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Wednesday, May 29, 2024


RYAN Hansford hopes to write his own chapter in the Hansford Bathurst story this weekend, as he takes aim at a maiden outright Touring Car Masters title.

The 39-year-old Queenslander is the son of the late Gregg Hansford, who scored victories at Bathurst on both two and four wheels.

Hansford Snr’s success on the Mountain included wins in the 1993 Bathurst 1000 (with Larry Perkins) and 1994 Bathurst 12 Hour (with Neil Crompton).

To win the TCM title at Bathurst, Ryan Hansford will need to overcome another Australian motorsport legend, John Bowe, who he currently trails by 10 points.

“It’s pretty funny, but my first memory of John Bowe is actually him pinching my dad’s drive in the Sierra at the end of 1987!” Ryan laughed.

Ryan Hansford, right, with brother Rhys and Mark Skaife at Bathurst in 2018. Pic: Supplied

Gregg Hansford was replaced by Bowe at Dick Johnson Racing at the end of the 1987 season, the latter going on to win two Bathurst 1000s with the famous team.

“It’s exciting and a bit of an honour to race him at the same time,” added Ryan of Bowe, who also campaigns a Torana in TCM.

“We get on well but I’m sure he’s just as keen as I am to win it. I’m not going to back down from the challenge.

“I think it’s incredible he’s still as competitive as he is, and I hope I am still that fast when I get to that point in my career.”

The 2021 TCM season kicked off with rounds at Symmons Plains, Bathurst and Sydney Motorsport Park but has been idle since May due to COVID-19 induced border restrictions.

Ryan won Race 3 at Bathurst in February and a further two races in Sydney and is eager to get back to Bathurst.

Hansford in action at Symmons Plains earlier this year. Pic: Supplied

“I love going to Bathurst,” he added.

“There’s so much history there with the family, with dad winning on two wheels and four, the 1000 and the 12 Hour, so it’s good to just hang out there and be with the people.

“It’s laid back and casual and a beautiful spot and, of course, it’s an amazing track.

“Every time you go across the top it takes your breath away and the first time you come out of the Elbow and head down the chute, it feels like you’re flying.”

Five drivers are in with a realistic shot at the TCM title.

They also include Marcus Zukanovic (Falcon XD) and Cameron Tilley (Valliant Pacer), who are currently tied on equal third, and Steven Johnson (Falcon XD).

A 20-car field has entered for the November 30-December 5 Repco Bathurst 1000 weekend, which will feature three TCM points races and a Trophy Race showcase.

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