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HomeNewsOn-the-mend Johnson’s TCM title motivation

On-the-mend Johnson’s TCM title motivation

STEVEN Johnson is back to near full health as he looks to clinch a fourth Touring Car Masters title this weekend.

Struck down by a chest infection, Johnson was on struggle street at this month’s Bathurst International where he was a circumspect fifth, seventh and seventh in the three championship races.

That nevertheless ensured he took a 75-point buffer over Ryan Hansford into the Adelaide decider.

“I had a chest infection and that wasn’t great, it was quite heavy on my chest,” Johnson told V8 Sleuth.

“I was very drained with energy and breath, the lowest I’ve ever been, and just had no endurance at all.

“I wasn’t able to see my regular doctor up until after Bathurst and since then I have definitely been on a good incline in recovery.”

Steven Johnson. Pic: Ross Gibb

Now feeling better, the 49-year-old qualified second behind Adam Garwood to position himself for the weekend ahead.

Johnson is particularly pumped to try to deliver a title for Russell and Julie Hancock, who own the #33 Ford Mustang Trans Am he races.

“They’ve been friends for a long time, they’ve invested a lot of money in TCM and building this new car, and they have obviously invested in the sport before they had this car as well,” said Johnson, whose son Jett is also racing in Adelaide in Super3.

“To be able to give back something to them, that I guess they thought probably might have been out of their reach, for me that would be the most gratifying thing.

“They’re an amazing family, they have been amazing to me, they’re all like best mates and it feels like I have been friends with their family for 20 years. That would make it really special for me.

“I know how excited they were when we won that first race at Bathurst last year and then obviously we have won a few since then which they have been stoked with, but to get the championship, and they have sacrificed a lot – it would be sensational for all of us.”

That’s not to say he will take a totally conservative approach, though.

“My goal is to go out and win races. Sure, I’m not going to be doing anything risky regarding passing manoeuvres or whatever to possibly create my own problems, but I’m still a racer, I still want to win races, they (the Hancocks) still want to win races,” said Johnson.

“I know there is a championship on the line but you never know when you may win your next race either, so if there is an opportunity to win a race, I’ll be trying to win a race.”

Johnson finished seventh in this morning’s reverse-grid Trophy Race, which was marred by a heavy crash for Danny Buzadzic.

Race 1 is scheduled for 4:15pm local time (4:45pm AEDT) today.

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