Bowe beats Johnson in TCM finale at Symmons Plains
John Bowe beat Steven Johnson in the Gulf Western Oils Touring Car Masters finale to kick off his farewell tour with victory in front of home fans at Symmons Plains Raceway.
Bowe (Holden Torana SL/R) led the final lap of the race in front of home fans at Symmons Plains Raceway to take the chequered flag over round winner Steven Johnson (Ford Mustang), with Danny Buzadzic (Holden Torana A9X) completing the podium.
Johnson led the way from Trophy Race winner Ryan Hansford (Holden Torana A9X), Bowe, Buzadzic, Cameron Tilley (Valiant Pacer), Marcus Zukanovic (Ford Falcon XD), Peter Burnitt (Holden Torana A9X), Andrew Fisher (Holden Torana A9X) and Adam Williams (Holden Torana).
Johnson and Hansford held position, as Bowe overcame Buzadzic at the hairpin to move into third, with the latter then forced to defend from Fisher and Tilley.
Fisher went down the inside of Buzadzic at the final complex of corners on Lap 2 to take fourth, up four spots from eighth on the grid.
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Bowe then engaged Hansford in a battle for second, as Johnson stretched out his advantage to over 1s at the front of the field.
After five laps, it was Johnson from Hansford, Bowe, Fisher, Buzadzic, Tilley, Williams, Zukanovic, with Burnitt in pit lane.
Bowe attempted a dive down the inside of Hansford on Lap 7, with the latter managing to hold onto position, before going off the road at the final complex of corners, with Fisher taking advantage of the situation to move into second, as Bowe remained in third.
There was drama for Fisher on Lap 9, who was slow out of Turn 3, with Bowe, Hansford and Buzadzic moving past the Jesus Racing entry, which then pulled into pit lane at the end of that lap with a reported battery issue.
Meanwhile, Johnson continued to maintain his advantage over Bowe and Hansford at the front of the field, before Buzadzic moved past the latter for third at the final corner on Lap 13.
Second-placed Bowe then set about reducing the margin to Johnson, before attempting a move down the inside of Johnson at the hairpin on Lap 17 with Johnson able to hold onto the lead of the race.
He attempted the same move a lap later, before taking the lead of the race at the penultimate corner ahead of the final lap.
Bowe went onto take the chequered flag ahead of Johnson, with Buzadzic completing the podium.
Hansford was fourth from Tilley in fifth, Williams sixth, with Zukanovic the last of the finishers in seventh, as Fisher and Burnitt failed to finish the race.
Round 2 of the 2023 Touring Car Masters season will take place at the Thrifty Newscastle 500 on March 10-12.