John Bowe has become the second repeat winner of the 2016 Touring Car Masters series, narrowly winning race one at Winton Raceway today. Bowe started from pole and withstood a stout challenge from fellow Holden Torana driver Jason Gomersall to record his second win of the season driving the Bendigo Retro Muscle Cars-run SL/R 5000.
Bowe felt pressure from Gomersall throughout the race and especially in a late two-lap dash to the line following a brief Safety Car interruption – but was able to withstand the challenge to take his 79th TCM race win.
Gomersall’s second was the best result of his TCM career and a stunning debut performance from his brand-new iSeek Racing Holden Torana A9X. Having topped practice yesterday, Gomersall topped qualifying for a majority of the 20-minute session however was pipped by Bowe in the closing stages of the session to ultimately secure his second ever TCM front-row start.
Glenn Seton charged to third place from fifth on the grid, his Thunder Road Racing Team Mustang passing Eddie Abelnica and Steven Johnson through the race before setting out after the leaders. He caught the rear of the two leading Torana’s however was unable to make any impression on the pair of Holdens, to ultimately settle for third.
Seton has now finished fourth in the last four straight TCM races at Winton, while the lack of a Mustang victory to date this year means it’s now been eight races since one of the iconic US-built ‘pony cars’ has troubled the chequer: the longest winless streak for the Mustang in TCM history. Seton also set a new Winton TCM lap record in his pursuit of the leaders, the new benchmark standing at 1m28.24s. 14 cars lapped underneath the existing lap record benchmark set by Bowe last year.
Steven Johnson finished fourth and Eddie Abelnica fifth, the pair of Aussie-built Falcons having started third and fourth, respectively. Jim Richards was sixth in the Shannons Insurance AMC Javelin, Andrew Fisher was seventh and Mark King eighth in the King Springs / Whiteline Racing Camaro.
Porsche driver Sven Burchartz was ninth in his 911 RS IROC Challenge car, he and Anglomoil Valliant Pacer ace Cameron Tilley battling furiously for much of the race.
A Safety Car was called late in the race to recover Tony Karanfilovski’s stranded Ford Mustang, the Victorian driver unfortunately suffered damage following contact from Rusty French’s similar Mustang in a turn one altercation.
Leo Tobin’s new Mustang failed to finish with fuel pressure issues, while Bruce Williams’ new Torana was fast in the early stages before a stuck throttle ruled him out. Williams’ ran as high as sixth for the first three laps prior to his first off-track moment caused by the throttle issues.
A further two races will conclude the Rare Spares Rose City trophy race tomorrow.