The Bathurst-winning Richards record in Ingall's sights

  • Repco Supercars Championship
  • |
  • 24/11/2021
  • By James Pavey, Main Pic by AN1 Images

In 2002, a 55-year-old Jim Richards claimed his seventh Bathurst victory alongside Mark Skaife.

Aged 55 years, one month and 11 days, Richards became the oldest driver to win the Great Race on October 13, 2002.

Richards also became the oldest driver to win a championship race.

Nearly 20 years on, Russell Ingall is armed with a chance to smash the legendary Kiwi’s record.

Ingall will share a Supercheap Auto-backed Triple Eight wildcard Commodore with Broc Feeney.

On race day at this year's Repco Bathurst 1000, on December 5, Ingall will be aged 57 years, nine months and 11 days.

Should Ingall win the race, he will undercut Richards’ record by two years and eight months.

Teenager Feeney would also become the youngest driver to win Bathurst, and the youngest to win a championship race.

Current Super2 points leader Feeney will be aged 19 years, one month and 17 days on race day at Mount Panorama.

Feeney was less than a year old in 2003 when Rick Kelly won the Great Race aged 20 years, eight months and 20 days.

A decade later, Scott McLaughlin won in Pukekohe aged 19 years, 10 months and three days.

The 2002 race was Richards’ 31st start, extending his own Bathurst starts record.

The start of the 2002 race

Aboard the #1 Holden Racing Team Commodore, Richards reunited with Skaife to share a car together for the first time since 1994.

Richards and Skaife won the Great Race in 1991 and 1992 aboard Gibson Motorsport Nissans; Richards won the title in 1991, and Skaife in 1992.

Skaife arrived in Bathurst eyeing a second straight Great Race win and third drivers’ title for HRT.

Skaife duly became the first V8 Supercar winner from pole since Larry Perkins in 1993, and first overall since Rickard Rydell in 1998.

Richards behind the wheel

Richards shared the Volvo with Rydell in the two-litre race in 1998, which was his sixth Bathurst win.

The 2002 win helped Richards to seven, taking him above Perkins’ tally of six.

Only Peter Brock’s nine was a better haul, before Craig Lowndes matched Richards in 2018.

Skaife took the lead from Jim’s son Steven at a restart on lap 146, and survived an anxious run to the flag with plastics bags covering the #1 Commodore’s air intake.

Skaife takes the flag

Richards junior, coincidentally, was partnered with Ingall for the 2002 race, with the duo finishing second.

"It was a race that had lots of potential outcomes, there were lots of battles going on throughout the field," Skaife recently told Supercars.com.

"It was so windy that day which was why the plastic bags were flying around everywhere.

"In the final sprint to the end, I had to get by Steven Richards because if I stayed behind him the car wouldn’t have finished.

"I needed to get to the front, clearly trying to win Australia’s favourite race but the car was overheating pretty badly.

Ingall (R) and Steven Richards on the podium

"It was 10 years on from the famous rendition by Jim Richards.

"We all know what he said on the podium in 1992, but in 2002 he got up there and called them, ‘A wonderful pack of people’.

“For him to win Bathurst at 55 years old was just fantastic.”

The 2021 Repco Supercars Championship and Dunlop Series seasons will conclude at the Repco Bathurst 1000.

Foxtel’s coverage will start on Wednesday 1st December at 8:25 am AEDT on channel 503 and Kayo.

The Seven Network will provide live free to air coverage of the event. Tickets for the event and camping are on sale now.

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