Life and Times of John Bowe

by • December 17, 2015 • Main, PeopleComments Off on Life and Times of John Bowe1471

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With a record 1000 race starts and 202 race wins, John Bowe ranks as the greatest Australian circuit racer of all time

SUNDAY morning’s Touring Car Masters race at the 2015 Fathers Day Muscle Car Masters will go down as an historic day in Australian circuit racing history – it’s where and when Liqui-Moly brand ambassador and motorsport icon, John Bowe, became the first Australian circuit racer to clock up 1000 race starts.

“It’s pretty amazing,” says JB. “Part of me is very proud and a part of me that thinks, geez I’m old! Mind you, I’m just as enthused as I was about 900 starts ago.”

You don’t get to 1000 starts (plus 202 race wins, 94 poles and 140 race lap records) by accident – it requires talent, determination and good people backing you up.

Given JB is the only Australian racer to have won seven national championships across four different categories (see Consummate Career, far right), there’s no doubt the boy has talent to burn. Furthermore his versatility is legendary; even fierce rival Mark Skaife conceded, “Bowie can drive anything.”

JB’s fierce determination and unrelenting competitiveness is well known. Former team-mate and life-long friend, Dick Johnson, once described JB as “harder to pass than a kidney stone”.

That leaves just one piece of the puzzle, excellent support. Disregarding his lucky red undies made famous during his record 11 seasons with Dick Johnson, JB’s the first to admit that having winning people and products around you is a must.

“Success in motorsport is all about the fine, little details,” he says. “I have to thank people like Synergy Engines, who prep Sally, and Bendigo Retro Muscle Cars with the Torana. I get a bit embarrassed sometimes, these guys do all the work and I get all the glory. Naturally you need good products too. When you’re paying the bills out of your own pocket, you quickly identify what works and what doesn’t. And I’ve seen with my own eyes how well Liqui-Moly oils and additives look after the cars I race and my performance road cars.”

JB is vocal regarding the merits of Liqui-Moly, which both he and Maranello Motorsport Managing Director, Mark Coffey, credit as being a key element in their historic 2014 Bathurst 12-Hour victory. The high-quality German lubricants allowed the Il Bello Rosso Ferrari 458 GT3 to be driven to its maximum potential while warding off the heat-related driveline failures that had previously plagued the team.

In addition to his raw driving talent, it’s been JB’s capacity to foster and pool talented people, along with his innate ability to identify high-quality and high-performing products, that have helped him amass such rich motorsport success. Liqui-Moly is extremely proud to be an integral and ongoing part of JB’s enduring motorsport success. As he famously said on his way to the epic 2014 Bathurst 12-hour win, “Liqui-Moly, it’s not bullshit.”

So how did JB go on his 1000th start? Over the weekend, he stuck the Bendigo Retro Muscle Cars Torana on pole, won all three races, snatched the race lap record and took the round win – situation normal, much like it’s been for most of his 45-year career!

 

 To secure the 1995 ATCC, JB had to put it on pole for the last round at Oran Park and take two race wins against a hard-charging Peter Brock and Glenn Seton who were also attempting to secure the championship

To secure the 1995 ATCC, JB had to put it on pole for the last round at Oran Park and take two race wins against a hard-charging Peter Brock and Glenn Seton who were also attempting to secure the championship

 

 JB sure can pick ’em! Despite delivering him three TCM Championships and a runner-up, for 2015 John stepped out of Mustang Sally and across into the Torana, which achieved immediate results

John Bowe sure can pick ’em! Despite delivering him three TCM Championships and a runner-up, for 2015 John stepped out of Mustang Sally and across into the Torana, which achieved immediate results

 

 JB achieved success very early in his career, winning the 1971 Tasmanian Formula Vee title on debut in an Elfin 500, followed by the Tasmanian Formula Ford title in 1972

JB achieved success very early in his career, winning the 1971 Tasmanian Formula Vee title on debut in an Elfin 500, followed by the Tasmanian Formula Ford title in 1972

JB – HE’S ONE OF US

A brand ambassador is a person who embodies a company’s identity in appearance, demeanour, values and ethics, while strategically strengthening brand awareness. Liqui-Moly brand ambassador, John Bowe, absolutely embodies this ethos. He genuinely believes in and swears by Liqui-Moly products. Furthermore JB is a passionate motoring enthusiast, happiest when behind the wheel. He’s also supports beyondblue – a charity organisation that assists depression and anxiety sufferers. These and other endearing attributes such as his personality, genuineness and credibility have made JB much more than just a driver. He’s a true Australian legend that Liqui-Moly and MotorActive are proud to call one of us.

CONSUMMATE CAREER

Australian Touring Car Champion (ATCC) 1995

Touring Car Masters Champion 2011, 2012, 2014

Bathurst 12-Hour winner 1995, 2010, 2014

Bathurst 1000 winner 1989, 1994

Australian Drivers’ Champion (Gold Star) 1984, 1985

Australian Sports Car Champion 1986

Tasmanian Formula Vee Champion 1971

Tasmanian Formula Ford Champion 1972

Sandown 500 winner 1994, 1995

Runner-up 1979 Australian Grand Prix

Runner-up ADC 1979, 1980, 1982 & 1983

Runner-up ATCC 1988, 1989, 1996, 1997

Runner-up Bathurst 1000 1987, 1988, 1996

Runner-up Touring Cars Masters 2008, 2009

Runner-up Australian Sports Car Championship 1987

Runner-up Nations Cup/GT Production 1997, 2003

Runner-up Formula 5000 1979, 1980, 1982, 1983

Australian Grand Prix pole position 1984

V8 Supercars Hall of Fame 2009

Story CRAIG PARKER  Photos NATHAN WONG, SHANE SECZKOWSKI, CHEVRON PUBLISHING GROUP, OLD RACE PHOTOS

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