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Pipped by the ‘Lap of the Gods’, this BJR Falcon is back in black

ANY other year and John Bowe’s 2m07.9556s time in the Top 10 Shootout for the 2003 Bob Jane T-Marts Bathurst 1000 would have been a memorable pole lap, part of the rich history of Shootout laps at Mount Panorama.

Instead, Greg Murphy’s Kmart Commodore VY sliced a laughable 1.0962-seconds from the Ozemail/Brad Jones Racing BA Falcon’s time and, in doing so, wrote itself into the history books as the car that set the ‘lap of the gods’ on its way to pole position.

The two cars indeed lined up alongside one another on the front row of the grid for that year’s Great Race, however they took very different journeys in the months and years that followed.

While the Kmart Commodore went on to win the race the next day at Bathurst, the black Falcon finished two laps down in 10th, Bowe deposited into the sand in the latter stages while fighting with Steve Richards.

Now the ex-Brad Jones Racing Falcon has been returned to its original colours after a major restoration and rebuild in New Zealand that has spanned the last few years.

The car, raced by John Bowe during the 2003 season in the debut year of the BA Falcon in V8 Supercars as part of a two-car Brad Jones Racing squad, has been restored by Kiwi Richard Atkinson for owner Darrell Breen.

Bowe at Phillip Island in 2003, the debut year of the BA Falcon in V8 Supercars. Photo: an1images.com / Graeme Neander.

It became BJR’s spare chassis in 2004 and was rolled out in CAT/FPR colours for Craig Lowndes to drive during a Ford TV commercial filming day at Eastern Creek early that year.

This particular Falcon was also used by Bowe – in BOC colours – in 2006 after his regular car was damaged in a major crash in New Zealand.

It was in action for the Albury team’s final weekend racing Falcon V8 Supercars – at Phillip Island in 2007 – in the hands of Kiwi Simon Wills.

The car later spent time racing in the Development Series driven by Newcastle-based brothers Drew and Aaren Russell and then in the Kumho V8 Touring Car Series as one of two ex-BJR Falcons owned by Matthew Palmer.

The car’s restoration in New Zealand began in 2018 and its first event is intended to be the SKOPE Classic in Christchurch on the first weekend of February in 2024.

The BJR Falcon in New Zealand. Photo: Supplied.
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