TOUGH WEEKEND FOR RICHARDS AT SYMMONS PLAINS
Round two of the Enzed Touring Car Masters at Symmons Plains was both frustrating and reasonably successful for Jim and the Shannons AMC Javelin with fourth place overall in Pro Masters at the end of three races.
The weekend commenced on the Friday with two twenty minute practice sessions the first of which was very wet and the second not much better so Jim elected not to go out as there was a limited supply of wet weather Hoosier tyres.
In the twenty minute qualifying session on Saturday morning drama struck the Shannons Javelin when Jim had to contend with an intermittent stuck accelerator pedal caused by an errant nut that was rolling around under the false floor.
The problem was not solved until the car returned to the pit garage and so Jim Ã‚Â finished up starting off the back of the grid for the first 12 lap race together with Andrew Miedecke who took no part in qualifying due to the car undergoing an engine transplant.
Jim took a conservative approach to the race but still made up ten positions to finish 13th and then in the second race he went from 13th to 8th.
In the third race Jim was moving forward but then had to take avoiding action at the hairpin to drive around Jason Gomersall who had spun the Torana.
At the end of 12 laps Jim had moved up to 4th which gave him 4th overall in Pro masters for the weekend behind Steven Johnson who qualified on pole and won all three races in the Mustang normally driven by John Bowe with Greg Crick in the E55 Charger second and Eddie Abelnica third in the two door Falcon hardtop.
Bowe had sponsor commitments in Fiji and so Johnson took his place and showed his class by dominating the weekend with a very impressive performance to take out the Shannons Tasmanian Tourist Trophy.
For Jim it was a case of what might have been had there not been a problem in qualifying.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“Overall I was very happy with the car apart from the throttle problem and there is plenty of potential in the car so IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢m sure we will be more competitive as the series continuesÃ¢â‚¬Â.Ã‚Â said the two time TCM champion.
In the second and third races the Javelin was less than a second off the fastest time set by Johnson in the Mustang and bearing in mind this is just the second race meeting for the car and the Mustang has had years of development work it was a pleasing result.
Jim also competed in a fourth non championship race which was over 12 laps for the City of Launceston Trophy and after Crick went out with a blown gearbox Richards finished second to Johnson with Glenn Seton third in the 302 Mustang.
For this race Jim elected to run two new rear tyres and soften up the rear suspension and he was very happy with the result.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“We recorded our fastest lap of the meeting at 57.74 and were only two tenths of a second slower than Steve in that race and I know there is more to comeÃ¢â‚¬Â. said Jim.
After two of eight rounds Eddie AbelnicaÃ‚Â leads the Pro Masters series on 294 points from Greg Crick on 283 and Jim Richards on 269 with the next round at Winton on May 15-17.
Jim will fly back to Tasmania on Easter Sunday night to commence three days of reconnaissance for the six day Targa Tasmania which commences on Monday April 27.
Apart from Shannons Jim is also supported by Porsche Adrenalin and Leatherman multi purpose tools.
By Barry Oliver.