V8 Supercar racer Jason Richards has passed away after a 14-month fight against a rare form of cancer. He was 35. Richards died at his home in Melbourne last night with his family by his side. He is survived by his wife, Charlotte, and two daughters, Sienna and Olivia.
During his fight with cancer, Richards told News Limited he was enjoying racing more than ever.
“At the moment, cancer is a big part of my life. But when I jump in the racecar I feel cancer-free,” Richards told the Herald Sun in May. I’m so busy I don’t have the capacity to be thinking about cancer. I don’t feel sorry for myself. I get so much enjoyment out of it.
“I’m actually enjoying my racing more now than when it was fulltime. I’m doing it purely for fun, for my own emotional reasons,” he said.
“I’m sucking the fun out of it. I’m just happy to be feeling like a normal heathy 35-year-old with two lovely kids and a great wife … For me, my clarity is racing a car. It’s so refreshing. If I can inspire people who have what’s happening for me, that’s a real positive.”
V8 SuperCars boss Tony Cochrane paid tribute to Richards’ courage.
“Jason Richards was, and will always be remembered, as a highly respected race car driver and champion on and off the race track. Jason will be remembered for his great grin and his love and loyalty to his family. Both of which made him an immensely admired figure in pit lane,” Cochrane said in a statement.
“There was not a single person in Australian sport, or indeed Australia and his native New Zealand, who did not admire his enormous courage as he battled the last 14 months and his determination to fight in every way he could. He will be dearly missed by all in the V8 Supercar family, but in particular, everybody associated with Brad Jones Racing.”
Family Statement on Jason Richards:
Champion V8 Supercar driver Jason Richards passed away peacefully at home with his wife, Charlotte by his side at 8.00pm last night (Thursday, 15 December 2011).
He was just 35 years old.
Jason’s family is appreciative of the many thousands of people who have offered their love and support during his battle with illness over the past 14 months.
A memorial service to honour Jason and his career will be held at Sandown in the coming weeks.
The family requests that their privacy be respected during their time of grief.
In the competitive world of V8 Supercars Jason was a rare breed – a driver that could tread the fine line between rivalry and friendship. He was never secretive, selfish or bad-tempered and had endless enthusiasm and energy for his job and team.
The history books will not do him justice. Given the right equipment JR was easily a front-runner but chose team loyalty over personal gain, determined to work with his crew to reach the front of the grid together.
Through the highs and lows of racing, JR’s uplifting presence and casual, self-effacing wit were unwavering and his effect he had on team morale is irreplaceable.
He will forever be a member of the Jones family and this is a tragic day in the team’s history.
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