Dubbo’s promising young driver Tyler Everingham said he was thrilled to be part of the Bathurst 6 hour despite his car retiring halfway through the race after his teammate made contact with a wall.
The 16-year-old drove a Renault Megane with veteran driver Bob Hughes for the Osborne Motorsport team.
The duo qualified in 41st place, a good result in a packed grid of 64 cars. Everingham was given the keys and the opportunity to start.
He dealt with the rolling start well and after an hour of the race, had worked his way up to 36th place and was in a battle for position with several cars.
After an hour and a half he pulled into pits to hand over to Hughes, having done an outstanding job.
He was ready to jump back into the car at the three-hour mark but Hughes found himself travelling through the Esses backwards and crunched the rear of the car into the wall.
The crew tried to get it fixed but the damage was too great. They had completed 49 laps and were just shy of the halfway point when the incident happened.
While undoubtedly disappointed not to finish the race, Everingham chose to look at the positives.
“What an experience,” he wrote on Facebook.
“Got to start the race, rolling start with 64 cars on the grid and completed the first 1.5 hour stint in the race. Unfortunately on the 3 hour mark and just before next driver changeover the car sustained damage.
“The team did their best to try and get the car back out there but unfortunately damage was too severe. Main thing is that Bob is okay.
“Definitely looking forward to more racing and hopefully getting to race on this great track again.”
Luke Searle, Barry Graham and Paul Morris took out the overall 6 Hour victory, crossing the line almost 10 seconds ahead of defending winners Chaz Mostert and Nathan Morcom.
Searle was able to overtake Mostert with less than four minutes to go when Mostert had problems with his gearbox.
“Chaz was driving the wheels off it. We were driving the wheels off it. The lap times we were punching out there were in the [two minute] 25s,” Searle said of the closing stages.
“I just had to get him and I really wanted to get Paul the ‘triple’. We did it and I’m stoked.”
Searle couldn’t believe that the opportunity to pass Mostert presented itself so easily.
“I went up the inside of him and I started looking around for yellow flags because it was too easy,” he said.
“I didn’t know if it was going to be a legal pass.
“Paul was phenomenal in the middle stint. It’s a privilege to do it with him.
“To win at Bathurst is the pinnacle of anyone’s career, whether it be this or another Bathurst race. Bathurst is just phenomenal. When you’ve done a lap like we’ve done at the end there you know what it’s all about.”
Morris was thrilled to be the first person to claim a Bathurst endurance ‘triple crown’ and had plenty of praise for Searle’s driving stint.