Kelly brothers reflect as Supercars team changes hands
Wednesday 22nd December, 2021 - 11:00am
Rick and Todd Kelly have bid farewell to the Repco Supercars Championship following their family team’s official transition to Grove Racing on Monday.
The Kelly name has been represented on the Supercars grid since Todd’s Bathurst 1000 debut in 1998.
He went on to win the Great Race for the Holden Racing Team seven years later, following younger brother Rick’s back-to-back triumphs in 2003 and 2004.
Rick then won the 2006 championship, before the pair went down the path of owner-drivers with the formation of Kelly Racing in 2009.
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The squad has remarkably tasted victory with Holden, Nissan and Ford, but will next year embark on a new chapter with the Grove family taking 100 percent ownership.
The brothers sat down for one last video to fans to mark the occasion – a rare public appearance for Rick since his retirement from driving at the end of last season.
“I remember when we first started this place in 2009, at the end of 2008; we worked 24/7 in the lead-up to our first race and decided at that point that we wanted to do everything ourselves and do it our way,” recalled Todd.
“If you look back at it, there’s a lot of things that we could have done differently – we could have been a customer team and probably not change manufacturers as frequently as we did, but that’s just how we roll, that’s what we wanted to do.
“We did a huge amount of work and there’s a lot of engineering right behind us [at the Braeside workshop] and out the back to show for it, so I have certainly got no regrets of how we went about it and what we achieved with all of the cars we built and all of the drivers that we have had in the team, all of the sponsors.
“We have had such an incredible run of really great partners over that whole period and built some amazing friendships with some amazing people.
“We’ve had about 210 staff work for us here at Kelly Racing, so it’s been a pretty hard slog for a lot of years as motorsport is – a few highs, but mainly lows; you never have a good day every day on the track but looking back at it, it’s been a hell of a ride.”
Rick echoed those feelings of pride: “A lot of people say ‘what was your highlight’ and they expect it to be a result on the track, a first here or third or whatever it might be.
“But some of the biggest achievements I think for both of us was things like turning up to the track at Adelaide for the first race as our own team, because [Todd] and I were working here in this factory until one and two in the morning for a long time… it was a huge achievement for us to roll four cars onto the track and circulate at that event.
“It was a little bit similar actually in 2013 [for their first event running Nissan Altimas].
“So there’s a lot that’s gone on I think as far as highlights for us that have not been on the scoreboard as such, so it has been pretty good.”
Both wished new outright owners Stephen and Brenton Grove the best for 2022 and beyond, even if Todd notes it will be “hard to watch from the sidelines after living and breathing Supercars and motorsport for so many years”.
“All the best to Brenton, Stephen and the whole Grove family for what they’re about to enter,” Todd added.
“They’re real serious about what they want to do with this place and it’s great that we have been able to find someone to continue this team and take the staff and all of our sponsors into the future, so thanks guys and all the best for the future.”