John Bowe: Great news about Tassie

  • 12/08/2014
  • By John Bowe
  • Virgin Australia Supercars Championship

A new five year deal has just been completed and that ensures the continuation of V8 Supercar Championship rounds in my home state ... that really pleases me!

I'm not a fan of Governments in general, be they State or Federal, too much bulldust for my liking. But in this case I must congratulate the Tasmanian Liberal Government for their commitment in extending their support of the Symmons Plains circuit.

I grew up at Symmons Plains, I raced there as a kid and I have a strong attachment to the place. Tassie people love their motorsport and have always supported the V8 Supercars in droves.

Being a remote part of Australia I feel it's essential areas such as Tasmania and far North Queensland get a look and experience our awesome sport.

Tasmania has produced a few talented drivers, so without Symmons Plains, none of us would have even started racing. There'd potentially be no John Goss, Andrew Miedecke, Marcos Ambrose or yours truly to name but a few.

Marcos had his first race at Symmons Plains, there was an opportunity and the rest is history. What an outstanding weekend Marcos had, another win at Watkins Glen in Nationwide and so close in the big one.

I for one, think he should stay in the US if he has the opportunity and can put a deal together. Sure the game has changed a lot here, while NASCAR is a different beast - he won't have forgotten how to drive. He's had massive seat time ... reckon he'd sure give 'em a rattle were he to come home!

Maybe, we'll never know the answer to that one...

Back to Symmons Plains, I remember clearly being out braked at the end of the straight in my Formula Vee by a bloke called Allan Simpson, I learned lots at that track, it was my playground while I learnt my craft in the early years ... like so many before and after me.

Funnily enough, of the dozen or more rounds in Touring Cars I raced in Tassie, I won only one! So much for the home track advantage, and nearly always, Dick Johnson flogged me, he was very cruel I thought - haha!

There have been over forty Championship tin top races in Tassie, that's what my dad calls them. Long may it continue and good on the new Premier - that's a thumbs up from JB!

Now, that brings me to the subject of street tracks, don't get me wrong, I love the vibe of these races that help showcase motorsport to a wider audience. But we must also provide the playing field for tomorrow's Champions.

It is very pleasing to hear that V8 Supercars shares my view and are working with CAMs to help establish new circuits and find funding to assist those that currently exist. Already there are exciting ventures in South Australia and Toowomba, plus the recent upgrades to the Barbagallo circuit in the West and the continuing support of the NT Government in Darwin of the Hidden Valley track.

It still would be great to have more circuits around the place to encourage young people, boys and girls, to have a go and begin their careers. Who knows where the next V8 Supercars Champion might come from.

Take far North Queensland (Townsville) for instance, there is no permanent race circuit there, and there certainly needs to be for future motorsport. I think the most northern circuits are Morgan Park and Queensland Raceway - and they are just over the border.

Like most new infrastructure projects, there needs funding - there's a very active and group working who have a fantastic plan with Townsville City Council support. The DECAMAG group only need funding - a common problem.

The Townsville proposal has significant merit and the folks heading the project are across most aspects - I hope for them the authorities support the new circuit proposal.

NSW also needs another permanent circuit ... urgently in my view. We've lost Oran Park and Amaroo Park and no new facility planned anywhere. Sure, there's been lots of chatter but that's been the extent to date.

Wouldn't it also be great to see Calder Park upgraded and back in action? It's all there, the facilities need improving and safety brought in line with today's standards and we could have an active race circuit.

There are tens of thousands of racers in this country who race for fun, sport and enjoyment. We'd be providing a facility that could minimise the potential for illegal street racing ... that in itself would be a valuable community service.

On a personal note - for a number of years I've been an Ambassador for beyondblue.

I've spoken openly about my battle with depression and was very saddened to learn of the loss of Robin Williams, he too was a sufferer and lost his battle to this terrible illness.

Please, if you have friends/family, workmates and you're concerned about them or their behaviour - I ask you to encourage them to seek help. Their local doctor is a starting point or contact beyondblue directly.

It's the first step that can be difficult, there is help waiting ... it's so close!

Cheers,

JB

Follow John Bowe on Facebook. Bowe is supported by Wilson Security, Dunlop Super Dealers and Coates Hire, and competing in the 2014 Touring Car Masters Championship.

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