James Golding has described a top 10 finish in his first Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000 as a primary driver as ‘just about my biggest achievement to date.’
Golding finished eighth in the Garry Rogers Motorsport entry he shared with Richard Muscat, just over seven seconds behind the sister car of Garth Tander/Chris Pither that finished sixth.
It bettered the previous best result of his rookie Virgin Australia Supercars Championship season, at Sydney Motorsport Park, by a full five positions.
He has two higher finishes to his name, a fourth in last year’s Sandown 500 and fifth on the Saturday of the 2016 Gold Coast 600, but drove as a co-driver to Garth Tander and James Moffat respectively on those occasions.
“This is a massive achievement for me, I’d say probably just about my biggest to date,” the 22-year-old told Speedcafe.com.
“It’s probably the toughest race that I’ve done, also. Those last few stints there, you’re virtually doing qualifying lap after lap, and it was a really cool experience and really grateful for it.
“The car had pretty good speed, all day it was nice and consistent, so we made a couple of changes earlier on in the race and to get a ticket to the end was our main focus.
“Richard did a fantastic job in his stints also, just getting through those couple of moments with rain and that sort of thing, and then we got the car balance a bit better for the end of the race.
“I think that’s roughly where our speed was and everyone did a faultless job in the team so I’m really proud of them and obviously for my first main drive, really happy.”
While the pair went largely under the radar, their day wasn’t without nervous moments, the first when Golding was cleared of a breach of driving standards having made contact with Cameron Waters at The Chase on Lap 21.
The most significant, however, was a scrape with the wall not dissimilar to one which eventual race winner Craig Lowndes also got away with.
“The only thing I did have was that I just nicked the Forrest’s Elbow exit wall with about 15 to go, that was the only thing,” revealed Golding.
“(It was) nice, smooth sailing for both of us. It was a good day.”
Golding/Muscat now sit 11th in the Pirtek Enduro Cup, which concludes with the Vodafone Gold Coast 600 on October 19-21.