The split second call that delivered AGP's biggest shock

12 Mar
Few AGP Supercars races have produced a result quite like the one we saw in 2005, with Brad Jones Racing scoring a one-two
  • BJR secured shock one-two in 2005 non-championship race

  • John Bowe won from 11th, Brad Jones races from 24th to second

  • BJR finally scored first championship race win in 2011

Over 80 Supercars races — non-championship and championship — have been held at Albert Park, which will host the second round of the 2024 season.

However, few have produced a result quite like the one we saw in 2005, with Brad Jones Racing veterans John Bowe and Brad Jones leading an extraordinary one-two.

Between 1996 and 2017, Supercars competed in exhibition races at Melbourne’s Albert Park on the Australian Grand Prix undercard.

The Grand Prix was the first event of the 2005 campaign, two weeks before the championship season got underway at the Adelaide 500.

It seemed normal service had resumed right off the bat, with Holden Racing Team driver Todd Kelly claiming pole ahead of Jason Bright, Mark Skaife, Steven Richards and reigning champion Marcos Ambrose.

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Bowe and Jones qualified 11th and 28th, before Kelly beat Ambrose and Skaife in Race 1. While Bowe finished 11th, Jones jumped four spots to finish 24th.

Come Race 2, and Bowe and Jones almost literally came from the clouds — thanks to an extraordinary gamble — to shock the field and deliver BJR a one-two finish, which was the Albury team’s first victory.

The BOC-backed Falcons powered past almost the entire field, which was almost standing still. It came down to a late call to start the race on slick tyres, on a day that had consisted of storms, showers and heavy rain.

"It was like taking candy from a baby,” Jones said after the race.

"If you are going to take a punt like that, you had better make it work. There was never any doubt in my mind it was the right decision.

"I was really surprised some of the other guys down the back didn't do the same.”

The BJR Fords risked it all and started on dry tyres, as everyone else opted for wets. However, the showers never came, and Bowe and Jones were on a tear.

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Bowe passed Ambrose and Skaife with three laps to go, with Jones clearing the star duo on the penultimate lap.

The BJR duo’s path to victory was aided by a dramatic start, with five cars — teammates Paul Weel and Greg Murphy, David Besnard, Andrew Jones and Anthony Tratt — crashing halfway around the lap. At Turn 1, Greg Ritter had already been turned around.

Then, the unthinkable happened — as the field rounded the final corner to catch up with the Safefy Car, Kelly slid on the slippery kerb and crashed coming on the pit straight.

The Kelly spin left Skaife in the lead, but no driver could match the speed of the BJR Fords as the sun came out, with Jones’ fastest lap of the race four seconds faster than Skaife’s best.

"One hundred times you could make that decision and it's only going to pay off twice," Bowe said.

"It just so happened that it worked for us today.”

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Skaife, Ambrose, Russell Ingall and Craig Lowndes dropped the front-row-starting BJR duo to fifth and sixth in the finale. Bowe finished fourth overall for the weekend, with Jones seventh.

BJR would have to wait six years until it finally broke through for a championship race win, courtesy of Bright in Perth.

Two years later, the team won again at Albert Park, wth Fabian Coulthard taking pole and winning three of the four races at the 2013 non-championship round.

BJR also arrives in Melbourne having claimed a podium in the finale last year, courtesy of Andre Heimgartner.

The 2024 Repco Supercars Championship will continue at the MSS Security Melbourne SuperSprint on March 21-24.

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