In an unprecedented show of support, Australian and New Zealand V8 Supercar drivers have rallied together to launch a major public fundraising campaign in aid of their cancer suffering mate and fellow competitor, Jason Richards.
The drivers made the announcement in a moving media conference in Hamilton this morning, before racing takes place on the city's street circuit this weekend.
“We might be fierce competitors out on the track but, off the track, we are a bunch of like-minded, community driven people who really care for our own,” said Kiwi champion Greg Murphy, who came up with the idea in conjunction with fellow drivers Garth Tander and Paul Dumbrell, “Jason Richards is a mate to each and every one of us here in pit-lane and, as usual, he's going at a million miles an hour – this time to beat cancer. GT, PD and myself wanted to create something that every driver in pit-lane could get involved in and we came up with bid4jase.com
The concept is an auction website that is selling a wide range of personal, household, sporting and motorsport items donated by the drivers, teams and their wider networks of sponsors, media and supporters. People anywhere in the world can bid for items on the site with net sale proceeds going directly to support Richards' treatment and other costs while he is away from the V8 circuit.
The auction launched today [Friday 15 April] with approximately 75 donated items being offered for initial sale, including a Holden Cruze Series II donated by GM Holden. An additional 200 donated items will be added for sale across the next month, and Murphy said he is expecting the list of items to grow very quickly now the project has been launched.
“We have been thrilled with the number of people and organisations who have come forward to donate items for the auction," the Kiwi said, "Now that bid4jase.com
is launched, we urge anyone that would like to help Jase to either donate an item to sell or more importantly visit the website and buy something – there's something there for everyone.”
branding and promotion will be everywhere this weekend, with car branding, track signage, on track and TV commentary mentions plus other supporting activities coming from Hamilton.
“I'm so overwhelmed by the support of the guys and what bid4jase.com
might achieve," Richards admitted, "The public support at Clipsal and the AGP was so incredible and it's made me more determined than ever to beat the cancer and get myself back racing full time. Thanks to absolutely everyone for their support.”
Tander conceded that 'it's situations like this that make you stop and appreciate what's really important in life', confirming that he 'wanted to find a way to really make a difference', while co-founder Dumbrell confirmed that it was 'logical' for the drivers to take the usual request for autographs and pictures 'to another level of support to make a difference for JR and his family'.