Pole to Race One Win for Bowe in Phillip Island Touring Car Masters
“Side by side for turns one, two, three, four and five, we had a lot of side to side stuff, and it was pretty great I must say. Gavin (Bullas) said he completely burned his tyres trying to catch me, and mine were starting to go too – what a race.”
The Touring Car Master himself, Aussie motorsport legend John Bowe, has captured a closely-fought pole position to race one win at Phillip Island in the midst of tumbling lap records and action-packed historic racing.
Images via Touring Car Masters
Bowe wins in battle of the Mustangs
As the sun finally peaked through the rain clouds of Phillip Island, the battle of the Mustangs heated up off the front row of the grid as reigning series champion Bowe, and dual series champion Bullas, showcased true racing prestige in a repeat of their opening round tussle to go side by side around the island circuit as Bowe came home to take win number three for 2012.
It was a great start off the line from Richards, the Wilson and Treloar Chargers charged into the pack, a close call with the Makarios GTHO, while Nelson went to the pit wall to make his way through on the run down to turn one.
Bowe was away with Abelnica’s XB putting the pressure on as they headed through the sand covered turn three, Youlden wide through the road grime as Kassulke made a charge. PYE, Miedecke and Edwards went through on Richards as they came down the main straight for the first full throttle pass, but for Abelnica, a power steering issue sent him dropping through the field, soon retiring to pit lane.
Series debutant Collins was in a fight of his own with Youlden as they approached the slowing Richards Javelin, and out front Bowe was being hunted by the fellow blue oval of Bullas, as he pushed on to post the fastest lap of the race so far. In a hard luck story, Wilson was off on the turn four escape road, a broken crankshaft putting an end to his weekend potential.
At the head of the pack it was on, Bullas going fastest with a 1:45.6777, joined by Bowe in undercutting the existing series lap record. While the Mustangs were hot on each other at the helm, Richards had dropped through the pack and headed for pit lane, a faulty lock nut meaning he had just 75% accelerator pressure.
Karanfilovski was impressing in ninth as O’Brien muscled the HQ into the top ten ranks. Action aplenty throughout the field, there was a tussle for 21st between the Middleton Camaro and Sparks Porsche, Nelson and Makarios also getting in on the action. Up ahead, Edwards took the Torana under Kassulke for fifth on the hunt for Miedecke. King onboard the Waddington Racing HQ went under Stillwell as ahead Bullas locked up into MG as he took it to Bowe for the lead.
The Showers Escort was into the pits stuck in fourth gear as Richards headed back onto the circuit, the lock nut now fixed and accelerator back to full throttle, proven by his return pace, going under the existing record while Bullas posted the fastest time of the race and the new series lap record with a 1:44.5102. All eyes were on the lead battle with Bullas and Bowe, Bowe and Bullas, side by side corner after corner in an ultimate display of driving skill, precision and racecraft.
Pye was outstanding in third, until Edwards slipped through to claim the position with two laps remaining, while the leaders were approaching the recovering Richards entry. Karanfilovski’s great run had come to an end, an ongoing fuel pressure issue seeing him drop from the ten to rear of field. With two to go, Bowe had secured the lead position as Bullas’ tyres were running thin, driving away to take win number three for the season, Bullas home in second, with Edwards taking third but a jumped start penalty will see the Torana cop a five second penalty heading into Race 2’s reverse grid later this morning.
John Bowe #18 Ford Mustang
“I got a good start, but then bogged down and got going at full noise again. Gavin (Bullas) had some really awesome speed and he reeled me in, then we had a terrific battle, one of the best races I’ve had for a very long time.
“Side by side for turns one, two, three, four and five, we had a lot of side to side stuff, and it was pretty great I must say. Gavin (Bullas) said he completely burned his tyres trying to catch me, and mine were starting to go too- what a race.
“It’s good to win, and great to have had that racing with Gav (Bullas), given that we didn’t touch once and we had many many corners inside, outside, but we gave each other room which is how it should be to have great racing action and good sportsmanship on the track.”
Race 1 results
1 18 John Bowe
2 16 Gavin Bullas 1:44.5102R
3 15 Bill Pye
4 95 Andrew Miedecke
5 56 Brett Youlden
6 9 Tony Edwards
7 52 Keith Kassulke
8 11 Chris Collins
9 34 Mark King
10 10 Tony Hunter
Bowe takes pole at the Island
Reigning series champion and round one winner, John Bowe has secured his second consecutive pole of the season, blowing away the field as the Masters returned to Phillip Island after a four year absence.
A weekend of interchangeable weather conditions had many across the field erring on the side of caution, waiting and juggling the conditions to finalise a wet or dry setup, with tyre choice a last minute decision as the vehicles rolled out of the garages.
With the rain mostly cleared, the Touring Car Masters field took to the circuit for a 20 minute qualifier, Middleton going straight onto a hot lap before his tyres went away, before the usual suspects took control at the top, changing faces on pole including Richards and Bullas before Bowe jumped to the head with a lap three flyer, a 1:45.6455 closing in on his own 2008 pole time.
Pit lane became the place to be mid-session as the track dried and teams frantically changed wets for slicks, looking to take seconds from their times and move up the order for the day of racing ahead. Karanfilovski was in looking at fuel pressure once more, O’Brien and Mason made the tyre swap then hit the tarmac, O’Brien taking some 14 seconds from his earlier time.
As Richards powered past the Makarios Falcon on the main straight, Kassulke was taking the squeeze to get out of his pits and make the most of the remaining minutes, and it was Bowe crossing the line with a 1:44.9562, a time that would soon see him take the top spot for race one, while series debutant Collins impressed to secure a top ten qualifier in his first outing in the famed XA Falcon. As King headed for the garage in the closing minutes, Richards, Kassulke and Miedecke were punching out the laps, while Bowe looked to go faster again.
Bowe’s 1:44.95 had been enough to secure pole, not only his second for season 2012, but a consecutive pole sitter with the Masters at the Phillip Island circuit. Underwhelmed with the result, knowing the conditions and the capability of his Mustang, Bowe explained the session,
“We’ve all been indecisive about what tyres to put on and what setup to run with because it’s been damp and then dry, and again the weather today has been very changeable so at the last minute we decided to put slicks on, but the car had a wet setup so wasn’t ideal.
“I’m sure if it was a dry day quite a lot of cars would have done 1:42’s but as it is it wasn’t too bad – I’m just surprised that the other guys weren’t quicker than me to be honest because the car wasn’t really behaving that well.
“I think it will be an interesting race weekend. It’s unlike most places we race, it’s got very high offload corners, it’s always inclement and keeping you on your toes so what it throws up is anyone’s race really. Always good to get the front row start, but keep an eye on this weekend – there might be surprises.”
The Touring Car Masters is proudly supported by Shannons Insurance, Rare Spares, Unique Cars Magazine and the 2012 Australian Muscle Car Masters, with official suppliers Hoosier Tires and Australian Sports Marketing.