably enjoyed previous success in AUSCAR.

"Kim and I had had success in nearly everything we’d done, we’d won championships and races elsewhere.

“For lots of reasons, it was a long time coming, and I’d like to think it was somewhat overdue.

“I felt at that time that we’d turned a corner and we were going really well.

“But there was no shock. We worked really hard to reach that level. It’s not like you wake up one day and everyone else is behind you on the road.

“We didn’t win accidentally. We beat everyone. It was a great team effort by everyone in the group.”

At the following event at Winton, Bright scored another famous victory, fighting through the field to claim a second BJR win in as many events.

The celebrations were even more memorable; the late Jason Richards, who previously drove for BJR, joined Bright on the podium.

“The race at Winton was a fantastic result,” Jones said.

“Jason commented that he felt he passed the field a couple of times.

WATCH: EMOTIONAL WINTON WIN

“At the time, I thought it was the right strategy. It was a really rewarding race, Jason was so much faster than everyone else towards the end.

“That race is perhaps more memorable in terms of how it unfolded, and JR was there; it was like the original band got back together in a funny sort of way.

“Perth was a really important occasion for everyone at BJR, but being able to roll out at a different circuit and do it again, with the speed and strategy we had, and the fact JR was there, it was a very emotional day at Winton.”

The Repco Supercars Championship field will return to The Bend Motorsport Park for the OTR SuperSprint across May 7-9. Tickets are on sale now.

The event will be broadcast live on Foxtel and will be streamed on Kayo with highlights on 7 and 7 Plus.

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