November 22, 2015 | General


STEVEN JOHNSON won the battle but it was John Bowe winning the war in the final race of the 2015 ENZED Touring Car Masters season today at Phillip Island.

In a final 10-lap dash to end the year Johnson got the jump on Bowe off the front row and led his old sparring partner and family friend home to win the race – the tenth of his season.

Johnson also set a new Phillip Island TCM lap record – besting Bowe’s benchmark set in race two yesterday.

“It’s been a pretty cool weekend and an awesome year†Johnson said.

“It’s one of those years that you don’t expect: For Wilson Payce and all the sponsors who have come on board along with the John Bowe racing team JB Hamilton and the crew it’s been really cool and so much fun.

“(This year) it’s been something that’s given me the passion again. I’ve always loved the driving but the whole social aspect of this category is fantastic – and the fans love it.

“It’s a good way to finish it off. I was pretty gutted after qualifying when we were on pole but the grid reverted back but two seconds and to win the last race is really cool. To top it all off with the lap record is even better.. I’m pretty sure JB is a bit upset but that’s OK!â€Â

Bowe was forced to battle furiously with Eddie Abelnica Andrew Miedecke and Greg Ritter for second and for a time it looked like Johnson would win the round – Abelnica powering to second place following an early Safety Car.

The Melbourne’s Cheapest Cars driver held on to the spot for several laps before Bowe was able to work his way back to second place and secure the round win by just a handful of points.

He also edged out old rival Jim Richards for the TCM title his fourth ‘outright’ title since joining the championship.

“We’ve had a terrific year†Bowe said.

“The Torana has exceeded my expectations and the guys that built it at Bendigo Retro Muscle Cars did an awesome job with it. It allowed me to give Stevie a go because I felt he’d been hard done by in the V8 world. I’ve known him since he was a kid and I think he’s a fantastic driver so it was opportune to let him drive it.

“We’ve had some help from Wilson security and pace and a few of Steve’s personal supporters to make it happen and hopefully I can do the same next year – that’s the plan.

“I know it doesn’t matter to Jim Richards much either but the championship doesn’t overly concern me – but someone has to win it and we did our best to do so. I wouldn’t have been overly concerned if Jim had won it. I have huge respect for him.

“I think the category has really come of age. We’ve got Greg Ritter in there now and he’s a very fine driver. We’ve got Eddie who did a bloody great job Andrew is always there Tony Karanfilovski is doing a great job and there’s more cars being built for next year.â€Â

Steve Johnson acknowledged Bowe’s efforts at the front of the field this season.

“I’m stoked with him for the championship because he missed that round with me filling in at Symmons Plains†he said.

“He’s an amazing competitor. If you get to know the guy and what he lives sleeps and breathes every day its motorsport racing and wining. That’s why he’s the champion and he works harder at it than anyone and it’s why I’ve modelled my career on him since I was a kid.â€Â

With Abelnica a storming third – his sixth straight third place finish this year – Greg Ritter stormed from last to fourth place to finally secure his first TCM race finish after a day of disappointment yesterday.

After a broken gearbox in race one and a broken throttle cable in race two Ritter stormed to seventh in just one lap in the final race and ultimately just missed the podium – passing Miedecke’s Lubrimaxx Camaro in the closing laps to secure fourth in the Chevy Monza.

With Miedecke fifth Tony Karanfilovski finished sixth and capped off his outstanding weekend with a round victory in the ProAm division. Jim Richards Mark King Jason Gomersall and Cameron Tilley completed the top 10.

Tilley’s final race finish sealed him the ProAm title for 2015 in the car affectionately known as ‘the world’s fastest Valliant Pacer’.

Leo Tobin won the ProSports division in his HQ Holden Monaro GTS 350.

Today’s third race was marred by an early Safety Car when several cars were caught up in dramas at Lukey Heights on the second lap.

Wayne Mercer ended with damage to his Falcon GTHO while Graham Alexander also ended off the road in his HT Monaro GTS.

Andrew Fisher failed to finish after five laps TransAm contender Andy Clempson after four in his Ford Mustang.

The ENZED Touring Car Masters will announce their full 2016 schedule early next week.


Pos Car  Competitor/Team                Driver                   Vehicle              Cap   CL Laps     Race.Time Fastest...Lap1    17  Payce / Wilson Security        Steven Johnson           Mustang Trans Am     5800        8    16:27.3096   4 1:41.3560R2    18  Dunlop Super Dealers / Wilson  John Bowe                Torana SLR 5000      5047        8    16:32.0408   8 1:42.0664 3    48  Melbourne's Cheapest Cars      Eddie Abelnica           Ford Falcon XB       5800        8    16:33.9699   4 1:42.0513 4    10  Sunliner RV                    Greg Ritter              Chev Monza 2+ 2      5800        8    16:34.3014   5 1:42.2439 5    95  WhitelineTransportRacing/Lubri Andrew Miedecke          Chev Comaro SS       5800        8    16:34.7272   5 1:42.3981 6    88  TIFS Warehousing &Distribution Tony Karanfilovski       Mustang Trans Am     5800        8    16:39.1994   5 1:43.3081 7     2  Shannons Insurance             Jim Richards             Javelin              5890        8    16:40.7323   5 1:43.1043 8    85  WhitelineTransportRacing/KingS Mark King                Chev Camaro RS       5800        8    16:42.3129   5 1:43.2221 9    35  iseek Racing                   Jason Gomersall          Torana SLR 5000      5047        8    16:45.7756   7 1:44.0837 10   60  Glennan Transport / Tilleys Ra Cameron Tilley           Valiant Pacer        4390        8    16:49.2810   7 1:45.1322 11   11  Lion Mill Solutions /Ultra Per Tony Edwards             Ford Falcon XA GT    5768        8    16:53.3274   5 1:45.5764 12   90  Kalus Kenny Itelex             Sven Burchartz           Porsche  911RS       3600        8    16:53.6783   4 1:44.3964 13   46  THD Motorsport                 Leo Tobin                Monaro HQ            5810        8    16:53.7712   7 1:45.7196 14   52  Angliss Meats                  Brett Curran             Mustang Shelby       5800        8    16:57.5939   8 1:46.1815 15    7  Red Rock Winery                Rohan Little             Porsche 911          3600        8    17:18.1527   6 1:48.3871 16   81  Tarosa Stairs                  Angelo Taranto           Camaro SS Tans Am    5800        8    17:18.6884   4 1:49.5487 DNF   9  Jesus Racing                   Andrew Fisher            Falcon XY  GTHO      5800        5    11:30.9818   4 1:44.1423 DNF  75  Quest Roofing                  Andy Clempson            Mustang Trans Am     5800        4     9:57.4026   4 1:51.3140 DNF  57  Corio Auto Parts               Graham Alexander         Monaro HT            5819      DNF  74  Lyndways Builders              Wayne Mercer             Ford Falcon XY GT HO 5800      DNF  12  Giraffe Civil Contracting      Adam Garwood             Torana SLR 5000      5047