Ryan relishes return to tools but recognises ‘critical roles’

Erebus Motorsport Managing Director Shannen Kiely was part of the 13-person crew at SMP

Penrite Racing boss Barry Ryan said his team might reconsider how it is structured for future Supercar rounds amid an “intense” return to racing.

Supercars teams were restricted to just 13 personnel per two-car team at the Sydney SuperSprint as part of coronavirus mitigation rules.

While most team owners stayed home, Ryan was among the Erebus Motorsport crew at Sydney Motorsport Park.

The co-owner and Team Principle said the resumption of racing ran without a hitch for the Melbourne-based squad.

“From our point of view it was really smooth, but it was intense,” Ryan told Speedcafe.com.

“From the first session each day you knew that by the time the cars were out of parc ferme or back in the garage between practice and qualifying you didn’t have a lot of time.

“You had to make really short, sharp decisions and make sure that you were on the ball. It was good. It was just refreshing to not drag things out and just get on with it.”

Prior to the Sydney event, Ryan told Speedcafe.com, “You want to try and pick your most multi-skilled people, so people can do multiple tasks” amid personnel restrictions.

It’s believed Erebus was the only team to take a communications manager to Sydney while other teams opted to have team managers take on the communications role.

Shannen Kiely, General Manager of Communications, was recently promoted to General Manager and was among the Erebus crew.

Ryan said crew members are now having to be multifaceted and able to perform a multitude of jobs, resulting in everyone working on the car at some stage over the course of the weekend.

“I think for us we managed it pretty well,” said Ryan of the personnel restrictions and subsequent team selection.

“All of our guys were just so enthusiastic about it. Pretty much everybody on our team is really multi-skilled. They’ve started from being an apprentice and worked through the ranks.

“We took Shannen, who has been promoted to a higher position, she still does our media role. She was out there in the pit lane, doing brake rotors, helping put wheels on, and all that stuff.

“Now she’s wanting to do more at the next round if she stays, but she’s sort of saying ‘Am I the best person? Could we get someone else?’

“Shannen is really important for our sponsors but she recognises there are more important people technically. We’ve got to make a decision with those critical roles.

“We had everybody at one stage doing something. That’s what you need as a team, you need people that are willing to and are capable of doing anything.”

Ryan said he relished the opportunity to work on his pair of Holden ZB Commodores in amongst the team.

“It was cool, it was really cool,” said Ryan.

“I’ve been in that position 20 years ago, 10 years ago, whatever, I know what those guys go through and the hard work and dirty hands. It’s not new to me.

“I really enjoyed it, it was good giving the guys shit at the end of the day trying to compare who had the dirtiest hands. There was a bit of banter.

“We had a really fun weekend, which is what racing is supposed to be about. That was cool.”

Despite the introduction of a curfew to proceedings, Ryan said his team left well in advance of it.

However, he said there might be issues for teams if they have an incident, which they were fortunate not to encounter.

“The only time it’s going to make a difference is if you have major damage, but we had the personnel there that if we had major damage we could’ve got most things fixed unless it was a shunt like Bathurst,” he said.

“I think the curfew is a good thing because some teams you’ve got to protect them from themselves, otherwise they’ll be there all night because they think that’s what they need to do to be competitive. “It’s definitely a good thing for the sport.”

David Reynolds was the best performer at the Sydney SuperSprint with finishes of 21st, fifth, and fourth across the three races.

Meanwhile, Anton De Pasquale claimed eighth, 12th, and seventh place finishes for Penrite Racing.

The Virgin Australia Supercars Championship is slated to return with the Truck Assist Winton SuperSprint on July 18-19.

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