Bowe becomes 2011 Touring Car Masters Champion
What a year of motor sport it has been for Australian racing legend John Bowe, celebrating his 40th year in motor sport in true style, wrapping up the 2011 Touring Car Masters series title on the streets of Sydney Olympic Park.
Coming into the final race weekend of the season, seven rounds completed, Bowe sat at the top of the points score with a seemingly comfortable 61 point lead, the series title his to lose. It had already been a year of outstanding achievements for the iconic racer, with 12 race wins, four round wins, five pole positions, a bank of reverse grid charges to the take chequered flag, setting three lap records (Bowe also holds the record at Winton and Symmons Plains for the series) and having led more competitive race laps than any other competitor this season.
For a true blooded racer, the question was, take it easy and secure the title, or race to the end and put on one more show. Bowe displayed the perfect balance of both over the final three races, never out of the challenge, but never on the verge of a risk, keeping himself and his WesTrac/Wilson Security Racing Mustang ‘Sally’ in the head of the pack battles all weekend long.
Maintaining his consistent season long form, Bowe and his Savy Motorsport crew didn’t miss a beat, the 1969 Mustang treasure right where they needed it to be, and Bowe in the zone, fully aware of what was at stake.
Bowe dominated the opening race, taking the lead from great mate and highly credentialed competitor Seton, never looking back as he drove on home to add another seven laps led to his name, another race win and further valuable points in the buffer for the series title lead. Having serviced his trusty entry in the hours of break that followed, Bowe would line up from tenth for the second race, the reverse grid top ten – a format that has been a rewarding challenge so far this year, but this final time around, was it really worth charging through on the tight Homebush streets. A great start had Bowe into seventh in the opening laps, taking on reigning champion Richards for sixth, but playing it safe, he crossed the line in seventh, not willing to take any risks against his highly skilled title contenders.
The final ten laps of the weekend, became the final nine, with Bowe happy to drive on in third and enjoy a comfortable race as he watched the battle rage between Miedecke and Seton up ahead. As the chequered flag fell on the final race, of the final round, Bowe brought it home in third to settle his account having led 105 of the 236 race laps completed, almost half of the competitive laps banked by the series this season, taking the silverware to become the thoroughly deserved 2011 Touring Car Masters Champion.
John Bowe #18 – TCM Champion/Class C series winner
“It’s good, I’ve never been in it to win the series or any of that stuff but the people who are involved with sponsors and team from Savy Motorsport who prep the car – they’re all very dedicated and this win is for them.
“I love racing in this category and I love racing against Andrew (Miedecke) and Jim (Richards), now with Seton, the Tilley boys and Stack all in the top group – they’re all good, hard racers, but they’re fair so I enjoy that and all the cars are at such a level that to win this championship in possibly the most challenging year yet is just brilliant.
“This is great for my people. Owning the car has been slightly debilitating for what I’m used to and I realise I’ve had a charmed life, but I bought the car from Drew (Marget) who did a terrific job in processing the build of it (Mustang) and here it is four years later, still very competitive.
“I don’t necessarily love this track too much as it’s so hard on the car and when you own it, you feel the creaks and groans, but it’s been a good weekend.
“I’ve raced against Glenn (Seton) since 1985 and he’s very well credentialed, with such a great car that’s fast so I qualified second. I expected him to be up there and we expected to be going strong, I guess I’m lucky he didn’t turn up earlier in the year!
“The weekend here has been a battle, and with what was at stake, I had to take it easier and not take an silly risks and really hurt the championship that was so close so I drove a bit like a Nanna to not have any dramas, then this morning I went as hard as I could.
“It’s been another great year and I’m looking forward to next year’s program – I like the program as the tracks suit our cars more with the way they behave on the big open circuits, so it’ll be another tough year but ‘Sally’ will have a makeover in the off season after maintaining her very sensibly this season.
“Such a big thanks to WesTrac, Wilson Security and all of my sponsors, the team at Savy Motorsport for all their dedicated work to keep the car strong and reliable, the other competitors for what has been a big year for the series, and to all the fans who keep us here doing what we love so that they too can enjoy it.”
2011 Touring Car Masters – final points