Steven Johnson was denied a maiden victory for his new Team Johnson outfit as John Bowe swept to victory in the opening race of the 2017 Touring Car Masters series.
Starting from second, Johnson stormed to the lead at the first corner of today’s seven-lap race and was leading his old teammate mid-race before the main engine oil line on Mustang Sally failed, sending him to pit lane and out of the race. Johnson’s DNF ensured that Bowe opened his account in the best possible way, taking his Holden Torana SL/R 5000 to the 86th race win of his TCM career and an early championship lead in his title defence.
Johnson had surged to the front early in today’s race and was withstanding an attack from Bowe when the oil line failed as he entered turn eight on the fourth of seven laps. Bowe inherited a comfortable lead and ultimately won by five seconds as the battle for the final spots on the podium heated up.
Johnson’s non-finish elevated Adam Bressington to second place, the Whiteline Racing Chevrolet Camaro making a strong start and leaping to third on the opening lap. He then spent a majority of the race defending from Ryan Hansford’s Holden Torana, the Queenslander making a superb debut to Touring Car masters competition by scoring a top three finish on debut.
Bressington and Hansford also finished 1-2 in the ProAm class rankings while also completing the outright podium.
Andrew Fisher finished fourth on the debut of Jesus Racing’s new Ford Falcon GTHO, while Whiteline Racing’s Mark King improved from his eighth-placed starting position to finish fifth in the 1970 Camaro RS - completing a superb day for the Adelaide based Whiteline Racing team with two cars in the top five.
Cameron Tilley was sixth in the Anglomoil Valliant Pacer, a stout battle all race long with the Big mate Racing Torana A9X of Jason Gomersall decided by less than a cars length as the pair battled to the line for sixth and seventh. Brett Youlden (HQ Monaro), Tony Karanfilovski (Mustang) and Adam Garwood (Torana) completed the top-10. Tony K’s Mustang was one of the big movers in the race – leaping to ninth from his 12th place qualifying effort.
Leo Tobin won the Pro Sports class in his Ford Mustang coupe while Sven Burchartz headed home Bernie Stack to take out the opening race of the IROC Challenge series. Aside from Johnson, Al Bougen’s Ford Mercury Comet and Terry Lawlor’s Ford Mustang also failed to finish today’s race.
The Touring Car Masters return for race two tomorrow, with Sunday’s finale’ the first TCM Trophy Race of the season – featuring the regular reversed-grid format.
Race 1 Result:
1 John Bowe (Torana)
2 Adam Bressington (Camaro)
3 Ryan Hansford (Torana)
4 Andrew Fisher (Falcon GTHO)
5 Mark King (Camaro)
6 Cameron Tilley (Pacer)
7 Jason Gomersall (Torana)
8 Brett Youlden (Monaro)
9 Karanfilovski (Mustang)
10 Garwood (Torana)