Perkins: Erebus has made rivals, media eat their words

Jack Perkins and Will Brown

Jack Perkins believes Erebus Motorsport has proved many wrong with its efforts during the first half of the 2021 Repco Supercars Championship.

Last summer, Erebus endured one of the more turbulent off-seasons seen in recent Supercars history.

David Reynolds and Anton De Pasquale moved on to other teams, as did other key staff, and there was general scepticism about the environment at its Dandenong South headquarters.

But Erebus has proved to be arguably the surprise packet of the season, with its rookie drivers Will Brown and Brodie Kostecki consistently challenging the category’s established guard.

Brown is 10th in the championship with three top five results in each of qualifying and race trim to his name; Kostecki is 11th overall in a campaign highlighted by a superb second place finish at Sandown back in March.

“Well, I remember reading a lot of stuff late last year about Erebus and a lot of the media were pretty keen to write them off, some of the other teams were pretty keen to write them off,” Perkins, who will co-drive for Erebus at the 2021 Bathurst 1000, told the Parked Up podcast.

“But when I spoke to Barry [Ryan, Erebus CEO], I think it was around November last year and did a deal to do Bathurst, I knew full well the cars were fast, the team’s ambitions and goals never changed.

“And lo and behold, they have got two rookie drivers in the top 11 in the championship, so I dare say a few of those journos have probably deleted a few stories or some comments.

“But when you have got fast race cars and you have got a motivated group of people, the last piece of the puzzle is just to get the drivers and the cars to perform on a race weekend and when you’re in that window, you’re in it.

“Anton and Reynolds were competitive drivers the last couple of years and they weren’t doing it all themselves, so the team for me had nothing to prove and I think they’re showing this year that they have got fast cars and I think it’s impressive what both Will and Brodie have been able to do.

“Brodie getting the podium at Sandown and Will has probably impressed me a lot more in the last couple of rounds just with the consistency of being competitive.

“It’s not flash in the pan type stuff, it’s genuine top five, top six kind of speed.”

Barry Ryan with engineer George Commins (right)

The situation has Perkins encouraged for when he gets the chance to team up with Brown in the #9 ZB Commodore on November 4-7.

Perkins has been a notable part of the news cycle in recent days, having revealed he suffered a stroke five years ago.

“It was back in 2016, around about May, I woke up kind of with a dead arm,” he recalled.

“Most people are probably familiar with you sleep on your arm, your head rests on your arm or something and you lose a bit of that blood flow and you get that feeling.

“I had that, but kind of from my fingers right up to the elbow and it was kind of a worser feeling, a bit of a paralysis actually.

“Not thinking much of it, I just went to work and started working and then realised my arm hadn’t gotten any better and ‘what’s that all about?’

“So I took myself to hospital and after hours and hours of testing and things and meeting various doctors, it occurred to me after a lot of diagnosis and working through what had happened, I had about a 1cm blood clot on the brain, which is a stroke.”

Perkins spent roughly a fortnight in hospital, completed rehabilitation and then underwent heart surgery – in this instance, a procedure called PFO (Patent Foramen Ovale) Closure.

The now 34-year-old was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes more than a decade ago.

A winner at the 2015 Gold Coast 600 with James Courtney, Perkins is in line to make his 16th Great Race start this year.

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