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> Rest In Peace V8 Supercar Driver Jason Richards
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post Dec 16 2011, 02:25 PM
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Jason Richards, 1976-2011

THE V8 Supercar community is in deep mourning with the tragic passing of popular driver Jason Richards.



The New Zealander passed away peacefully last night at 8.00pm after a brave battle with Adreno Cortical Carcinoma (ACC), with which he was first diagnosed in November last year.

A native of Nelson in New Zealand but a resident of Melbourne for the last six years, Richards is survived by wife Charlotte and young daughters Sienna and Olivia.

Bright, enthusiastic and popular among fellow drivers and fans alike, the inspirational racer’s illness galvanized the V8 Supercar paddock over the last 12 months as it rallied to support one of its truly good guys.

The fact that rival teams, drivers and manufacturers came together to help him in whatever way possible showed exactly the sort of standing he was held in by the Australasian racing community.

A part of the V8 Supercars Championship for the last decade, Richards tackled his illness with the same vigour he had approached 131 event starts since 2000 in the toughest championship in this part of the world.

His ability to extract maximum speed over one flying lap made him a favourite to watch among his fellow drivers – many of whom had nicknamed him ‘Racin’ Jason’ - but it was his classy, courageous and quite public battle with cancer that topped all of his achievements on track.

His passion for life, love of his young family, love of the sport he was so engrossed in and his positive attitude and determination in the face of adversity made him an inspiration to all.

Richards started 131 V8 Supercars Championship events and 284 individual races after making his debut with Team Kiwi Racing at Bathurst in 2000.

He also made 10 non-championship event starts in this time at the Australian F1 Grand Prix support events at Albert Park, the last coming this year as he returned for a one-off appearance.

He drove for the ‘All-Black’ Team Kiwi squad for three years when it first came into V8 Supercars in 2000 before joining the brand-new Team Dynamik in 2003 in Adelaide.

He moved to Sydney to drive for Tasman Motorsport in 2004 (moving to Melbourne along with the squad a year later) and spent five years with the team before finding a happy home with Albury-based Brad Jones Racing and Team BOC from 2009 onwards.

Diagnosed with the rare form of cancer in November last year, Richards stepped out of his full-time drive after the Symmons Plains event to focus his energies on fighting his illness.

Despite not making a V8 Supercars Championship race start this year, Richards took part in a range of co-driver practice sessions earlier in the year and tested the #8 Team BOC Commodore in between treatments.

He won an emotional race in a one-off appearance in the Fujitsu V8 Supercar Series in Adelaide driving one of his old Tasman Commodores for Greg Murphy Racing and also drove a Ferrari in the Australian GT Championship on the same weekend.

He made his last trip to Mount Panorama in October, driving an HQ Monaro in the popular Touring Car Masters category. A runner-up result on Sunday morning before The Great Race to Glenn Seton was met with universal acclaim up and down pit lane.

His last race appearance in a V8 Supercar came at this year’s non-championship Albert Park 400, where a gutsy Richards qualified a brilliant fifth and claimed a brilliant second place in Race 2 after leading early.

It was simply a day that those present won’t soon forget.

A three-time Bathurst 1000 runner-up (with Jamie Whincup in 2005, Greg Murphy in 2008 and Cameron McConville in 2009), Richards made 13 starts in Australia’s most famous race, the first in a BMW 320i in 1997.

His only V8 Supercars Championship race win came at Winton in 2006, though he stood on the podium on six occasions, the last at Phillip Island’s L&H 500 last year when he finished third with Andrew Jones.

His single pole position came at Darwin’s Hidden Valley Raceway in 2009 – the pole also the first for Brad Jones Racing in the V8 Supercars Championship.

Richards was a long-time Telstra ambassador and BigPond Sport and V8 Supercars pass on our deep and heartfelt condolences to Jason’s family, friends and fans.

We have all lost a great friend.

A memorial service to honour Jason and his career will be held at Sandown in the coming weeks.

Brad Jones Racing and Team BOC will have a special Jason Richards website operational:
http://jasonrichards.bradjonesracing.com.au



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