Bowe recommits to TCM despite losing Wilson sponsorship

John Bowe in action in Touring Car Masters pic: Ross Gibb

John Bowe is set to take part in the 2019 Touring Car Masters series after initially being “extremely stressed” to have also lost his Wilson Security sponsorship.

The withdrawal of the company from Australian motorsport led to the shock move to replace Garth Tander with Richie Stanaway at Garry Rogers Motorsport, now known commercially as Boost Mobile Racing Team, having already cost 2018 Dunlop Super2 Series winner Chris Pither his own seat at the team.

Wilson had spent over a decade backing various teams and drivers across several series, including Bowe’s TCM entry, but opted to withdraw after the departure of CEO John McMellan in the latter months of 2018.

When asked of the effect on his 2019 TCM plans, the two-time Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000 winner told that he would be able to make up for the loss which was communicated to teams relatively late in the preceding year.

“I had an 11-year relationship with Wilson Security,” noted Bowe.

“Principally it was through their former CEO, John McMellan, who is the most straight-up, honourable guy I’ve ever met.

“When he resigned from the company they obviously, as big companies do, decided that anything he did, didn’t bear doing anymore, so I was one of the victims as were quite a few people.

“I was extremely, extremely disappointed and stressed, I’ve got to say, and we are collectively – there’s a number of us that help me in my little world – searching and asking others to fill the void, so I’ll have something to say about all of that in a little while.

“So I’ll be on the grid in Adelaide and it’ll be thanks to some very, very supportive and long-term supporters of mine, so I’m very grateful for it.”

Bowe has raced in TCM since he retired from the Virgin Australia Supercars Championship at the end of 2007, winning series titles on five occasions.

Despite racing for the love of it these days, he still has a relatively busy year ahead of him including a drive in April’s Hi-Tec Oils Bathurst 6 Hour.

“I’d have to have two feet in the pine box to not race,” he quipped, “so this year I’m planning to do the TCM, I’m going to do the Bathurst 6 Hour race, and I’m going to the (Bathurst) 12 Hour race as an ambassador with (naming rights sponsor) Liqui-Moly.

“I think (the Bathurst 6 Hour) has some meaning in the whole world of what cars people drive and it’s a fun event, it’s quite like the old days, and I’m going to (also) do a few races in my friend Joe Calleja’s historic cars.”

Additionally, he will feature this weekend at Hampton Downs in the annual Legends of Bathurst meeting, racing the Volvo which he drove in the 1986 Bathurst 1000.

“I went last year and had the best time and I’m going again and I’m going to drive the Volvo 240T Group A car that I raced at Bathurst in 1986, which is what I did last year,” said Bowe.

“It’s owned by the same bloke (Mark Petch) that started the team back in ’85, and the same guy looks after the mechanicals of it, so it’s fantastic, like going back in time.

“Hampton Downs is a really good track, it’s just a great environment and the Kiwi motorsport fans are so enthusiastic and it’s just really good fun; you wouldn’t not do it.”

Also in attendance will be Dick Johnson, Jim and Ross Stone, Jim Richards, Steve Richards, and Paul Radisich, the latter three of whom will race in the Historic Touring Cars category along with Bowe.

The event takes place this weekend (January 12-13), while TCM kicks off for 2019 at the Superloop Adelaide 500 on February 28-March 3.

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