THE Bathurst 1000-winning partnership of Craig Lowndes and Steve Richards is one not only comprised of excellent driving skill but a great friendship.
Carrying the Peter Brock Trophy into Sunday’s post-race press conference, the pair were quick to trade banter with the gathered journalists about their ‘old age’ and getting one over the younger guys.
Richards joked he may celebrate with “a few shandys at the bowls club”.
The pair are two of the most popular drivers on the Supercars grid, and with their sense of humour coupled with their reliability on the race track it’s not hard to see why.
Lowndes and Richards previously teamed up to win the race with the Triple Eight Racing garage in 2012.
Their consistency across the six hours of racing on Sunday took them to another victory together.
They now share a dozen Bathurst 1000 victories between themselves, Lowndes boasting seven and Richards with five.
“Richo and I are great mates off track and we grew up in the same area racing against each other in the same categories,” Lowndes said.
“To be able to have two victories in the five years that we’ve been together is amazing.”
Lowndes carried a 10 second gap over runner-up Scott Pye during the final stint, with the eventual margin coming back to six seconds at the finish line.
However, the winning driver was quick to point out that you can never afford to relax at Mount Panorama.
“I actually started smelling rubber with about two laps to go and I was thinking ‘Is that coming from my car?’ but it was from Tim Slade’s,” Lowndes said.
“Our car wasn’t vibrating or doing anything but we realised it wasn’t our car. All those sorts of things run through your mind over those final laps.”
The win was slated by Lowndes as his second best Bathurst triumph, who won on the weekend in his last race as a full-time Supercars driver.
Lowndes will always have his 2006 win alongside Jamie Whincup as his favourite. It was the first to feature the Peter Brock Trophy after the iconic racer’s death.
For Richards? He was ready to put 2018 on the top of his list.
“Naturally this one ranks up there unbelievable highly because of the situation with old mate here, who’s going back to doing some co-driving next year,” he said.
“With each win you’re closer to your last one so you’ve got to appreciate it. Any chance you get to stand on the podium at Bathurst is great. It’s the biggest accolade you can have in our sport.
“It’s still the only race I get really nervous for every year … because our whole industry has been built up from this race.”