Five Tassie Supercars aces

  • 04/04/2017
  • By Lewis Isaacs
  • Virgin Australia Supercars Championship

As the smallest state in the country, Tasmania has been known to produce some pretty interesting characters.

From beer-guzzling test cricket batting heroes, to European princesses, a champion lumberjack and your grandma’s favourite Hollywood star, Errol Flynn.

Motorsport has been no exception, with the Apple Isle giving Supercars some impressive drivers over the years.

While two-time Bathurst winner John Goss grew up in Tasmania, the veteran hung up his helmet before the Supercars era took hold.

Still, he left some big shoes to fill and those that followed have not disappointed.

David ‘Skippy’ Parsons

Sandown 500, 1997 Parsons partnered Glenn Seton for the enduros in 1997

David ‘Skippy’ Parsons is best known to Supercars fans for his co-driving efforts at Glenn Seton Racing during the 1990s.

Seton’s famous heartbreak at Bathurst in 1995 came after solid stints from Parsons, who had been elevated from the sister entry midway through practice.  

Unlike Seton, Parsons already had a Great Race crown to his name thanks to the controversial 1987 race, where he drove for Peter Brock.

Parsons and Brock had their own #05 car fail early in the race, meaning they jumped into the #10 sister Holden Commodore of Jon Crooke and Peter McLeod.

Though the team did not cross the line first, the win was confirmed months later when the Eggenberger Motorsport Ford Sierras were disqualified.

Parsons’ career also included a victory in the Sandown 500, winning the 1993 edition alongside Geoff Brabham in a GSR Falcon EB.

Parsons also earned his unique place in racing folklore by competing at Bathurst alongside namesake, David ‘Truckie’ Parsons, finishing 11th together in 1999.

Greg Crick

crick Crick became a regular face in Australian motorsport

Launceston car deal dealer Greg Crick’s name was one that would often pop up during Australian Touring Car Championship races in the 1990s.

The Tasmanian was a renowned privateer competitor who also made a name for himself winning the 1992 and '93 Targa Tasmania rallies, the 1991 Sports Sedan Championship and the 2006 Australian GT Championship.

His V8 highlights included co-driving Bob Jones’ Ampol Holden to second in the 1993 Sandown 500 and finishing third overall in the 2002 Development Series.

He even teamed up with fellow Tasmanian Marcos Ambrose for the 2001 Queensland 500, but a difficult run from pole saw Crick elect to step out of the car before Bathurst.

Crick continued to race late into his career, crossing over in Touring Car Masters and Australian GT simultaneously. 

Owen Kelly

Kelly's last enduro campaign came in 2012 with Kelly Racing Kelly's last enduro campaign came in 2012 with Kelly Racing

While he shares one of the most famous surnames in the Virgin Australia Supercars Championship, Devonport’s Owen Kelly is no relation to Rick or Todd.

But that didn’t stop him from joining the team for a number of enduro campaigns including stints alongside Rick in 2010 and 2011.

Never competing in the category for an entire season, Kelly’s Supercars highlight is a third-place finish at Sandown in 2007 when driving for the Ford Performance Racing squad.

He is also a race winner in the Development Series, scoring a memorable victory after starting from pitlane at Oran Park in 2007.

Like his fellow Tasmanian Marcos Ambrose, Kelly also headed to the US to race in NASCAR, dovetailing his drives over there with appearances in enduros.

Out of the Supercars enduros since 2012, Kelly is again working on a deal to compete in the NASCAR Xfinity Series road races with Joe Gibbs this season.

John Bowe

Bowe Win Bath 94 AN1 Images Bowe scored his second Bathurst win in 1994

Hall of Famer, series champion, and two-time Bathurst winner John Bowe is a legend of the Supercars paddock.

The Devonport-born racer became a household name as Dick Johnson’s team-mate as the pair dominated the category in the late 1980s.

With the introduction of the V8 era, Bowe would continue to be a constant front-runner, winning the 1995 title in addition to the ’94 Bathurst 1000 and ’94 and ‘95 Sandown 500s.

What has also endeared Bowe to fans and increased his status within the sport is his longevity.

Retiring at the end of 2007 with a then record 225 starts, Bowe continued to race in other categories and has added five Touring Car Masters titles and a Bathurst 12 Hour win to his achievements.

Marcos Ambrose

Marcos  Ambrose Marcos Ambrose started his successful 2004 title defense in perfect style at the Clipsal 500

He came, he saw, he conquered.

Marcos Ambrose’s stint in Supercars was short, but certainly memorable.

Ambrose burst onto the scene in 2001 with a pole position on debut at the Australian Grand Prix support races.

Two years later, the Launceston-born racer would end a dominant run of five consecutive Holden Racing Team titles to claim his first championship for Ford and Stone Brothers Racing. 

He backed it up again in 2004, before taking on the challenge of NASCAR in the USA in 2006 and becoming one of the country’s most famous racing exports.

A return in 2015 with the newly formed DJR Team Penske did not match the results of his earlier tenure and he pulled the pin from full-time racing two events into the season.

Though he returned to the Pirtek Enduro Cup, Ambrose left the sport to settle in his native Tasmania with the reputation as enigmatic figure, whose talents behind the wheel were prodigious.

Stay In The Know
Sign up to the Virgin Australia Supercars Championship Newsletter