JOHN Bowe may not have been able to claim a Touring Car Masters chequered flag at Mount Panorama over the weekend, but he’s still an official Bathurst legend.
Bowe was one of 13 inaugural inductees into Bathurst’s new Legends Lane, the two-times Great Race winner honoured to have been acknowledged.
“It’s a terrific honour, but I stand up there with those guys and I think to myself that three-quarters of those blokes were my childhood heroes. John Harvey and Kevin Bartlett and Bob Morris, Fred Gibson, I idolised all those guys when I was a kid,” he said.
“So I’m standing up there with them, I’m no spring chicken, but I’m thinking ‘I’m not sure I should be up here.’
“But anyway I have to commend V8 Supercars, James Warburton, Shane Howard and their team to actually create it because, unlike America, we don’t acknowledge our past as well.
“I’m a mini legend.”
Though Bowe retired from the Supercars after season 2007, he is still adding to his Mount Panorama resume.
He has won the Bathurst 12 Hour twice and had countless podium finishes in the Touring Car Masters series at the Bathurst track.
This year in his Holden Torana, Bowe picked up a fourth in the six-lap reverse grid race, second in race two and in Sunday’s finale he was runner-up once again.
Of those his best drive was arguably the first as he came from 23rd on the grid to only just miss a podium.
“The reverse grid is always fraught with danger, but it was good of everyone to behave themselves,” Bowe, a five-times Touring Car Masters champion, said.
“You hold your breath three-quarters of it and when you get through without any touching, or crashes, you go ‘Gee that was fun.’ You don’t acknowledge the fun til it’s over.”
Eddie Abelnica came from 16th to win the reverse grid race in his Ford Falcon XB, but it was another Ford which was the star of the round.
It was Steve Johnson’s 1971 Ford Falcon XY – a car that was formerly raced by Bowe.
He smashed the qualifying lap record by 1.5 seconds on Friday, won Saturday’s second race from pole and emulated that effort on Sunday.
Bowe chased him hard all the way, setting a series race lap record 2:17.5309 lap on Saturday trying to catch Johnson.
In Sunday’s six-lapper Bowe further lowered that mark to 2:17.4462, but again Johnson held off his challenge.
The margin between the pair on the line was 0.5662 seconds.
“He’s a fantastic driver and that car’s my old car and the guys looking after it are the same blokes who looked after it for me, so there’s lots of knowledge around,” Bowe said of his rival.