LONG before taking up the mantle as the chief of Erebus Motorsport, Barry Ryan was a mechanic and engineer at Kmart Racing during one of the most controversial incidents in Bathurst 1000 history.
Greg Murphy and Todd Kelly were given a five-minute penalty after an incident during a pit stop when the former drove away with the fuel hose still connected, resulting in a large fuel spill in the lane.
Ryan is the guest on this week’s episode of the V8 Sleuth Podcast powered by Repco, and he was the race engineer for the #51 Holden for that race, joined by Erik Pender in a data engineer role as the team put all its heavy-hitters on its lead entry.
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Ryan explained that the mistake came from a break down in a new process the team had started using to shave time off their pit stops.
“I know exactly how it happened and why it happened,” Ryan told the V8 Sleuth Podcast.
“At some point during the weekend we decided we were going to drop the car while the fuel was still going in so it flows better – because the car’s lower – and the driver’s not going to drive off.
“Our process was that the car controller – which was me at the time – was not going to stand in front of the car and waste time when the car was ready to go, we stood to the side so that as soon as the car was ready to go, it went.
“Unfortunately, the car got dropped and the driver drove off…
“It was just a communication thing where, in hindsight, we should’ve left the car controller standing in front of the car instead of just being on the radio; by the time you’ve tagged the radio and said ‘stop’, the fuel (hose) is ripped out of the car.
“It was a shit situation and we didn’t manage it with enough safety factor involved. History shows that we probably lost that race because the car was really fast that day.”
Listen to the full episode in the player below:
The story is just one of many Ryan tells in the first of a two-part episode covering his career to date in motorsport, including how he was just a few days old when he was taken to his first race, going racing himself on two wheels, getting into V8 Supercars as a mechanic at John Faulkner Racing – and how he dealt with his wedding clashing with his first Bathurst 1000!
Ryan also talks about doing a series of two-year stints at various top teams before finding a home at Perkins Engineering, and how he came to arrive at Erebus Motorsport.