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HomeNewsSteve Richards reveals eye-opening lap with Jim

Steve Richards reveals eye-opening lap with Jim

LIKE many sons of famous fathers, Steve Richards grew up largely unable to appreciate the achievements and raw driving ability of his father, Jim.

While his understanding slowly grew as he progressed to adulthood, it was the chance to do a passenger lap alongside his dad at Oran Park in 1994 where it really clicked.

Steve, who went on to win five Bathurst 1000s in his own right, revealed the unique moment in the new book, ‘Gentleman Jim: The official racing history of Jim Richards’.

The lap around the challenging circuit aboard the Gibson Motorsport Holden was so eye-opening that it made Steve question his own chances of succeeding in the sport.

“I was 22 and had just won the Australian Formula Ford Championship, so Fred Gibson suggested I hop in to get a bit of an idea of what the touring cars were like,” explained Steve.

“I’d never been for a ride in one of Dad’s race cars before and thought it would be a cool experience.

“From the moment we took off there was a lot going on. Dad had the car sideways in the corners and wheel-spinning on the exit while hooking gears.

“It was aggressive and rough, the total opposite to the Formula Ford, where you had to be precise and smooth to carry the corner speed.

Jim competing in the Oran Park ATCC round in 1994. Pic: an1images.com / Graeme Neander

“I got out of the car and thought ‘that’s crazy, I will never be able to drive a car the way he just drove that lap. If that’s what you have to do to get results, I may as well hang it up now’.

“Of course, once you get in and work it out for yourself it’s not that bad, but at the time it half shattered me.”

Just over a year later Steve made his V8 touring car debut in the second Gibson entry at Bathurst alongside Swede Anders Olofsson.

He then graduated to a full-time drive with Garry Rogers Motorsport in 1996 and made the first of three Bathurst 1000 starts with Jim as his co-driver.

Steve and Jim Richards at the 1997 Primus 1000 Classic. Pic: an1images.com / Graeme Neander

They remain the only father-son driver combination to record an outright Bathurst 1000 podium finish together (1997) and also shared the pole-winning car in 2004.

Steve’s son Clay is now embarking on his own career in the sport, breaking through for a maiden Toyota 86 Racing Series win earlier this year.

MORE: The father-son Bathurst 1000 driver pairings

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