John Bowe’s open-wheel racing achievements will be recognised at this weekend’s Penrite Oil Sandown SuperSprint, with the awarding of a trophy named in his honour.
The John Bowe Trophy will go to the winner of the third round of the VHT S5000 Australian Drivers’ Championship, which is running as a support act on the Supercars bill for the first time.
Bowe was an open-wheel star before embarking on his career in Australian touring car racing, winning the Australian Drivers’ Championship in 1984 and ’85 aboard a Ralt RT4.
He’s been a vocal supporter of the V8-powered S5000 category since the concept was first floated several years ago having raced at the tail-end of the original Formula 5000 era.
“Back then, I went from racing a Formula 3 with 130hp, to an F5000 with way over 500hp. Put it this way, it got my attention!” reflected Bowe.
“I think S5000 is the epitome of what F5000 would have evolved into had it continued.
“The ground shakes, and you just know they are serious race cars. It’s the best thing to happen for open-wheeler racing in over 30 years.
“I’m honoured to put my name to the trophy at Sandown.
“Driving those big powerful cars was one of the most exciting and challenging times in my career, and so it’s good to see Australia’s young up-and-coming drivers looking towards that same challenge, and a potential career, in S5000.”
Now 66, Bowe continues to race in Touring Car Masters and various historic categories. He’s also currently battling prostate cancer.
Added S5000 development manager Chris Lambden: “Right now, we couldn’t think of anyone more appropriate to have their name on an S5000 trophy.
“Apart from the obvious on-track background – which is still going on! – JB’s current public confrontation with prostate cancer, and his use of that to send a message to men about it, makes it doubly appropriate.
“JB is an ongoing legend of Australian motorsport, so whoever ends up with this trophy on their cabinet will have a very worthwhile piece of memorabilia!”
The inauguration of the John Bowe trophy continues the efforts of S5000 organisers to recognise the history of the Australian Drivers’ Championship.
Round 1 winner Tom Randle was presented with the John McCormack Trophy by the three-time champion in Tasmania, while Phillip Island winner Joey Mawson was last weekend presented the Alfie Costanzo Trophy by the four-time Gold Star champion.
Bowe will be on hand to present the John Bowe Trophy to the winner of S5000’s feature on Sunday afternoon. The category will contest three races across the weekend.