Bowe Laps - John Bowe's Diary
We get a sneak peek at the hectic life of one of Australia's most successful race drivers
Coming away from the final TCM round at Homebush on December 4 as 2016 Champion capped off a top weekend of racing, as well as a very satisfying year’s competition. For me competing in the TCM series is honestly more about enjoying the racing than about setting out to win the championship. But having said that, when the results come it’s very personally satisfying, and more than that, I know that I’m doing the right thing by my sponsors and my supporters. The truth is that I couldn’t go racing without giving it my best shot. So I always love a win, but if someone beats me on the day, I accept it knowing I’ve done my best.
While I’m a driver and not a ‘stats’ man, my good mate Hammo does keep track of all that stuff. So he was quick to point out that the weekend produced significant career milestones for me. As well as clinching my fifth TCM title on the Sunday, grabbing the pole on Saturday gave me my 100th national championship pole. The first was way back in 1979, in the mighty Ansett Elfin MR8. It’s probably just as well that Hammo couldn’t quite manage to come up with the total laps I’ve done over the decades.
Just a few words now about the late lap in qualifying on the Saturday that won me pole. Coming into the final round, to win the series I didn’t actually need race wins, or pole position. My points tally meant that consistent decent results over the weekend would do the job. In that position a man would be silly to take unnecessary risks on that unforgiving street circuit, wouldn’t he? But when I really nailed Turn 1 and realised I was still a chance to snatch pole, although I hadn’t planned it, suddenly it was on. So I managed an 11-tenths lap, with the Torana on two wheels a lot of the time, without hitting anything. And I got pole. And there’s no denying that starting a race on pole is much better than the alternative.
I also want to make the point that professional motor racing isn’t just about the driver. It’s actually a team sport. You need more than driver passion and commitment for success. You need a team with the same passion and commitment. That’s what we’ve got with the Bendigo Retro Muscle Cars team, headed up by owner Gary O’Brien with Lyndon Little as engine builder and race engineer. It’s a top team, and I take this opportunity to thank them and my loyal sponsors for making this year’s success possible.
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