The long road to Bathurst 1000 for Jack and Tickford Racing
Oct. 21, 2020
An unusual end to the year for Supercars with the final race being the Bathurst 1000. The 23 corner 6.2 Km racetrack is the jewel in the Supercars racing crown and the biggest race of the year, and with the championship already won by Scott McLaughlin, there were only the bragging rights of winning the big race on the line, something that Tickford was desperate to do. The No.55 Tickford Mus-tang supported by Bendix would be co-driven by Jack and his experienced co-driver James Moffat who hadn’t had any running in 2020 due to the revised Supercar calendar. Both Drivers gave us their thoughts before the weekend.
Jack Le Brocq: “It’s a weird one, being thelast round of the year at Bathurst. I suppose it’s happened before, but it’s weird for us, and at the same time it’s exciting to end on such a big event. You can go out on a high or easily go out on the other end of it. Hopefully, we have a good run; it’s good to have Moff in the Supercheap Auto car with me, we’re just going through the processes and getting everything ready. We’ve been coming on strong the last couple rounds, so fingers crossed we have a good weekend, it’d be awesome to have a solid run for Super-cheap Auto in their final year sponsoring the event. After 16 years supporting the race, it’d be nice to repay them and also repay the guys and girls who have been on the road for over 100 days with a good result to end the year.”
James Moffat “After the year it’s been I’m definitely looking forward to getting back to Bathurst. Obviously, I haven’t driven a Supercar since February, and I actually drove a different car then, so there’s a bit of learning to do, but we should get things sorted pretty easily. Jack’s had a good run coming into Bathurst, which is really encouraging, and the 55 car has been pretty strong in race trim which is what you need in the ‘1000.’ It’s also pretty special to drive the Supercheap Auto car in the last year they are sponsoring the event, so we’ll try to put a strong car together for the end, and hopefully be right in amongst it.”
Practice kicked off on the Thursday with the No.55 Mustang setting competitive session times; Jack managed his best time in Practice 1 with a 1: 2m05.02s, to put him 9th on the Leaderboard. In Practice 2 for co-drivers, Moffat went out and topped the times with a 2m06.06s. When qualifying arrived, Jack struggled to find the pace required to break into the top 10 shootout, and qualified 15th with a 2m04.91s. LeBrocq reflected after his run “The day was okay, we worked a bit on our race car this morning, just trying to tune it up a bit, and for qualifying, I felt we had a car that could be in the mix for the Shootout.
Unfortunately, we went out for that last run, and the skies opened up at the top of the hill, which was no fun. We’ll start 15th, but the race car feels pretty good, Moff’s driving great, so we’ll keep improving the car tomorrow and look to have a good one on Sunday.
When Sunday came, the team elected to put Moffat in the car for the start of the big race, and with a clean start, Moff moved up two spots and started a solid run which saw the No.55 Mustang sitting 8th by lap 33. Not long after they put Jack in the car and he continued the momentum forward with a clean run moving into 7th position before the next round of stops where he stayed in the car. Moff jumped back in the .55 for the mid-section of the race and at lap 115 was as high as 5th spot before handing back to Jack for the next stint which didn’t last long, on lap 138 Jack had to swap over with Moff again after feeling nauseous due to a helmet fan issue. Moff went on to run on the fringe of the top 10 before fading to 14th spot by the chequered flag.
Post-race jack shared his thoughts, “It’s just a shame,” said Le Brocq. “We were on for a good result there and I don’t know what happened, just called it, had to jump out. We had a few issues with the helmet fan and stuff like that, it wasn’t really working all day. “I don’t know, might just be a little bit soft or prone to the gases. It was quite gassy in there and I felt a bit lightheaded, and that was that really. Moff was doing an awesome job all day and the guys did great with strategy, it was really good,” said Le Brocq. “We were chipping away and we had some really good speed at the end there, so it’s a shame we didn’t get the result we potentially could have had, maybe a top five or top six, who knows.”
At the end of a long and challenging season, Jack finished 15th in the driver’s championship with 1396 points and many good memories including a win and some podiums. For the crew, finally, after three months on the road, the Tickford Racing Team will head home and enjoy some rest time be-fore preparations begin for the 2021 season.