TOURING CAR MASTERS AT BATHURST 1000 Mt PANORAMA
- PAYCE Headquarters, Sydney NSW.
John Bowe apprehensive about a mixed field for Bathurst 1000 at Mt Panorama.
Brian Boyd said Team PAYCE driver, John Bowe is no stranger to Bathurst, having successfully competed in many categories there over the years.
"But even he was somewhat apprehensive about the prospect of mixing it with a field made up of around 50 Touring Car Masters and New Zealand's Central Masters Cars competitors," he said.
Kiwi drivers take to the field.
"Most of the Kiwi drivers were not familiar with Bathurst so his concerns were valid, but as it turned out there was a surprising absence of serious crashes or incidents.
"All this made for three thrilling races and a likelihood of a repeat visit in the future," Brian Boyd said.
"Despite the mixed specifications between the visitors and the home team cars, the racing was extremely competitive and the drivers gave spectators and viewers some great entertainment and added even more colour to the meeting."
Muscle Car practice and qualifying sessions.
The two practice sessions on Thursday were incident-free and it was clear that JB would have to work hard to match last year's two wins, but the Torana SL/R 5000 was in good shape as was JB, posting a third and first quickest times respectively in the two practices.
Glenn Seton in his Ford Mustang emerged as JB's biggest threat, while the New Zealanders were quickly coming to grips with the mountain circuit.
Current CMC champion, Dean Perkins in his Ford Falcon XD was the fastest of the visitors, just a few seconds behind the JB and Seton.
A total of 49 cars rolled down Pit Straight for race 1, with the whole field cleanly around turn 1 and John Bowe heading the pack up Mountain Straight.
JB held off threats from Seton until the start of lap 5 when a slower car baulked JB and Seton took advantage and powered into the lead and kept that position intact to the end to lead JB home.
"To the credit of all drivers, the race ran its full distance uninterrupted, much to the surprise of many," remarked Mr Brian Boyd.
Kiwis take the Waeco trophy.
Race 2 on Saturday for the Waeco Trophy was a somewhat complicated reverse grid that had most of the frontrunners from race 1 relegated to the rear of the grid.
Two Kiwis, driving a Chev Camaro and a Ford Mustang, fought for the lead all race long and crossed the line nose to tail. A further three Kiwis finished before local Andrew Garwood led a group of TCM cars home.
"Although we have seen cars come from the rear to win in previous reverse grids, this time out the bigger field and strong overseas competition meant that was not likely to happen, as evidenced by JB's charge through the field that only netted him 20th place" noted Mr brian Boyd.
Aussie muscle car legend brings the inagural trophy home.
Sunday's third and final race was for the inaugural Wilson Trans-Tasman Challenge, with the TCM cars lined up on one side of the grid and the CMC cars on the other.
JB started behind Glenn Seton and slotted in behind the NZ pole-sitter, Dean Perkins as the field roared up Mountain Straight for the first of six laps.
JB battled throughout the race with Perkins, finally getting past the rapid Falcon XD on the second last lap to follow Seton to the flag and notch up another second place podium. In doing so, JB set the fastest lap time of the race and just shy by one-tenth of a second off Steve Johnson's lap record set last year in the PAYCE Mustang Sally then owned by John Bowe.
With points awarded to each car based on country, Australia won the inaugural trophy 505 points to 354 points.
Brian Boyd said it was testimony to the mature attitude of all drivers and respect for the valuable heritage of their cars, there were no safety car periods in any of the races and no red flags in the practice sessions.
"The races were definitely a highlight of the meeting and provided some of the most thrilling racing over the Bathurst meeting," he said.
"Congratulations go out to John Bowe," said Mr Boyd, "on his two podiums as he retains the championship lead into the final round of racing at the Coates Hire Sydney 500 meeting at Homebush."