The joker David Reynolds had the last laugh in an extraordinary finish to the Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000 by holding on as the big names imploded around him.
Reynolds and unheralded co-driver Luke Youlden scored a win for the little guys and flamboyant team owner Betty Klimenko in their Penrite Racing Commodore in one of the most bizarre, rain dominated races in history.
The pair led a podium of battlers and millionaires. Mobil 1 HSV Racing’s Scott Pye and Warren Luff were second and new Supercars Championship leader Fabian Coulthard third with his team-mate Tony D’Alberto in the Shell V-Power Falcon.
With more twists and turns than a best-selling suspense novel Reynolds survived a late safety car, multiple leaders, sheer madness and ultimate chaos.
“I have got nothing left to give, I am absolutely spent,” Reynolds said. “My crew was faultless, it was just a perfect day, so good. I was struggling to hold in the tears the last couple of laps but I thought I had it under control.”
David Reynolds and Luke Youlden of Erebus Motorsport V8 win the , at the , , , October 08, 2017.
A kangaroo and a rock made an appearance during the day, both prompting safety cars and adding to the strategy intrigue unfolding in the damp conditions.
The turning point came at the critical time when the rain stopped and the track began to dry. Some teams made the gamble to go on wets and others stayed on dry tyres.
The last 30 laps then turned into a war of attrition and survival.
The big names fell one by one, and on one corner as a bunch of three.
Scott McLaughlin was the first to go with engine damage, Jamie Whincup with the same, Garth Tander, Chaz Mostert and Cam Waters took each other out and Shane Van Gisbergen fought back from multiple episodes to finally fall with ten laps to go.
That was just a few of the hard luck stories from the day.
Supercars’ first female driver Simona de Silvestro had a tragic tale of her own when running ninth with under 10 laps to go. She was on target to become the first female in the history of the race to finish inside the top ten but spun all on her own at the final corner and slammed into the wall.
Reynolds, who had hung in all day with barely a scratch on his Commodore, emerged from the pack when it mattered. He praised his co-driver and his team who set the scene since his fastest practice lap on Thursday.
“For a bloke who races once a year he’s not bad,” Reynolds said of Youlden.
“We have had this same core team for a while now, I love this sport for working with them and I love my job for working with them. It just makes it so enjoyable.
“I have been wanting to pay them back but we haven’t had a lot of luck so this is now the icing on the cake.”
The jubilation McLaughlin experienced yesterday was over on lap 76, less than half way, with an undiagnosed engine problem after he and co-driver Alex Premat struggled all day.
They nursed an injured car for lap after lap before it eventually gave up. McLaughlin’s team told the young Kiwi star to give it away.
The failure initially had a devastating consequence on his Virgin Australia Supercars Championship lead. It cost him his Championship lead with a swag of points down the drain.
“It’s pretty hard, but we were battling anyway. We were struggling there,” said McLaughlin. “I’m not sure (what happened), they just said that he lost oil pressure. I think we’re pretty done, unfortunately.”
Coulthard has regained the Championship lead by 11 points to Whincup. McLaughlin now sits 97 points behind Coulthard with Mostert in fifth and Van Gisbergen in sixth heading into the Vodafone Gold Coast 600 in a fortnight, the final event of the PIRTEK Enduro Cup.
David Reynolds and Luke Youlden of Erebus Motorsport V8 win the Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000, at the Mount Panorama Circuit, Bathurst, New South Wales, October 08, 2017.