The Masters lined up for the weekend’s reverse grid top ten that would be sure to throw up the action with Youlden and Karanfilovski from the front row, with Miedecke, Richards and Bowe buried in the pack but in true muscle car marvel style, it would be a race of challenges for every position across the field.
As the lights went green it was Abelnica with a flying start, Bowe took to the inside to move into sixth by turn one, Karanfilovski led the way and Freestone rounded up the field having started from pit lane to test the team’s latest fix to combat ongoing fuel delivery troubles.
Going three wide into turn three, there was no room seeing Bowe off the tarmac, charging across the dirt but dropping back to ninth. Kassulke was all over Edwards, the Torana stepping sideways through turn two, and then it was Walmsley joining the battle as he took the rebuilt Kassulke HQ towards the head of the pack.
It was on for young and old with Richards and Bowe fighting over eighth, Bowe was through, Richards went under, while Abelnica went to the inside of Youlden for second through the popular passing opportunity of turn three. Mercer took his now lightweight GTHO around the 911 of Sparks, and it was Freestone gaining on the field in the Camaro, but Youlden was back into second having made his move back under Abelnica’s XB on the run to the main straight with Edwards taking a look.
Keene charged his Porsche to the inside of Benson through the final turn, with Karanfilovsi leading the field with a comfortable buffer. Three wide again and it was Youlden, Abelnica and Edwards with Walmsley into the fight. As Youlden and Edwards came together at turn four, the pair spinning from the track together and re-joining just as closely, Miedecke was putting the move on Abelnica with Bowe right there and looking to move to the helm.
With Freestone waiting on the infield, Karanfilovski continued to show the way, holding a second over Miedecke and Bowe who were eagerly hunting down the TIFS Falcon. Pushing hard to catch Kassulke was Pye, who dropped wheels into the dirt through six before the battle of Wedge and Mason burst through the dust cloud. As they began lap six, Miedecke was right on the bumper of Karanfilovski and looking to capture the lead place, making the move into the final corner as Bowe followed to see the Mustang and Falcon side by side along the main straight before Bowe took over second.
Edwards was on a mission, fighting his way back into 16th as up ahead Richards took the wide line around Walmsley across the northern end, but sadly for Crick, a positive start soon ended in pit lane with a gearbox failure. Karanfilovski was looking to stick with the leaders, out of shape into turn two, finding the dirt and dropping to eighth.
Out front, Miedecke and Bowe had control, matching lap times while King who had already made an impressive charge from 20th into tenth was now gaining on Stillwell who continued his tidy weekend’s performance. Mason followed Benson onto the straight, taking the slip stream to head into the opening turn but Benson would hold position. Freestone had made it to the lane, returned to the track for another run, but was soon again on the infield waiting for a clear return to pit lane.
Kassulke was showing pace, working hard to take on the strong challenges ripe across the field, pushing on to find his wheels in the dirt, still battling XB on XB with Abelnica seeking the fifth that lay ahead. Almond and Wedge, the younger masters on track were locked together, the Porsche and HQ going toe to toe around the circuit, the fresh faces to the series already proving their race craft and ability to master the muscle class.
Edwards had recovered to be on the verge of the top ten, while Youlden was pressing on in 16th, the earlier incident hurting the series points for both drivers. Bowe took the lead in an attempt to secure his ninth race victory this season, but Miedecke wasn’t letting him get away this time, the pair with a buffer of some seven seconds back to Richards and Walmsley who were bringing more action just tenths apart.
As they turned in to start the final lap, Abelnica and Kassulke were still hot in battle, Abelnica going too hot into one and finding the kitty litter, taking the pressure off his co XB Falcon. Freestone had limped his struggling Camaro back to the lane, having to move aside and watch the leaders flash by around the rear of the circuit. The last time down the back straight saw Benson go through on the Mustang of Mason, Youlden taking the open door to work back into 15th, before finding the gap to go under Benson’s HQ. King had recovered from sway bar dramas yesterday, the team having completed a new sway bar overnight, giving the Camaro the legs and stability needed to complete an impressive feat coming through from 20th to eighth, securely back inside the top ten.
Bowe came home to seal another win and extend his series points lead, the second time he’s completed the tenth to first run this year, ‘Sally’ looking steady and stable as she gracefully took Bowe around the six turn circuit, using the power and experience to seal another full points haul. Miedecke took the flag two seconds adrift after a hard fought 12 laps, with Richards home in third, still fighting to keep Walmsley at bay.
John Bowe – Race Winner
“That was a good race. I got a really good start off the line, there were cars everywhere but we made it through the opening turns and I’d already made some good gains with the car feeling better again today.
“You had to watch every mirror in that one, and I had to keep full focus the whole time to make it through the pack that keeps getting stronger and stronger, and to keep my eye on Andrew (Miedecke).
“I’ve done so many laps here that I know the track well, but it’s still a challenge each time you go out, especially with this field hunting you down so it should be a good race to end the weekend with.”
“There was a harsh noise in the driveline in the first race so we changed things in the backend as thought it was a tailshaft vibration but as it turned out, it was the gearbox which gave up after a couple of really good laps.
“We’re treating this weekend as a test session in the race mode to get the car better for Steve (Makarios) and we have made progress. The car felt better again in the first couple of laps, so we’ll do the fix and give it another crack to see how it goes. I’m just enjoying being part of this series.”
“This weekend I’ve just wanted to run up the front and more so running with Keith (Kassulke) seeing this is an outstanding car that Keith and the boys at Savy Motorsport have spent countless hours prepping so they and the car deserve every accolade.
“I love driving, it’s my passion and all I think about so to be here this weekend in this car is just great.”
“Yesterday we broke a front sway bar and it was really dreadful so we wobbled around and got some point, then overnight we fixed it all and the car’s now really good.
“I had a bit of fun to get back through and the front bunch weren’t running away too much so I’m fairly confident that we’re getting there with the car and will look forward to the next race.”
The Touring Car Masters is proudly supported by Shannons Insurance, Rare Spares, Unique Cars Magazine and the 2012 Australian Muscle Car Masters, with official suppliers Hoosier Tires and Australian Sports Marketing.