John Bowe will line up for Round 3 of the Touring Car Masters at Hidden Valley, four weeks after breaking three ribs in a multi-car crash at Winton.
Bowe was among the worst affected in the seven-car crash which saw Race 2 of Round 2 red-flagged, but will make the trip to the Northern Territory to take part in Round 3.
Mark King, Jason Gomersall, Eddie Abelnica, Tony Karanfilovski, and Andrew Fisher have also been confirmed on the entry list at the CrownBet Darwin Triple Crown, after they too were caught up in the pile-up.
“I’m going to Darwin and I’m driving,” Bowe told Speedcafe.com.
“It’s going to be a little bit difficult but I’m looking forward to it and looking forward to being back in the car.
“I haven’t driven a race car since (Winton) but I’ve driven plenty of road cars, (including) manual transmissions and all sorts of things.
“It’s been remarkable how well it’s gone, to be honest. I’m quite surprised by it, so no problem.”
Bowe paid tribute to car owner Gary O’Brien after the extensively damaged Torana was successfully repaired in the relatively short turnaround between Winton (May 19-21) and Darwin (June 16-18).
“Gary O’Brien from Bendigo Retro Muscle Cars, who built the car in the first place, fixed it all,” he added.
“It was quite badly damaged so he’s done an absolute cracker job, as I know a lot of people have done on their cars that were damaged, too.
“It bent the chassis rails in the front, it destroyed the suspension left-front and right-front, it bent the Watts linkage, bent the diff, bent the tailshaft, and the associated body damage with it, which was quite extensive.
“Gary’s got a little crew of guys up at Bendigo and he does a great job, and Les Small, who built and runs Bruce Williams’ car, helped Gary out with the final stuff as well so thanks to all of those blokes.”
King will borrow Nigel Benson’s HQ Monaro in a bid to continue his strong start to the series, which sees him sit second in the points behind Bowe.
Whiteline Racing director Sharon Middleton has told Speedcafe.com that King’s regular ride, the Camaro which bore the brunt of the crash, is still undergoing repairs at the team’s Adelaide workshop with an estimated return at Queensland Raceway (July 28-30).
Gomersall, whose spin at the head of the field precipitated the incident, will drive his own Torana.
Matt Stone Racing Super2 driver Todd Hazelwood, who works for the team and will again be part of the crew at Hidden Valley, is optimistic that the car will be in better shape than before the Winton crash after the team incorporated a number of updates during the rebuild.
“We sat down as a collective group and worked out a few little aspects that we could do better,” Hazelwood told Speedcafe.com.
“It’s going to be hard going to Darwin because we’re basically putting the car on the track after a substantial incident but we’ve been able to take all our measurements, we’ve been able to measure the whole chassis up, and from our numbers it all looks really good.
“We hope that with a few changes that we’ve made and the good work at Matt Stone Racing, we can have a good weekend this weekend.”
Jim Richards will return to the field in his Ford Falcon Sprint having missed the Winton round due to accident damage sustained in the season-opener at Adelaide.
Meanwhile, Bowe has nominated Steven Johnson, who has a perfect record of two round victories in as many starts in the Top End, as the man to beat this weekend.
Johnson will pilot the Ford Mustang which Bowe once owned and raced to great success in the category, the second-generation racer having won two races in the car at Darwin in 2015.
“Last year Stevie J was dominant in the GT Falcon, which I don’t understand why someone hasn’t bought,” said Bowe.
“He’s going to be very hard to beat this weekend, but that’s fine. The old Mustang Sally, she’s a pretty good tool.”
The TCM field has two practice sessions on Friday June 16 ahead of qualifying and three races across the Saturday and Sunday.
Entry list: Round 3: Hidden Valley Raceway
|2||Shannons Insurance||Jim Richards||VIC||1963||Ford||Falcon Sprint|
|3||Hercules Engines||Cameron Mason||NSW||1966||Ford||Mustang Fastback|
|5||ACDelco||Bruce Williams||VIC||1974||Holden||Torana SL/R 5000|
|6||Multispares Racing||Ryan Hansford||QLD||1974||Holden||Torana SL/R 5000|
|7||Wisely Motorsport||Bob Wisely||QLD||1974||Holden||Torana SL/R 5000|
|9||Jesus Racing||Andrew Fisher||NSW||1971||Ford||Falcon XY GTHO|
|12||Giraffe Civil Contracting||Adam Garwood||TAS||1974||Holden||Torana SL/R 5000|
|17||WM Waste / Illusion Gas Log Fires||Steve Johnson||QLD||1969||Ford||Mustang Fastback|
|16||Bendigo Retro Muscle Cars||Gary O’Brien||VIC||1973||Holden||Monaro GTS|
|18||Wilson Security / PAYCE||John Bowe||VIC||1974||Holden||Torana SL/R 5000|
|19||Tincone Industrial Services||Darren Beale||QLD||1972||Holden||Monaro GTS Coupe|
|21||Treloar Roses||Robert Braune||VIC||1973||Chrysler||Charger E55|
|24||Giraffe Civil Contracting||Greg Garwood||TAS||1973||Ford||Capri Perana|
|35||Bigmate Racing||Jason Gomersall||QLD||1978||Holden||Torana A9X Hatchback|
|46||THD Motorsport||Leo Tobin||VIC||1969||Ford||Boss Mustang|
|48||Darwins Cheapest Cars||Eddie Abelnica||VIC||1974||Ford||Falcon XB Coupe|
|60||Glennan Transport / ANGLOMOIL||Cameron Tilley||NSW||1969||Valiant||Pacer|
|65||Cannon Trailers||Michael (Blu) Cannon||QLD||1971||Ford||Falcon XY GTHO|
|74||Lyndways Builders||Wayne Mercer||VIC||1971||Ford||Falcon XY GTHO|
|85||Whiteline Racing / King Springs||Mark King||QLD||1972||Holden||Monaro GTS Coupe|
|88||TIFS – Warehousing & Distribution||Tony Karanfilovski||NSW||1969||Ford||Mustang Trans Am|
|95||Whiteline Racing / Fabre Australia||Adam Bressington||NSW||1969||Chevrolet||Camaro SS|
|97||John’s Furniture Removals||Allen Boughen||QLD||1963||Mercury||Comet|