John Bowe trophy for Sandown S5000 round winner

John Bowe in his Australian Drivers’ Championship days

The John Bowe trophy will be awarded to the winner of this weekend’s third round of the VHT S5000 Australian Drivers’ Championship at Sandown.

The initiative continues the practice of recognising the heritage of the open-wheel racing which inspired S5000, and honouring the legends who starred in it.

Already, the John McCormack Trophy has been handed by the man himself to Thomas Randle for taking out Round 1 at Symmons Plains, and ‘Alfie’ Costanzo similarly presented the trophy which bears his name to Round 2 winner Joey Mawson last weekend at Phillip Island.

While Bowe is perhaps better known for his two Bathurst 1000 wins and an Australian Touring Car Championship title in 1995, he was also prolific in open-wheelers before his success in tin tops.

The Tasmanian native won the Australian Drivers’ Championship twice, in 1984 and 1985, driving a Ralt RT4 during its Australian Formula 2 era.

He was also twice runner-up in the Gold Star title race in Formula 5000s, and picked up 14 Australian Drivers’ Championship race wins from his debut in the late 1970s, plus a second placing in the 1979 Australian Grand Prix with Ansett Team Elfin.

Bowe will be in attendance at Sandown to present the trophy to the latest round winner.

“Back then, I went from racing a Formula 3 with 130hp, to an F5000 with way over 500hp. Put it this way, it got my attention!” he said of his introduction to the powerful open-wheelers.

“I think S5000 is the epitome of what F5000 would have evolved into had it continued.

“The ground shakes, and you just know they are serious race cars. It’s the best thing to happen for open-wheeler racing in over 30 years.

“I’m honoured to put my name to the trophy at Sandown.

“Driving those big powerful cars was one of the most exciting and challenging times in my career, and so it’s good to see Australia’s young up-and-coming drivers looking towards that same challenge, and a potential career, in S5000.”

S5000 category development manager Chris Lambden says that Bowe’s on-track exploits, as well as his advocacy for men’s health in light of his recent prostate cancer diagnosis, make him worthy of the trophy.

“Right now, we couldn’t think of anyone more appropriate to have their name on an S5000 trophy,” remarked Lambden.

“Apart from the obvious on-track background – which is still going on – JB’s current public confrontation with prostate cancer, and his use of that to send a message to men about it, makes it doubly appropriate.

“JB is an ongoing legend of Australian motorsport, so whoever ends up with this trophy on their cabinet will have a very worthwhile piece of memorabilia.”

This weekend’s races, which support Supercars’ Penrite Oil Sandown SuperSprint, comprise Round 3 of what is a four-round 2021 season ahead of the transition to a summer S5000 calendar.

Two practice sessions and qualifying will be held on Saturday, before the two heat races and the ‘Main Event’ (feature race) are run on Sunday.

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