Targa driver Andrew Bond rekindles John Bowe's early days

RED HOT: Andrew and Janine Bond show off their conspicuous John Bowe touring car that brought on several glances at George Town on Monday. Picture: Phillip Biggs.
RED HOT: Andrew and Janine Bond show off their conspicuous John Bowe touring car that brought on several glances at George Town on Monday. Picture: Phillip Biggs.

A modest Targa entrant is doing his best to channel his inner John Bowe.

Just a long straight away from the Devonport legend’s birthplace, Andrew Bond, a rally rookie, fesses up to the mistaken identity.

Bond has been caught up in cries of “where’s the beard, John?” over the Tasmanian’s most distinctive feature.

“I wish I could drive it like him though,” he replies back.

The name’s unmistakable on the windscreen of Bond’s car, just as is the 1980s-style sponsor logos on the bonnet.

The real deal has been in the family for more than two decades, but never raced in an event like Targa Tasmania.

“I watched it on TV and always thought about doing it competitively, but I thought better of it,” Bond says.

That’s been left to his wife Janine taking Bowe’s 1980 Calder winner to the shops and the odd school run amid noise complaints living in Melbourne’s suburbia.

“We had that in the shed since 1995, but we restored it only a few years ago now,” Bond says. “It was rusty and smokey, that sort of stuff.

“But the bones were good, and also the interior – that’s the main thing.”

The couple bought the Brock Commodore model sight unseen, but only later did they learn all about its chequered history.

That included raffling off the car at the 1981 Bathurst race before falling into disrepair as the years passed.

But the one-time club circuit driver, years before Bowe’s vehicle was touched up, can imagine this won’t be his last ride.

“I haven’t done much in the last 15 years,” Bond says.

“But as the kids move out, you get a bit more expendable income to do this.”