Barry Oliver reflects on John Bowe's glittering career

FLASHBACK: Dick Johnson and John Bowe on the Australian Touring Car Championships podium at Symmons Plains in March, 1988. Bowe was this week announced as the 53rd inductee of the Australia Motor Sport Hall of Fame.

FLASHBACK: Dick Johnson and John Bowe on the Australian Touring Car Championships podium at Symmons Plains in March, 1988. Bowe was this week announced as the 53rd inductee of the Australia Motor Sport Hall of Fame.

Wednesday’s announcement that Tasmania’s John Bowe will be inducted into the Australian Motor Sport Hall of Fame in March is a fitting tribute to the 63-year-old who has over 1000 race starts to his credit.

This award will bring to three the number of hall of fame inductions for the former Devonport resident who is already a Tasmanian Motor Sport and V8 Supercars hall of fame member.

Between 1978 and 1985, Bowe was a consistent frontrunner in both the Australian Formula 2 championship and the Australian driver’s championship – featuring in some great races in the Formula 5000 era driving the 5.0 litre Elfin MR8 and 9 for the late great Garry Cooper.

Bowe finished second in the 1979 Australian Grand Prix in the MR8 and won the Australian driver’s championship in 1984 and 1985 driving a Formula Mondial Ralt RT4.

It was always easy for the commentators to pick out Bowe when he was driving open wheelers as his head always titled forward in a very characteristic style.

He was renowned over his career for being one of the most difficult drivers to pass.

To demonstrate his versatility, Bowe won the Australian sports car championship in 1986 driving the unique South Australian built 5.8 litre V8 Veskanda.

Best remembered for his 22-year-career (1985-2007) in the Touring Car-V8 Supercars championship, Bowe contested 225 rounds – winning 15 times and scoring 51 podium results.

A highlight was the championship win in 1995 in the EF Falcon, two Bathurst 1000 wins in 1989 in the Ford Sierra and 1994 in the Falcon and two Sandown 500 wins in 1994 and 1995 in the Falcon.

HONOURED: After retiring form Supercars in 2007, Bowe received a permanent mark of his career at the main straight at Symmons Plains. Picture: AAP

HONOURED: After retiring form Supercars in 2007, Bowe received a permanent mark of his career at the main straight at Symmons Plains. Picture: AAP

In 1995, Bowe and good friend Dick Johnson won the 12-hour race at Eastern Creek for production-based cars in a Mazda RX7 SP and then 15 years later won the same race in a BMW 335I with Paul Morris and Garry Holt.

In 2011, the 12-hour race moved to Bathurst and was run for the GT cars with Bowe teaming up with Craig Lowndes, Peter Edwards and Mika Salo to win the race in 2014 in a powerful Ferrari 458 GT3.

Since 2008, Bowe has been the dominate driver in the hugely popular Touring Car Masters championship winning the title in 2011, 2012, 2014, 2015 and 2016 and never failing to finish in the top three in the remaining years.

He drove a Chevrolet Camaro for two years before switching to the Ford Mustang in 2010 and then partway through 2015 he moved to the V8 Torana, winning an extraordinary 90 times from 221 starts.

Bowe will be one of 18 inductees to be awarded on March 23 at the CAMS awards night and it is to be hoped that fellow Tasmanian and three-time Australian driver’s champion John McCormack will be recognised next year.

MOFFAT’S BACK           IN BUSINESS 

Out-of-work V8 Supercar driver James Moffat has been thrown a lifeline by Tickford Racing [formally Prodrive Racing Australia] to join the Ford team as one of their co-drivers for the Pirtek Endurance Cup.

For the past two years, Moffat drove for the Garry Rogers Motorsport team firstly in a Volvo in 2016 and then a Holden last year, but then he was dumped in favour of GRM employee James Golding for 2018.

Moffat has 222 V8 Supercar starts to his credit beginning in 2009 when he finished second in the  development series and third the following year.

The 33-year-old Victorian drove for Dick Johnson Racing for two years before moving to the Kelly brother’s Nissan Altima team with whom he scored his only main game win.

His other major success came in 2014 when he finished second in the Bathurst 1000 with fellow Melbournian Taz Douglas.

At this stage there are no indications as to who he will drive with in the three-round series with.

The Tickford team run four cars for talented drivers Mark Winterbottom, Chas Mostert, Cameron Waters and Ritchie Stanaway.