Photo: Kelly Racing

Dale Wood rejoins Rick Kelly for Bathurst assault

Rick Kelly will have a familiar face alongside him when the Kelly Racing team takes to Mount Panorama for this year’s Bathurst 1000, hiring the services of former Super2 champion Dale Wood again to partner the two-time Great Race winner.

After being one of the founding members of Kelly Racing back in 2009, Wood rejoined the squad last year as Kelly’s co-driver for the Enduro Cup races, the pairing scoring a best finish of eighth in the Bathurst 1000.

With high levels of uncertainty throughout the year and a move to the Ford Mustang for 2020 after the Nissan Altima program ended, Kelly said it made sense to enlist the services of Wood again to take on the season ending race.

“It’s great to have Dale onboard the Castrol Racing Supercar once again this year,” Kelly said.

“He was an extremely valuable asset to us last year and it was a lot of fun having him around too so it’s great that we’ve been able to secure him once again to race in the Bathurst 1000.

“Myself and Dale are good mates away from racing so last year we didn’t quite know how we’d work together in a racing sense but it turned out really well, his match fitness and engineering understanding were outstanding, he was able to actually provide a lot of feedback on the setup during his practice sessions which was a big advantage and in a lot of those sessions he was the quickest co-driver out there.”

“So no doubt he’s one of the best guys out there for this job and with the Castrol Mustang this year I think we’ll be even quicker as a team and hopefully have some good results.”

Though Victorian based Wood is still in lockdown, he reckons that the experienced drivers around the Mountain will shine more this year given the lack of preparation.

“Us guys from Victoria have been sitting around for a long time now not being able to do our sport so for us we’re chomping at the bit to get to Bathurst,” Wood said.

“It’ll be different how that looks with preparation leading into the event, in the past we’ve spent three days at the workshop practicing pit stops and driver changes and all of that stuff for Bathurst, plus the co-driver sessions at the lead up events, this time we’ll be spending a couple of weeks in hotel rooms.

“It’s going to build some extra excitement leading into Bathurst because we just haven’t been able to do the sport that we love doing.

“It’s first world problems but it’s the sport we love and we haven’t been able to do much of it this year so I can’t wait to get there and be back in a garage with my mates racing cars.

“There’s a bunch of us that are pretty fortunate that we’re now very experienced at Bathurst, I feel like the time out of racing won’t be an issue at all.

“The biggest challenge for me will just be getting to terms with the Mustang, I was comfortable in the car last year, so there will be a small adjustment to that, but the main thing will be not getting to do our usual build-up of preparation.

“For me at the moment there’s no better combination than being back racing with my best mate at Bathurst, that’s going to be pretty cool.”

This year’s Bathurst will run a week later, starting on Thursday the 15th of October with the 1000km classic occuring on the 18th.