Johnson takes Tassie as Bowe wins at home
STEVEN JOHNSON ultimately claimed the major victory in the opening round of the Gulf Western Oil Touring Car Masters Series – but the big story on Sunday was John Bowe.
Starting from the back of the field following an overnight engine change, Bowe worked his way through the field in Race 2 to finish third behind Johnson and Ryan Hansford – but then went even better in race 3.
Setting out after his old friend and rival, Bowe battled with Johnson in the closing stages of the finale’ – before completing the fairy tale by slipping past Johnson’s Mustang with two laps to go – ultimately claiming the race victory to complete the comeback.
It was Bowe’s 105th TCM race victory, while Johnson’s pair of race wins this season take his tally to 56.
It was the perfect end to an otherwise challenging opening round of his ‘ciao for now’ tour as he celebrated in front of friends and family – including his 91-year-old Father.
Johnson’s pair of earlier race wins ensure he claimed the round victory, the 20th of his TCM career, and the early championship lead as the field heads to Newcastle.
It was also the 31st podium finish of Johnson’s TCM career, equalling the great Jim Richards’.
Danny Buzadzic completed a superb weekend aboard his Western General Torana by finishing third outright in the final race.
Buzadzic also won the Pro-Am class while Cameron Tilley finished second in a quiet weekend aboard his Valiant Pacer.
Ryan Hansford was fourth in the race but second overall for the weekend, despite a challenging event that saw his Torana down on straight line speed after braking his original diff early in the weekend.
Marcus Zukanovic was third in the Pro-Masters class – John Bowe’s race one non-finish cost him points – as he completed his comeback from injury with a solid, trouble-free weekend aboard his XD Falcon.
A quick turnaround between events will see the Gulf Western Oil Touring Car Masters series get back on track in just two weeks time, with the field to tackle four races at the Thrifty Newcastle 500 between March 10-12.