Bowe’s back in another epic race on the streets of Adelaide
It was an all in with the reverse grid of the top ten, finding Benson and Kassulke off the front row as the Touring Car Masters (presented by Autobarn) started off for the final ten laps of the Clipsal 500 Adelaide.
No sooner the lights went green, both Sparks and Keene fired their Porsche’s to the opposite sides of the main straight in possibly an attempt to gain position, or maybe to avoid any more contact between the family stable, while out front it was Miedecke taking to the grass as another epic race hit top gear from turn one.
There was early contact between Mason and Cameron Tilley, as Mason went on a charge moving from sixth to third in just the first two corners, but it was MacLean streaking away in his Camaro SS with the GTHO of Brad Tilley not far behind after Benson went wide and opened a gap.
Ceasing the chance, Miedecke snuck to the inside of Benson, but he fought back, before Miedecke consolidated fifth position with Richards manoeuvring the Sprint to also make a move on the Benson HQ.
Bowe coming off a Race 2 win, was hot on the tail of Kassulke’s HQ Monaro, Miedecke and Richards also in the hunt. Richards saw an opportunity up the inside at turn 14 but dropped back in behind as up ahead Bowe had made it to fourth by the end of lap one, and drove on to take third from the Tilley Pacer through turn 14, posting times some 1.5 seconds faster than second placed Mason.
At the head of the field the MacLean versus Mason battle was at full strength, corner after corner the pressure continued with an outstanding display of skill in these classic machines. The news wasn’t so positive for Edwards with his Torana again parked in pit lane after the power steering rack failed, while Cameron Tilley’s Pacer gently ended the weekend on Brock Straight on the run to turn eight.
Coming into the final corner of lap four, MacLean dropped the left onto the grass and couldn’t pull up his beasty Camaro and speared off towards the wall, a lucky save but a big lose, handing the lead to Mason who was busy holding off the charging Mustang of Bowe.
Left, right, left, Bowe was all over the back of Mason, but this battle wasn’t ending too soon as Mason held Bowe at bay even after Bowe got a look as the Camaro took a wide berth through turn 14, ending lap six with a drag race along Pit Straight.
The pressure was taking its toll on Mason incredibly wide and across the curbs at turn seven, keeping it off the wall, but Bowe shot past to take the race lead with four laps to go, while Miedecke and Richards had joined the lead group. Richards made a late braking move under Miedecke to take third.
Further in the field, King was all over the back of Keene’s Porsche, making a bold pass before power sliding through turn seven as they hunted down Sparks who was in her own tussle, again fighting the Nittis GTHO. Westwood, determined to make up lost ground from Race 2, made a move under King’s XA as Kassulke spun from eighth, making a smoking return at turn nine and joining the Keene versus McAlister challenge before again leaving the track and making a re-entry in a close call with the Charger of Wilson.
Bowe was driving away as he crossed the line to start the final lap in another show of the prowess of the machine he calls Sally, while Richards was right on the bumper of Mason right through to the chequered flag.
Coming from tenth to first, Bowe had fought through the most competitive field to ensure a positive end to the first round of the Touring Car Masters season, and a great start to his 2011 championship campaign.Finishing twelfth outright, Sparks wrapped up the Class A title ending an outstanding and dramatic weekend for the Sportmed Porsche team, while O’Brien secured his win in Class B crossing the line in tenth position after a great battle with the GTHO of Westwood.
Impressive performances by Nelson to achieve a 19th after extensive damage in an unavoidable crash in Race 2 meant an overnight fix to get the suspension right and bypass the second oil cooler, with Westwood taking out 9th after he too suffered big damage in yesterday’s on track action.
“It’s always nice to win, especially now that we’ve got the car working better, behaving better.
“She’s has a whole makeover since season end, but that wasn’t finished early enough for us to test and we came here fresh so a few little issues but mostly quite good.
“The first race was really unstable in the back under brakes, but the boys worked to correct that and then we were really strong.
“I couldn’t pass Mason or MacLean without them making a blue, and that’s all part of racing with the pressure of competition. It was really awesome to drive against Mason, for someone without the star name, he does such a good job and I really enjoyed the battle – we had four corners side by side and not a mark on the paint!”
“Had a good start and I was second by turn one, and in the lead by turn two, so I tried my best to get away as I knew the others were going to come on hard and fast.
“I was looking in the mirror too often, then dropped the wheels in the dirt and that was it. I came back on with vengeance but had lost it.”
“This was our fifth race in the car as part of our eight race program so the car is well sorted and up to speed with all the good bits.
“We came here ready to race, having tested and had a full service so in the first sessions I was learning the track.
“I was driving the wheels off it out there, looking pretty strong for the year, so it’s great to start the year at the head of the class.”
The Touring Car Masters is proudly presented by Autobarn, and supported by Shannons Insurance, Rare Spares, Unique Cars Magazine and official suppliers Hoosier Tires and Australian Sports Marketing.
Images: Dirk Klynsmith www.graphicdakphotos.com