STRONG GRID SET FOR THUNDER IN THE VALLEY
NOW A STAPLE of DarwinÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s annual mid-winter motorsport festival at Hidden Valley Raceway the Touring Car Masters return to the CrownBet Triple Crown in the Top End this weekend.
The classic muscle and sports cars from the 1960s and 70s have been a key part of the annual Supercars trip to the territory each year since 2008 with this year representing the ninth straight visit to Hidden Valley.
The quick 2.8km circuit like many others on the TCM schedule has been a happy hunting ground for former Australian Touring Car Champion John Bowe with the current TCM points leader having won four of the eight rounds contested in Darwin.
He won the seriesÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ initial visit in 2008 driving a Chevrolet Camaro and then won three straight Darwin rounds between 2012 and 2014 driving his iconic Ford Mustang nicknamed Ã¢â‚¬ËœSallyÃ¢â‚¬â„¢.
However Bowe finished second last year to former Supercars teammate Steven Johnson who won the round in the Mustang while Bowe finished second.
The pair currently sit 1-2 in the 2016 standings with Bowe back in the Torana he raced last year and Johnson driving the Synergy Race Engines Falcon XY GTHO with grunt that should suit Hidden ValleyÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s long 1.1km main straight.
BoweÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s top-end history also showcases the remarkable evolution of Touring Car MastersÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ machines.
His pole position time in 2008 was a 1m17.1849s lap while last year he powered his Holden Torana SL/R 5000 to the top spot on the grid with a scorching 1m12.3826s effort Ã¢â‚¬â€œ a full five seconds improvement.
Bowe has scored pole seven of the eight times TCM has raced at Hidden Valley.
This yearÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Touring Car Masters series has been the most competitive start to a season in seriesÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ history with six different winners from the first nine races contested to date this year.
Greg Ritter Adam Garwood Jim Richards John Bowe Andrew Fisher and Glenn Seton have all won races this season Ã¢â‚¬â€œ Seton the latest to add his name to the winners list thanks to a thrilling victory recently at Winton Raceway.
Johnson is yet to record a race win Ã¢â‚¬â€œ consistency the key to his strong championship position.
Another driver who could challenge for a victory is Jason Gomersall Ã¢â‚¬â€œ who will bring his brand-new 1978 Holden Torana A9X to Hidden Valley for the first time this week following a sensational debut at Winton in May.
The first two-door Torana to race in the category Gomersall was fastest in practice qualified second and finished second behind Bowe in the first two races of the Winton weekend in an impressive debut for the Matt Stone Racing-prepared Torana Ã¢â‚¬â€œ a car that features a tribute livery to the iconic Peter Brock / Holden Dealer Team car that dominated at Bathurst in 1978/79.
The Hidden Valley field will see the return of several familiar faces to the TCM paddock for the first time this year.
Garry Treloar returns to the series driving a 1969 Chevrolet Camaro SS while fans of the Chrysler brand will enjoy Mick WilsonÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s comeback in his hemi-powered Charger R/T. Nigel Benson returns to the wheel of his HQ Holden GTS 350 fellow Adelaidian Graham Stewart having driven the car for the start of the season. Ã‚Â
Meanwhile multiple Whiteline Racing will return to two cars for the first time since the season opening Clipsal 500 Adelaide with team owner Bob Middleton set to make a highly anticipated comeback in the teamÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Ã¢â‚¬â„¢69 Camaro SS.
Middleton a multiple Australian Super Truck Champion and former NASCAR ace hasnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t raced in TCM for several seasons however will return to the track this weekend in the newly rebuilt Camaro Ã¢â‚¬â€œ now back in its traditional bright yellow livery.
Two new names also feature on the Darwin entry list: Rob Burns set to make the debut of his Bendigo Retro Muscle Cars-prepared HQ GTS Monaro while Michael Cannon is entered in a Falcon GTHO.
The Shannons Thunder in the Valley will see the Touring Car Masters field tackle three races across the CrownBet Triple Crown weekend this weekend at Hidden Valley Raceway.
SHANNONS THUNDER IN THE VALLEY – ENTRY LIST
|No||Sponsor Name||Ch Name||Surname||State||Year||Make||Model||Cap||Colour|
|4||Skye Sands||Rusty||French||VIC||1970||Ford||Mustang Fastback||5800cc||Black|
|8||Bendigo Retro Muscle Cars||Rob||Burns||VIC||1972||HoldenÃ‚Â||Monaro GTS||5800cc||Black|
|9||Jesus Racing||Andrew||Fisher||NSW||1971||Ford||Falcon XY GTHO||5800cc||Grey/Red|
|12||Giraffe Civil Contracting||Adam||Garwood||TAS||1974||HoldenÃ‚Â||Torana SL/R 5000||5047cc||White|
|17||Synergy Race Engines||Steve||Johnson||QLD||1971||Ford||Falcon XY GTHO||5800cc||White|
|18||Wilson Security / PAYCE||John||Bowe||VIC||1974||HoldenÃ‚Â||Torana SL/R 5000||5047cc||Red/White|
|19||Tincone Industrial Services||Darren||Beale||QLD||1972||HoldenÃ‚Â||Monaro GTS Coupe||5800cc||Orange|
|20||Treloar Roses||Garry||Treloar||VIC||1968||Chevrolet||Camaro SS||6000cc||Blue|
|21||Giraffe Civil Contracting||Greg||Garwood||TAS||1972||Ford||Capri Perana||5000cc||Blue|
|22||Aussie Muscle Car Run / PRT Fabrication||Nigel||Benson||SA||1972||HoldenÃ‚Â||Monaro GTS Coupe||5800cc||Silver/Orange|
|30||Thunder Road Racing Team Australia||Glenn||Seton||QLD||1964||Ford||Mustang Coupe||5000cc||Black/Gold|
|35||iseek RacingÃ‚Â||Jason||Gomersall||QLD||1978||HoldenÃ‚Â||Torana A9X Hatchback||5000cc||Red/White/Black|
|43||Treloar Roses / Mick Wilson Plumbing||Mick||Wilson||VIC||1972||Ccrysler||Charger RT||4390cc||Orange|
|46||THD Motorsport||Leo||Tobin||VIC||1969||Ford||Boss Mustang||5000cc||Orange|
|48||Melbournes Cheapest Cars||Eddie||Abelnica||VIC||1974||Ford||Falcon XB Coupe||5800cc||Red|
|60||Glennan Transport/ANGLOMOIL Lubricants||Cameron||Tilley||NSW||1969||Valiant||Pacer||4390cc||Blue|
|65||Cannon Trailers||Michael (Blu)||Cannon||QLD||1971||Ford||Falcon XY GTHO||5800cc||Red|
|74||Lyndways Builders||Wayne||Mercer||VIC||1971||Ford||Falcon XY GTHO||5800cc||Light Blue|
|85||Whiteline Racing / King Springs||Mark||King||QLD||1970||Chevrolet||Camaro RS||5800cc||Red/White|
|88||TIFS – Warehousing & Distribution||Tony||Karanfilovski||NSW||1969||Ford||Mustang Trans Am||5800cc||Orange|
|95||Whiteline Racing / CAV Power||Bob||Middleton||SA||1969||Chevrolet||Camaro SS||5800cc||Yellow|