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VALE ALAN DRAPER

MOTORSPORT legend John Bowe has paid tribute to renowned engine builder Alan Draper, who passed away last week aged 73.

Draper made his mark in motorsport in his native New Zealand before heading across the ditch where he would guide Dick Johnson Racing to Australian Touring Car Championship success.

It was there that Bowe came across Draper, and he would turn to him during later stints at Cat Racing/PAE Motorsport and Brad Jones Racing.

“First of all, he was a good bloke,” Bowe told V8 Sleuth.

“He made an impact on the teams he was with and the people he was with.

“Back in those DJR days, the team didn’t have 60 people, it was a small operation and everybody was quite close.

“DJR at the time had the fastest Sierras in the world and that was a lot to do with Alan.

“And then later on when I was at Cat Racing, I asked them to employ him to do the engines.

“In 2001, we could have won Bathurst but we had a mishap with a slower car that my co-driver did; that was with Al’s engine.

“Then when I was driving for Brad Jones, we contracted Alan to come and do some work for us on engines and he improved them: we went from back end of the top 10 to the top three or four.

“It’s very sad, especially because he wasn’t that old.”

A 1988 trek to Silverstone during the DJR days brought up a laugh for Bowe.

“I remember lots of things about him and lots of things about us at the time as a team but the most memorable thing is how mad he was as a driver in England when we were there for the Tourist Trophy,” he recalled.

“He was in charge of transport – we had one of those transit vans with seats in it and he was driving.

“My god, I have never been so scared in all my life!

“They were a good group. You need a good group to go good in racing.”

At this weekend’s Auckland SuperSprint, the DJR Mustangs are carrying the message: “In Memory of Alan Draper”.

Bowe was also racing this weekend at Pukekohe in the Archibalds Historic Touring Cars category but has since had to withdraw due to a piston failure.

V8 Sleuth extends its condolences to Draper’s family and friends.

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