After a season long tussle with arch rivals Jim Richards and Andrew Miedecke, Coates Hire ambassador John Bowe has enjoyed another highly successful Touring Car Masters championship, winning five of the eight rounds in his Trans Am Mustang ‘Sally’.
Bowe started the final round at Phillip Island perfectly, qualifying on pole position in atrocious wet conditions to finish almost three seconds faster than his nearest rival Eddie Abelnica. Third fastest was
Brett Youlden, followed by Keith Kassulke, with title rival Andrew Miedecke rounding out the top five. Points leader going into the final round Jim Richards qualified and uncharacteristic 18th.
After dominating the wet qualifying session, race one for the Touring Car Masters was run on a dry track. The combined weight of 1700kgs for John Bowe and his Trans Am Mustang was great news for the Coates Hire ambassador in the wet but a handicap in the dry.
Starting from pole position Bowe was swamped off the line and dropped to third. By mid way through the 10-lap race Bowe's 'success ballast' was proving to be nothing more than a hindrance and he found himself in fifth place. Bowe dropped two more positions by race end to finish seventh. Race one was won by Keith Kassulke (XBGT Falcon) from Eddie Abelnica (XBGT) third was Brett Youlden (Monaro) followed by Andrew Miedecke (Camaro), Greg Crick (Charger) and Bowe (Mustang).
Starting third on the grid for the second race Bowe was once again swamped at the start dropping to fifth, but a gritty opening lap saw him claw back to fourth. Over the following laps Bowe was involved in a tense fight with Greg Crick, Tony Edwards and Eddie Abelnica. Bowe never dropped lower than fourth and with two laps to go passed Edwards to hold third place at the end of the ten lap race.
The Touring Car Master field lined up for the last time in 2013 with Bowe fifth on the grid for the 10-lap race. On the front row were the two XB GT Falcons of Abelnica and Kassulke and they led the field away as Greg Crick stalled on the grid. Luckily everyone missed the stationary Charger and in turn two Steve Mason spun. There were fireworks on lap two when Tony Kanafilovski and Mark King collided, spinning wildly along the pit straight, the Mustang going one way and the Camaro the other. This triggered the safety car, which led the field around for three laps.
Racing resumed with three laps remaining with title contenders Bowe, Jim Richards and Andrew Miedecke running nose to tail battling for fifth place. After nine intense laps Kassulke (XBGT) won from Abelnica (XBGT), Edwards (Torana), Youlden (Monaro), Miedecke (Camaro), Bowe (Mustang), Crick (Charger) and Richards (Falcon Sprint).
“The car is great and although we struggled with the weight and the revs I enjoyed some good racing this weekend” said Bowe. “I love racing with Greg Crick, we started racing at the same time and he’s another Tassie boy and we give each other a lot of respect. I also had a couple of battles with Andrew Miedecke who is also good to race with.
“In terms of racing and satisfaction of racing, this season has been good. I love racing these style of old cars with big engines and narrow tyres and they are a great contrast to the hi tech GT’s I also race”.