Davison reflects one year on from ‘rollercoaster’

Will Davison re-joined Dick Johnson Racing in 2021. Picture: Mark Horsburgh

Will Davison says he has to pinch himself ahead of this weekend’s Bathurst 1000, a year on from one of the most stressful periods of his life.

Davison had a whirlwind 2020, starting the season in emphatic fashion with back-to-back top five finishes on the streets of Adelaide.

The season soon came to a halt due to the coronavirus pandemic and the two-time Bathurst 1000 winner’s year was flipped on its head when Phil Munday closed 23Red Racing.

Davison was duly left without a full-time seat for the remainder of the year, although he would pick up a co-drive at Tickford Racing with Cameron Waters after travel restrictions stopped Alex Premat’s return.

Davison and Waters would go on to finish runner-up to Red Bull Ampol Racing duo Shane van Gisbergen and Garth Tander.

As Team Penske called time on its tenure in Supercars and both Scott McLaughlin and Fabian Coulthard parted company, a door opened for Davison, who joined the Shell V-Power Racing Team.

Now, the 39-year-old is just a matter of days away from his fifth Bathurst 1000 start with Dick Johnson Racing.

It will be the first time since 2008 that he has contested the Great Race with the iconic Supercars team.

“I had a little moment just this week gone,” said Davison.

“I remember being at my friend’s place in Orange 12 months ago before the race and my future was hugely uncertain.

“I was trying to focus on the upcoming event but I was also trying to negotiate and deal with my future.

“It was a rollercoaster at this time last year. I had no idea what the future had in store for me.

“I remember a few key conversations before this race last year where I was stressing like nothing else. Even the Saturday night before the race I was having a meeting at 10pm.

“I do think back to this time last year and pinch myself a bit that everything has turned out as it has.

“That’s the sport we’re in. I’m very grateful for the opportunity I’ve got this year. Everything happens for a reason. It’s been a whirlwind, but I’m certainly loving being here.”

Davison will carry the iconic #17 that was made famous by Dick Johnson.

The Gold Coast resident last ran the famed number in 2007. That year he finished third with Steven Johnson, Dick’s son. This time around he will team up with older brother Alex Davison.

“I’m a purist, so when it’s all said and done, I love the history of this sport and the number 17 and the Shell V-Power Racing Team, Dick Johnson Racing, means a huge amount to so many people,” said Davison, who has recorded 10 podiums this year.

“It’s certainly an honour to drive the car. Is there more pressure? Well, there’s always pressure in this sport for many different reasons. I just try and represent the car and the number as well as I can.

“It is cool. It really is an amazing team to be a part of, particularly here at Bathurst. It’s 40 years since DJ’s first ever victory here in ‘81. There’s lot of cool stories to tell. I’ll be doing all I can to try and rewrite another cool chapter in what’s been just an amazing success rate for the team.”

Practice 1 at the Repco Bathurst 1000 gets underway at 10:00 local time/AEDT on Thursday.

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