Unique Cars’ John Bowe notched up his 1000th race at the Touring Car Masters round at Sydney Motorsport Park in early September and celebrated by totally dominating the category, taking pole position, all three race wins, and setting a new lap record.
Bowe also won his 200th race in his 999th start on Saturday at The Creek, which means he has averaged a win every five starts over his four-decade-long career. Racing the Torana SL/R 5000 he switched to from the Winton round, Bowe was never headed and he described the round as a “dream weekend”.
“The Torana that Gary O’Brien from Bendigo Retro Muscle Cars constructed is a beautiful little car," Bowe said.
“It is absolutely at home on tracks with a lot of corners and it was great at Eastern Creek, like it was at Winton when I debuted it.”
Bowe said he was humbled by all the attention at Eastern Creek.
“It’s really nice that people have acknowledged this but it’s a double-edged sword: on one side I’m quite proud of what I’ve done but on the other side I think, man it makes me feel old. I knew I was getting up there [in starts] and on the verge of [1000 starts] but I usually just think about the next race and the race after that and trying to ensure I can still race.
“After the 1000th on Sunday morning there was nice celebration organised by my mate Hammo with about 100 people, including Dick and Jill Johnson, and I was honestly touched by it. I’m actually quite emotional by nature but years ago I trained myself not to get too emotional when it comes to motorsport because it goes up and down like a Venetian blind.”
After racing for more than four decades, Bowe is as motivated as ever when he straps into a race car. “I feel absolutely blessed to be still involved in motorsport and still driving because I love it.
The fact is I’ve never stopped racing.”
The day after reaching this milestone, Bowe flew to the UK to race a ’65 Corvette Stingray at the famous Goodwood Revival with car owner Joe Calleja. Look for a report on how they fared and also a more detailed examination of Bowe’s long career in upcoming issues.
• Only driver to win six Australian championships in four different categories • Tasmanian Formula Vee Champion 1971 (aged 16) • Tasmanian Formula Ford Champion 1972 • Australian Drivers Champion (Gold Star) 1984, 1985 • Australian Sports Car Champion 1986 • Bathurst 1000 winner 1989, 1994 • Australian Touring Car Champion 1995 • 225 Touring Car/V8 Supercar starts • Inducted into V8 Supercar Hall of Fame 2009 • Touring Car Masters Champion 2011, 2012