BOWE’S LAPS

WE GET A SNEAK PEEK AT THE HECTIC LIFE OF ONE OF AUSTRALIA'S MOST SUCCESSFUL RACE DRIVERS

JB'S DIARY

WE GET A SNEAK PEEK AT THE HECTIC LIFE OF ONE OF AUSTRALIA'S MOST SUCCESSFUL RACE DRIVERS

Bathurst 1994

SEEING THE photo of the 1994 Bathurst-winning car brought back good memories. That was a real highlight from my days with the Dick Johnson team and we both loved that car.

In those days the Stone brothers were part of the crew and the eldest, Jimmy, pretty much built that particular racer and was the brains behind it. He’s an incredibly ‘racerish’ and driven character, smart and dynamic.

It was a great car that was awesome all week.

Dick had clipped a wall in the top 10 shootout, so we started tenth.

But it didn’t matter and it would have been a travesty if we hadn’t won.

That car went on to become my championship winning ‘EF’ in 1995. Unfortunately its race career ended in 1996, when I had a coming-together with Craig Lowndes and had the biggest crash of my life. It was the end of the car and very nearly the end of me!

These days they might repair it, but at the time it was one of three cars at the team’s disposal and was deemed too far gone to be worth fixing.

That whole DJR experience led on to all sorts of things, including a stint as development driver for Tickford and then FPV. It all started when David Flint came out from the UK to start things up and asked me to get involved.

Basically I was a set of hands and feet for the development process and it gave me a real insight into how much effort goes into engineering a car.

Sometimes you don’t appreciate what it’s taken, when you go walking into a showroom, so for me it was an eyeopener.

It was a really exciting time, being in the thick of the motor industry, both on the development and racing side of things.

The whole FPVTickford experience was fascinating and, if someone ever writes a book about it, I’d love to tell part of the story.

‘Mustang-bred’

HEARING ABOUT this issue’s cover theme brought back some memories. Back in 1966, my Dad worked for the local Holden dealer in Launceston, right across the road from Ford dealer Sullivan Motors.

There was a lot of excitement when the new ‘Mustang-bred’ Falcon was announced and we all walked across the road for a closer look when it arrived. It looked very futuristic – quite a striking car – at a time when GM really dominated the market and Ford needed something that would bite into that dominance.

I’ve driven a lot of them over the years and really rate them. I think it was a better car than the equivalent Mustang, possibly because it was set up for our roads.

The Fairmont with the Cruiseomatic made a big impression, then the arrival of the GT with a more sporty image and manual transmission really stirred things up.

COMING UP

LOOKING THROUGH the diary, my next big Touring Car Masters date is Queensland Raceway on 22-24 July, then on to Phillip Island for 9-11 September. The championship is hotting up and I'm having to work for every point.

Meanwhile I've been playing with all sorts of great toys for my Pastblast series – look for the one below in the next mag.