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Richards reflects on Holden career

Mat Coch

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Sunday 1st March, 2020 - 12:00pm

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Jim Richards

Supercars legend Jim Richards has identified his victory alongside Mark Skaife in the 2002 Bathurst 1000 as the highlight of his Holden career.

Richards won the Bathurst 1000 a total of seven times between 1978 and 2002, the first with Peter Brock at the wheel of a Torana.

Mark Skaife drives to the 2002 Bathurst 1000 victory in the Holden Racing Team Commodore which he shared with Jim Richards pic: an1images.com

“The highlight of my Holden career probably was the Bathurst win with Skaifey in 2002 because, realistically, I was 56 years old I think it was, and I wasn’t going to ever win another one if I didn’t go in a top team obviously,” Richards told Speedcafe.com.

“A lot of the teams don’t want a guy of that age at that stage, so I was pleasantly surprised when Mark asked me to drive with him and we ended up winning.”

Last week it was announced that General Motors would withdraw from right-hand drive markets, but for the possibility of a ‘GM Specialty Vehicles’ line, bringing an end to Holden as an automotive marque.

The Holden name will continue at last for the medium term as servicing and parts supply continues, but the brand will not sell or develop cars.

Richards doesn’t hold a particular view on the brand’s exit, reasoning that much of his time driving for it was as a co-driver.

“In the Toranas, actually I drove with Brocky and I dealt with no one but Brock and his accountant,” he explained.

“If the Managing Director of Holden walked up to me and said, ‘Hi, Jim’, I’d say, ‘Who are you?’

“I wasn’t that politically inclined, you might say. I was just employed to do a job which I strived to do best I could.

“If it broke down, I got out and said, ‘Thanks very much,’” he continued.

“I mean, I thoroughly enjoyed my time driving Holdens, that’s for sure, and it elongated my career probably for another few years when in 2003, ‘4, ‘5 and ‘6, I drove in Skaifey’s second car.”

But while he himself enjoyed significant success for Holden, he believes its most important motorsport moments lie with others.

“I suppose a few things spring to mind,” he responds when asked what the biggest moment in Holden’s involvement in Australian motorsport has been.

“I mean, Brocky’s dominance in the, probably in the late ’70s, early ’80s and then the Round Australia victories, and I suppose all the touring car championships that Skaifey won for them and the Bathurst wins that he orchestrated.

“So, in motorsport alone, that would be Holden highlights for me.”

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