JOHN Bowe has secured his sixth Touring Car Masters title, and his first since 2016 after he finished third in the third and final race at Mount Panorama.
In addition to winning the 2021 title, Bowe also claimed the round win at Mount Panorama by five points over Race 3 victor Dean Lillie.
Steven Johnson looked set to win three from three races until a tyre blowout while leading on the penultimate lap took him out of the race.
Ryan Hansford finished runner-up 50 points behind Bowe (547 points), with Johnson in third a further 50 points (497) behind in the standings.
Hansford’s chances were all-but dashed when he suffered a mechanical issue in Race 2 on Thursday.
Bowe said that winning the series seemed unlikely at the start of the week.
“I am very happy, it’s a nerve-wracking business when you are into the last race and I honestly came here feeling like I wasn’t coming here to win the championship,” Bowe told V8 Sleuth.
“I came here to enjoy myself and do my best because lately Ryan [Hansford’s] Torana been the pace, and I knew the big engine cars would be fast here so when it evolved and I felt really sorry for Ryan because I am very fond of him as a bloke and I was good friends with his dad.
“But, you’ve got to be there at the finish and I have had many championships slip from my grasp in the last race or so over many years, so I am very pleased.”
Consistency has been key for the two-time Bathurst 1000 winner and has finished each of the 16 races held in the 2021 season, including one win at Symmons Plains earlier this year.
The consistency and reliability of his #18 Holden Torana, especially when other competitors have struck trouble throughout the year, has been a huge reason why Bowe is leaving Bathurst with the 2021 title.
It’s something that Bowe says is down to the members and supporters of himself and the team.
“I am pleased for the Bendigo Retro guys, they have done a terrific job on it, we have finished every race this year, so that is a testament to their prep because we haven’t got mega money to spend so they do a really good job.
“The people over many years that have supported me, like when I stopped Supercars in 2007, I fell into a very deep depression period, and the signs on the car and the people and generally all of them are friends in some way or another and they have supported me so I wouldn’t have been able to do it without them.
“These really are great cars and I’ve got great hope for the future with ARG and the new administration that’s going to go to way bigger things because it deserves to as a category.”
Bowe has had his fair share of issues in the final rounds of previous years, losing the title after being agonisingly close to having the trophy in his hands.
Bowe finished runner-up behind Steven Johnson in 2019, losing the title by only 71 points.
Having won an Australian Touring Car Championship in 1995, Bowe knows what it takes to put a successful year together.
“I’ve been aware for may years that to win any sort of championship, whether it be Supercars or GT’s, or whatever, you’ve got to be consistent, you can’t have DNF’s, so you fight your battles, you pick your fights, it’s been terrific.
“I’ve had some really good races with lots of people over this weekend even, the guys are hard racers.
“People may look at the cars and think they’re old or whatever, all these guys fight hard for their piece of ground and generally they are good to drive against, they really are.
“It’s good for me after so many years that I can still enjoy it and still fight fair. I really love it.”