The family of the late Jason Richards have unveiled the trophy made in the driver’s honour at Pukekohe.
The Jason Richards Memorial Trophy was commissioned recently to be presented to the winner of the ITM 400 Auckland V8 Supercars meeting at the upgraded South Auckland circuit. It is the first time the V8s have raced at the track, that first came into use in 1963, since 2007.
Richards’ widow Charlotte and daughters Sienna and Olivia and the driver’s parents were present for the unveiling of the exquisitely crafted trophy in the garage of his old team, Brad Jones Racing.
The trophy is the work of celebrated local artist Frank Watson who produced the piece – a two-sided glass sculpture with black onyx centrepiece and stainless steel arches that depict the fern. It is set on a native timber base.
“I like it and I think Jason would like it with the chrome and the fern. I love the fact it has Jason’s logo on there and I think it will be a spectacular moment on Sunday evening when someone gets to hold this trophy,” said wife Charlotte.
She said that unveiling the trophy have been a mixture of a good and a difficult moment.
“You have the sad thoughts but you’ve got happy ones too that Jason has been honoured and remembered the way he was.”
Organisers received support from the family for the trophy to remember Richards, the Nelson-born V8 Supercars driver, who died from cancer 16 months ago.
“There was no New Zealander more proud,” Charlotte said. “There was nothing he wanted more than to succeed in the V8 Supercars at home and I know he would be thrilled to see the event return to Pukekohe. To have the trophy named in his honour and to have it presented for the first time in the 50th anniversary of his favourite New Zealand race track is special.”
After a successful apprenticeship in New Zealand, Richards was signed to the V8 Supercar Championship for 11 years from 2001, driving for Team Kiwi Racing, Team Dynamik, Tasman Motorsport and finally Brad Jones Racing.
He won once in the V8 Supercar Championship and was a three-time podium finisher at the Bathurst 1000.