Wow, what a season it’s been. I think we all agree that this year has been like no other, and the Supercars Championship has been no exception.
After the Adelaide 500 in late February, our season was thrown into a spin due to COVID-19 lockdowns and border restrictions. It wasn’t until the end of July that we were able to go racing for real again. I took my dog Nelson with me on the road, and at the time little did we know that we would not return to Melbourne for over 3 months!
The series resumed at Sydney Motorsport Park with a shorter, no refuelling, sprint race format. I qualified in 6th and due to some great strategy work from the team, won my first race of the year. It was awesome to claim that winner’s trophy, but also bittersweet because team owner Brad Jones wasn’t able to attend the event in person. We made up for that with a celebration back in the BJR workshop in Albury though!
In the following round, again at SMP, we proved that our pace wasn’t a fluke and won another race. It was a huge boost of confidence to all the guys and girls in the team and we went into the Darwin event full of momentum. Unfortunately, in the first race at Hidden Valley Raceway I was involved in someone else’s accident, which set us back for the rest of the weekend.
In the second of back to back Darwin events I qualified inside the top ten for all three races and grabbed a second-place finish: my third podium for the season. Nelson and I then drove from Darwin to Townsville during the week, in time for another two weekends of racing.
At the first Townsville SuperSprint I qualified inside the top ten for all three races and twice narrowly missed the podium. The only disappointment was having an engine failure on Saturday but despite that I was happy with a good haul of points and moved up to 6th in the Driver’s Championship.
The second Townsville event was a real highlight for Brad Jones Racing. On Sunday I qualified on pole position for Race 23 and backed it up with a BJR front row lockout alongside teammate Todd Hazelwood for Race 24.
The series then headed to The Bend Motorsport Park in South Australia for another two weekends. After many weeks of living in motel rooms, it was nice to spend some time with my parents in Adelaide around the events, and I think Nelson enjoyed being spoilt by his grandparents as well!
As a team we definitely didn’t get the results we should have in SA. My R&J Batteries Commodore was definitely fast, but it just didn’t hang on to its tyres during the races and I think a couple of podiums went begging because of that.
Then it was on to the Great Race… the Bathurst 1000, which also doubled as the championship finale. My co-driver Tom Randle and I qualified strongly, but things just didn’t go our way. We battled steering power issues all day and ended up 18th. Definitely not a true reflection of our potential, as I DID clock the fastest ever lap of Mount Panorama in a BJR car in the team’s history.
Although my race didn’t go as hoped, as a team we defended our title in the Pirtek Pitstop Challenge and won for a second year running! It was such a great reward for all the team members who sacrificed so much to keep us on the road (and competitive) all year.
I want to thank everyone for the amazing support and partnership in what has been an unprecedented year. No-one could have anticipated how the sporting landscape would change so quickly. It’s a testament to Supercars, and every team member and sponsor, that kept the series alive.
I’m going to spend quality time with my family and friends over the festive season, and I’m looking forward to attacking next season with renewed enthusiasm and focus. Here’s to bigger and better things next year! I’m excited for you to join me on the ride in 2021!
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