JOHNSON WINS BOWE SEALS TITLE DEAL
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 Ã¢â‚¬â€œ the tenth of his season.
Johnson also set a new Phillip Island TCM lap record Ã¢â‚¬â€œ besting BoweÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s benchmark set in race two yesterday.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“ItÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s been a pretty cool weekend and an awesome yearÃ¢â‚¬Â Johnson said.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“ItÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s one of those years that you donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢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 itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s been really cool and so much fun.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“(This year) itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s been something thatÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s given me the passion again. IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ve always loved the driving but the whole social aspect of this category is fantastic Ã¢â‚¬â€œ and the fans love it.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“ItÃ¢â‚¬â„¢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.. IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢m pretty sure JB is a bit upset but thatÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s OK!Ã¢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 Ã¢â‚¬â€œ Abelnica powering to second place following an early Safety Car.
The MelbourneÃ¢â‚¬â„¢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 Ã¢â‚¬ËœoutrightÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ title since joining the championship.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“WeÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ve had a terrific yearÃ¢â‚¬Â Bowe said.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“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 heÃ¢â‚¬â„¢d been hard done by in the V8 world. IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ve known him since he was a kid and I think heÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s a fantastic driver so it was opportune to let him drive it.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“WeÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ve had some help from Wilson security and pace and a few of SteveÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s personal supporters to make it happen and hopefully I can do the same next year Ã¢â‚¬â€œ thatÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s the plan.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“I know it doesnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t matter to Jim Richards much either but the championship doesnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t overly concern me Ã¢â‚¬â€œ but someone has to win it and we did our best to do so. I wouldnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t have been overly concerned if Jim had won it. I have huge respect for him.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“I think the category has really come of age. WeÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ve got Greg Ritter in there now and heÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s a very fine driver. WeÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ve got Eddie who did a bloody great job Andrew is always there Tony Karanfilovski is doing a great job and thereÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s more cars being built for next year.Ã¢â‚¬Â
Steve Johnson acknowledged BoweÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s efforts at the front of the field this season.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢m stoked with him for the championship because he missed that round with me filling in at Symmons PlainsÃ¢â‚¬Â he said.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“HeÃ¢â‚¬â„¢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. ThatÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s why heÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s the champion and he works harder at it than anyone and itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s why IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ve modelled my career on him since I was a kid.Ã¢â‚¬Â
With Abelnica a storming third Ã¢â‚¬â€œ 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 Ã¢â‚¬â€œ passing MiedeckeÃ¢â‚¬â„¢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.
TilleyÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s final race finish sealed him the ProAm title for 2015 in the car affectionately known as Ã¢â‚¬Ëœthe worldÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s fastest Valliant PacerÃ¢â‚¬â„¢.
Leo Tobin won the ProSports division in his HQ Holden Monaro GTS 350.
TodayÃ¢â‚¬â„¢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.
RACE 3 RESULTS
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