Back in title winning form.
The final race of what had been an action packed, weather disrupted, exciting and somewhat experimental weekend for the Touring Car Masters has seen dual series champion Gavin Bullas take home the final race win, Round 2 glory and the inaugural Phillip Island trophy. As entries lined up on the grid for the final times, O’Neill and O’Brien remained in their garages, a clutch failure and dropped valve respectively bringing the final race to a 24 car challenge. Miedecke and Hunter bogged down off the start, Bowe went to the inside as Middleton smoked away from the line. It was another action repeating with three wide into turn one once more for Stillwell, Miedecke and Benson on for the challenge, while Bullas was through to take the lead into turn three.
Race two winner Youlden had the Edwards Torana hot on his bumper as Collins chased the duelling pair, but Bowe snuck to the inside of the XA Falcon to claim. Kassulke and Benson wet wide through four as the freight train if muscle cars were bearing down to ensure action across the circuit, Miedecke driving around Collins as they powered along the straight. Out front, Bullas was fastest and King was pushing his HQ to the limits with a lockup into turn four, Miedecke braking hard to avoid the Waddington Racing entry ahead. Abelnica was recovering from an earlier off, finding his way around Mason, and it was a battle of the Falcons with Karanfilovski and Nittis fighting for racing room with Keene’s Porsche catching.
Pye impressed at the pointy end Edwards moved into second with Youlden looking back around the Torana into the following turns as Bowe joined the challenge for the top three, but it was Bullas pulling away in the lead. Miedecke was starring, under King who had another lockup. Collins’ two races of muscle car experience had pitted him against the Javelin of Richards who moved to the outside taking seventh, Kassulke following to settle infront of the XA.
Bowe was going faster as he closed in while Pye took it sideways through the final turn with Hunter and Benson taking their HQs door to door. Middleton and Keene were challenging for 20th position as Karanfilovski went onto the grass from 15th after finally sorting the fuel delivery issues in the GTHO. It was a drag race on the straight with King and Pye side by side across the line with three laps remaining.
Bullas had stretched his lead to more than three seconds over Edwards and Youlden, with Mercer and his new engine looking strong in a tustle with Nittis as Mason’s Shelby closed in. Bowe had chipped away to be on the back of Richards and Miedecke who had bridged the gap to third placed Youlden breaking out a four way assault. As the pack crossed the line with two laps to go for the weekend it was Richards and Youlden side by side, right on their tails were Bowe and Miedecke crossing the line in formation.
Miedecke overcame a challenging weekend Coming through Lukey Heights for the final time it was Bullas on his way to the race and round victory, leading home an impressive Edwards and maiden race victor Youlden, with the usual suspects of Miedecke and Bowe rounding out the top five. Gavin Bullas, #16 Ford Boss Mustang
“It’s great to finish what’s been an unpredictable weekend for everyone with a win, especially here at the island.
“Race1 with JB (John Bowe) was one of the best races I’ve had in a long time – really tough, hard racing with the respect and professionalism clear. I don’t know how many corners we were next to each other for and no damage to either car.
“It’s been a challenge with overcoming a misfire, all of the crews not knowing which setup option to take until the last minute with the crazy weather keeping us all busy and, in the end, making for a really exciting event.
“Being back with the series inside the car is where I want to be and to have a win