Special Guest Jim Richards
Guest speaker, Jim Richards, drew a record attendance of 118 members and guests to our Club dinner meeting last month. He entertained us with anecdotes of his early days developing his car racing skills in New Zealand and later in Australia.
By the time he was ten, Jim was Go Kart racing, and by the age of fourteen, competing in events against his father. Before long he was moving on to racing quite an array of different cars developing his racing skills and a winning reputation.
Some of the cars he raced in New Zealand included: Austin 7, Morris Marina, Escort RS and then through a series of Monaros, Ford Falcon GTs, Mustangs and Chargers.
Jim’s racing career started on a shoestring budget, just like many other drivers who are passionate about their cars and racing. Prize money was low ($225) for his first championship and payment of appearance money didn’t come about until much later in Australia.
A sponsorship deal with Sidchrome enabled Jim to further his racing career in Australia by providing funds to ship his successful New Zealand-raced Mustang to a meeting at Sandown. This was an immediately successful transition with Jim winning both feature races. After that, Jim’s racing career in Australia never looked back. He built a reputation as being a masterful driver in all conditions, especially on wet tracks, and in all types of cars. Jim’s Australian racing achievements include being part of seven Bathurst wins, Touring Car Champion, countless Targa Tasmania wins and many other major events along the way.
Jim’s talk was both informative and entertaining providing many insights of his experiences of racing both in Australia and New Zealand. Unfortunately Jim was not able to bring to the meeting his Porsche Cayman S which he had used to compete in the most recent Targa Tasmania, due to an off-road mishap (which goes to show even the best drivers can have an off day). On the up side, Mike Whitford brought along his newly acquired 1985 BMW 635 CSI, the same model that Jim raced under the JPS livery. This provided an excellent backdrop for Jim’s presentation.
The night was completed with Jim autographing posters of his latest Shannons’ Team race cars.
Words and pictures by Phil Barnard and Malcolm Irwin
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