WHILE most of the plaudits in the aftermath of Sunday’s Bathurst 1000 were understandably directed to Jamie Whincup after his fourth win in the race and co-driver Paul Dumbrell, there was another driver stealing some of the limelight.
Going into the event, virtually no-one gave Bottle-O Ford Performance Racing duo David Reynolds and Dean Canto a chance of figuring in the finish even after an impressive qualifying display that saw them start from eighth on the grid.
In 37 previous races Reynolds had never found his way on to the podium in the V8 Supercars championship but for half an hour as the race drew to a climax on Sunday, he was stalking Whincup like a Mountain veteran.
As Whincup tried to conserve fuel in order to simply finish, Reynolds initially had to battle with James Courtney - flying with 20 laps to race - before passing the Holden Racing Team driver to set up his run at Whincup.
It looked on occasion as though it was just a matter of time until he launched a potentially winning manoeuvre but the opportunity didn’t present itself.
The 28-year-old Reynolds spoke after finishing less than half a second behind Whincup of what the result meant to him.
“This could be life-changing. If I won, it definitely would be life-changing but I wasn’t brave enough on the last lap,” he said.
“I was brave, but not... brave enough.
“It’s [the result] is not just for me, it’s for Dean as well. I said if I wanted to get on the podium at Bathurst I wanted to make it a good one. Second at Bathurst is not too bad.”
As fate would have it the experienced co-driver Canto didn’t get much of a chance to race flat-out, as much of his time in the vehicle coincided with the safety car’s intervention.
He was still understandably delighted afterwards and said despite the exciting nature of the finish, he wasn’t especially worried about the possibility of Reynolds crashing in pursuit of victory.
“I had every faith in Dave, I knew what the car was capable of,” Canto said.
“My job was done so I was just sitting there and hoping for the best.
“My day was pretty cruisey, the way the safety cars fell, I didn’t do too many laps, I think I only did the bare minimum.”
Reynolds endeared himself to his rivals and the media in the aftermath of the race, constantly joking through the post-race press conference and showing why he is well-liked amongst the Supercar fraternity.
“I said if I win I’ll go naked on the podium, but we came second, so...,” he said.
“I thought in those last few laps that I’d probably take him [Whincup] out and make myself look like a d***head.
As Whincup tried to address media about his fourth Bathurst win, Reynolds was still chirping away in his ear about their battle on the track before the winner laughingly requested some quiet.
“Shut up will you?” Whincup said.
Even when Whincup was asked what he was thinking about in the last 10 laps as Reynolds pushed him, the Ford driver managed to have a say.
“This is your chance to make me feel good,” he advised Whincup.