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16 June 2015 | General

TCM TORQUE – ENZED THUNDER IN THE VALLEY

DARWIN has been a very happy hunting ground for the ENZED Touring Car Masters since the series’ first visited the venue in 2008.

The long straight plays to the cars with plenty of ponies under the bonnet but the technical flowing nature of the remainder of the lap allows the smaller capacity lighter cars to stay right in the game. Over the years there has been some giant-killing performances at the venue: notably Michael Almond qualifying a 350hp Porsche third in 2013 and Cameron Mason storming his five-litre Mustang to the front of the pack last year.

And yet there’s no substitute for cubic inches in Darwin – which is why Brad Tilley’s enormous GTHO Falcon always seems to go well in the top end.  

IT’S FAMILY VALUES IN DARWIN

THE TALK of the TCM world heading into Darwin is the re-uniting of the Johnson – Bowe racing ‘family’ this weekend – but there’s another family that will do battle on track this weekend.

The Mason clan from the NSW Central Coast will have plenty to cheer for as Steve Mason re-joins son Cameron on the TCM Grid. Mason Sr the 2007 Touring Car Masters series champion will race his 1969 Chevrolet Camaro against son Cameron’s ’66 Ford Shelby Mustang this weekend.

Cam Mason was the undoubted star of the 2014 Hidden Valley round as he qualified seventh and stormed to fifth in the first race.

He then was challenging for the race lead in the second race battling with Mark King and Adam Bressington for the lead before running wide at turn one as he attempted to overtake – ultimately finishing eighth.

Steve Mason has a strong record in the top end: he qualified fifth there in 2008 and fourth in 2011 and has a best finish of fourth at the venue scored in the final race of the 2008 round.

QUALY STREAK OVER.. OR NOT..

THE Longest running streak of pole positions in ENZED TCM history ended at the series’ most recent round at Winton – sort of.  

Mustang ‘Sally’ driven by John Bowe and Steven Johnson had dominated qualifying for the last two years with John Bowe scoring nine consecutive pole positions between the Phillip Island 2013 grand finale’ and Round two in Tasmania this year.

Though Bowe missed Symmons Plains his replacement – V8 ace Steven Johnson – carried on his form and put the No. 18 Mustang on the top spot.

With ‘Sally’ sitting out Winton the streak came to an end though it was a familiar face at the top of the grid: John Bowe instead driving a Holden Torana to the top spot for the first time in TCM history.

So perhaps the stat should now read ‘John Bowe or John Bowe’s car hasn’t been beaten for pole since 2013..’

With Steven Johnson back in the Mustang this weekend and a one-for-one record in qualifying there’s every chance it will continue in Darwin – especially given Bowe has been on pole in Darwin for the last five straight years.

For the record the last person to be on pole position not driving Mustang Sally or not named John Bowe was another Ford Legend: Glenn Seton took pole for the Bathurst round in 2013 driving an XY GTHO Ford Falcon.

CLOSE AT THE POINTY END

ENTERING THE half-way point of the season this weekend the ENZED Touring Car Masters title fight is wide open and has the potential to be the most competitive yet.

With 180 points up for grabs this weekend the top eight drivers are covered by just 145 points heading into the fourth of eight rounds. Consistency has seen Gavin Bullas jump to the top following Winton’s most recent round – he holds a narrow 12-point lead over the similarly consistent Greg Crick.

The first driver in the standings to have won a round this year is Andrew Miedecke who’s Clipsal 500 victory sees him just two markers further back in third. There have been three winners from three rounds to date Miedecke Johnson and Bowe having shared the outright / ProMaster class honours so far. Just 68 points – little more than one race victory – cover first placed Bullas to sixth placed Mark King with Crick Miedecke Jim Richards and Glenn Seton in between.

In the ProAm class Cameron Tilley holds a narrow 42-point lead over Brett Youlden while Leo Tobin has a strong lead in the ProSports class.

NOTABLE

  • Andrew Fisher will do double duties this weekend – racing in both the V8 Utes and TCM classes. Several sessions are back to back for both categories making it something of a logistical challenge. Heat will also play a role for the Jesus Racing driver – cabin temps in Darwin often crack the 60-degree mark.

  • Holden Torana SL/R 5000s have often performed well at Hidden Valley: Jason Gomersall qualified fourth in Darwin in 2013 and fifth last year.
  •  Jim Richards’ AMC Javelin finished second at Hidden Valley in 2012 missing pole by just 0.1s before scoring a pair of second places across the three races. The Javelin returns to Darwin for the first time since the 2012 season this weekend.
  • The addition of Steven Johnson to the field this weekend just adds to the ‘Masters’ tag in the Touring Car Masters title – and it’s like reading a Touring Car Championship Grid from the late 1980s! Bowe Johnson Miedecke Seton Richards Crick… we just need a ‘Brock’ a ‘Bond’ and perhaps a ‘Moffat’ to complete the retro feel!
  • JOHN BOWE has raced in the Touring Car Masters in Darwin every yer the series has raced at Hidden Valley. He has never qualified off the front row – in fact the only time he didn’t score pole was in 2009 when he missed out on the top spot to Jim Richards by 0.0475s.
  • The first FOUR rounds at Hidden Valley were won by four different drivers – Bowe became the first repeat winner when he won in 2012.
  • The first THREE rounds at Hidden Valley were won by drivers winning all three races. In fact only TWICE has the round featured two different race winners across the weekend. In 2011 Andrew Miedecke won two races and Bowe the other whilst in the series’ most recent visit last year Bowe won two races and Mark King the other. Bowe has ‘swept’ rounds at Hidden Valley in 2008. 2012 and 2013.
  • JB isn’t the only driver in the field with strong Darwin form however. GAVIN BULLAS has started inside the top five on each of his four visits to the circuit including a front row start in 2008 and third in 2009 and 2010.
  • ANDREW MIDECEKE loves Darwin its fishing and Hidden Valley. His last five qualifying results at the circuit are extremely consistent: The Lubrimaxx Camaro registering finishes of 6th 3rd 5th 5th and 3rd in qualy. In that time he’s won two races the 2011 Round and finished in the top five ten times from fifteen races.
  • The John Bowe – Jim Richards’ battle has always been strong at Hidden Valley. They’ve qualified 1-2 on five occasions – including last year – and finished 1-2 in races at Hidden Valley on seven occasions.

BY THE NUMBERS:

This year marks the 8th visit by TCM to Hidden Valley and the SKYCITY Triple Crown.
21 TCM races across 7 rounds have been held at Hidden Valley since the series’ first visit.

POLE PROGRESSION

2008 John Bowe (Camaro) 1m17.1849
2009 Jim Richards (Falcon Sprint) 1m16.6580
2010 John Bowe (Mustang) 1m16.1203
2011 John Bowe (Mustang) 1m14.8385
2012 John Bowe (Mustang) 1m14.8884
2013 John Bowe (Mustang) 1m14.9211
2014 John Bowe (Mustang) 1m14.1539

Largest margin 1st to 2nd in qualifying: Bowe to Richards 2014 (1.6126s)
Smallest margin 1st to 2nd in qualifying: Richards to Bowe 2009 (0.0475s)

ROUND WINNERS

2008: John Bowe (Camaro)
2009: Gavin Bullas (Mustang)
2010: Jim Richards (Falcon Sprint)
2011: Andrew Miedecke (Camaro)
2012: John Bowe (Mustang)
2013: John Bowe (Mustang)
2014: John Bowe (Mustang)

RACE WINNERS:

John Bowe – 12 Gavin Bullas – 3 Jim Richards – 3 Andrew Miedecke – 2 Mark King – 1

RACE PODIUM FINISHES:

John Bowe – 18 Jim Richards – 13 Brad Tilley – 9 Gavin Bullas – 9 Andrew Miedecke – 6 Tony Edwards – 2 Mark King – 2 Keith Kassulke Greg Crick Adam Bressington Drew Marget – 1

LAP RECORD PROGRESSION

John Bowe (Camaro) 1m19.1962 – 2008 R1
John Bowe (Camaro) 1m17.36687 – 2008 R2
Gavin Bullas (Mustang) 1m17.0792 – 2010 R1
Jim Richards (Falcon Sprint) 1m16.9629 – 2010 R2
Andrew Miedecke (Camaro) 1m16.8815 – 2011 R2
John Bowe (Mustang) 1m16.6091 – 2012 R1
John Bowe (Mustang) 1m16.4593 – 2012 R2
John Bowe (Mustang) 1m15.9926 – 2014 R1

FASTEST LAPS

John Bowe – 9 Jim Richards – 5 Andrew Miedecke – 3 Gavin Bullas – 2 Michael Almond Greg Keene – 1

ENTRY LIST – ENZED THUNDER IN THE VALLEY

No. Sponsor Name Driver Name State Year Make Model Colour Cap
2 Shannons Insurance Jim Richards VIC 1972 AMC Javelin Grey/Green 5890cc
3 Hercules Engines Cameron Mason NSW 1966 Ford Mustang Fastback Red/White 5000cc
7 calga.biz Bill Pye NSW 1969 Chevrolet Camaro Orange 5800cc
9 Jesus Racing Andrew Fisher NSW 1971 Ford Falcon XY GTHO Grey/Red 5800cc
10 Sunliner RV Tony Hunter VIC 1971 Chevrolet Monza 2+2 White 5000cc
15 Hercules Engines Steve Mason NSW 1969 Chevrolet Camaro Blue 5800cc
16 Rain City Racing Gavin Bullas VIC 1970 Ford Mustang Fastback Black 5800cc
17 PAYCE/Wilson Security Steven Johnson QLD 1969 Ford Mustang Trans Am Blue/Yellow 5800cc
18 Dunlop Super Dealers/ Wilson Security/ PAYCE John Bowe VIC 1974 Holden  Torana SL/R 5000 Blue/Yellow 5047cc
21 Treloar Roses  Garry Treloar VIC 1973 Chrysler Charger E55 Yellow/Black 5570cc
30 Thunder Road Racing Team Australia Glenn Seton  QLD 1964 Ford Mustang Coupe Black/Gold 5000cc
35 iseek Racing  Jason Gomersall QLD 1974 Holden  Torana SL/R 5000 White/Blue 5047cc
46 THD Motorsport Leo Tobin VIC 1972 Holden  HQ Monaro Orange 5810cc
48 Darwin’s Cheapest Cars Eddie Abelnica VIC 1974 Ford Falcon XB Coupe Red 5800cc
52 Outbound Racing / wheels.com.pg Keith Kassulke QLD 1974 Ford Falcon XB Coupe Blue/Silver 5800cc
60 Glennan’s Transport Cameron Tilley NSW 1969 Valiant Pacer Blue 4390cc
74 Lyndways Builders / Mick Webb’s SVO Wayne Mercer VIC 1971 Ford Falcon XY GTHO Blue 5800cc
75 Mopar Performance Greg Crick TAS 1973 Chrysler Charger E55 Black/Blue 5570cc
85 Whiteline Transport Racing / King Springs Mark King QLD 1970 Chevrolet Camaro RS Red/Black/White 5800cc
88 TIFS – Warehousing & Distribution Tony Karanfilovski NSW 1969 Ford Mustang Trans Am Orange 5800cc
95 Whiteline Transport Racing / Lubrimaxx Andrew Miedecke NSW 1969 Chevrolet Camaro SS Black/Blue 5800cc