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HomeNewsBathurst‘Elephant in the room’ amid early Bathurst chaos

‘Elephant in the room’ amid early Bathurst chaos

Brad Jones described the practice of starting co-drivers in the Repco Bathurst 1000 as an ‘elephant in the room’ following a chaotic beginning to the 2022 race.

The 161-lap endurance event was just seconds old when mayhem unfolded on Mountain Straight, which appeared to be triggered by standing water on the right-side of the circuit.

LIVE UPDATES: 2022 Repco Bathurst 1000 as it happens

Jack Perkins and Jamie Whincup were among those sent spinning in the chaos, while Zak Best crashed Tickford’s Castrol Mustang taking avoiding action.

Perkins and Whincup were able to rejoin while others including Jake Kostecki, Mark Winterbottom and Jaxon Evans also took damage but continued.

Worse was to follow upon the restart as Zane Goddard speared off while attempting to pass Greg Murphy at The Chase.

Driving James Courtney’s Mustang, Goddard rejoined the circuit out of control and careened into Dale Wood (aboard Andre Heimgartner’s Holden).

David Reynolds’ co-driver Matt Campbell was left with nowhere to go and also joined the major accident, from which all three drivers walked away.

Heimgartner was among those to slam the early driving standards in the immediate aftermath.

“It’s like these people don’t realise it’s 161 laps and they’re driving like absolute losers,” he said.

“Hopefully they get their shit together and we don’t have more Safety Cars and ruin more cars.

“Tickford, us, everyone puts in so much effort and for everyone to take everyone out like that, especially that last one is pretty wild…. we’re only on lap bloody four.”

Team boss Jones watched on in disbelief as the incident unfolded.

“(Andre is) probably taking it better than me to be honest. I mean, what can you say? We’ve had two Safety Cars in the first seven laps,” he said.

“I guess the elephant in the room is starting co’s (co-drivers).

“It’s a 161-lap race, it goes for six and half hours or something. I just don’t know what’s going on.

“This is a very, very long race and to win it you have got to be there at the end so some of the stuff that is going on at the moment is just I think a bit unnecessary.”

Nineteen of the 28 cars started with co-drivers aboard, as it’s commonly thought of as the overall fastest race strategy.

However, the practice comes with risk, especially in the current era where there is no warm-up endurance event before Bathurst.

Wood is one of the most experienced co-drivers and, consoled by wife Jess, was shown back in the BJR garage in tears after the accident.

“This whole build-up is all about this one moment, about going racing,” said Wood.

“I felt like we had a very good opportunity with this team, the people I’m with, it’s all awesome and for it to be over so soon is gutting.

“This is what you work towards all year and for it to be over so soon I’m absolutely spewing.”

Courtney admitted that his co-driver Goddard was “maybe just a little bit too eager too early”.

“It’s pretty disappointing, we’ve all worked really, really hard,” Courtney added.

“Tickford, we’ve been involved in everything in the start of the race here with three cars. Thankfully we have still got one going, and the Kostecki boys.

“It’s a little bit disappointing. I’m sure Zane didn’t mean any of that but it’s the way it goes sometimes.”

Goddard was later seen in the BJR garage apologising to Wood.

Reynolds meanwhile partially blamed himself for qualifying poorly, which meant co-driver Campbell started down the order.

“I don’t think Matt saw it coming. There’s no fault on his behalf whatsoever, it’s just a bit silly,” he said.

“I kind of half blame myself from qualifying for putting him so far back. I know our car is probably fast enough to be up the front.

“I feel really bad for our crew and our sponsors and our team because we had two fast cars today and we should be up the front.”

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