Saturday Sleuthing: Bowe’s final Falcon

  • Virgin Australia Supercars Championship
  • |
  • 31/03/2017
  • By Aaron Noonan, V8 Sleuth

Next weekend the Virgin Australia Supercars Championship heads to Symmons Plains in Tasmania for the Tyrepower Tasmania SuperSprint, so thought it timely to focus on the history of a car relevant to Tassie racing legend John Bowe in this week’s installment of Saturday Sleuthing.

Bowe continues to race in Touring Car Masters and in a wide range of cars in historic motorsport, though this time 10 years ago the 1995 Australian Touring Car Championship and two-time Bathurst 1000 winner was winding down his full-time Supercars career.

Driving the #111 Glenfords-sponsored Falcon BF for Paul Cruickshank Racing he completed the 2007 season, his last spent as a full-time driver in the championship.

So, what happened to that blue Ford he drove in that season?

To tell the history of Bowe’s last Falcon Supercar you actually have to wind the clock back four years earlier when it was originally built by John Briggs Motorsport in Queensland and driven by Dean Canto in yellow Betta Electrical colours for the season.

Triple Eight Race Engineering purchased the Briggs team partway through that season with the deal completed in time for the Sandown 500, meaning this particular chassis spent the latter part of 2003 racing under the Triple Eight banner.

Adelaide, 2003 Adelaide, 2003

Brand new cars were built for the following season so this car - JBMS 006 to be particular about its identity - was resigned to show car duties for 2004 as Triple Eight started with a clean slate with its new Falcons.

Supercars Development Series team Howard Racing acquired the car for the 2005 HPDC Series with Adam Macrow at the helm and backing from Betta Electrical. A heavy crash with Tony D’Alberto at Mallala caused enough damage to force this particular car to be sidelined for the remainder of the year.

Fellow DVS squad Paul Cruickshank Racing made the step up into the ‘main game’ for 2006 and acquired this car for Marcus Marshall to drive. It was re-specced by Stone Brothers Racing for PCR to order to accommodate an SBR engine and the interior re-sprayed from yellow to grey.

This particular car also gave Jonathon Webb his debut in the Supercars Championship that season as he signed to co-drive with Marshall at Sandown and Bathurst.

However, Marshall had a late race crash in the 1000 that severely damaged the #20 Ford and forced the small team to move into an ex-Larkham Falcon for the rest of the season.

Adelaide, 2005

Repaired for the 2007 season, the JBMS 006 chassis became John Bowe’s after a full rebuild where it also received some Triple Eight updates. While Webb again returned to the team to co-drive in the endurance races, Bowe also had an additional body in the car at Oran Park when he took none other than former team-mate and boss Dick Johnson for a hot lap.

“Geez he’s hard on the equipment,” Johnson told Auto Action magazine post-ride. “But he’s not bad for an old bloke!”

Bowe’s final appearance that year came at Phillip Island where he started his 225th ATCC/Supercars Championship round, a record that stood until Russell Ingall passed the mark only a few years ago.

The Cruickshank team acquired an ex-Triple Eight Falcon for the 2008 season for Fabian Coulthard to drive and sold the former Briggs car off to New Zealand to Garry Carter, whose sons Dwayne and Matt have raced ever since in a multitude of categories, including the Thailand Supercar Championship.

Now with fatter wheel arches, a six-litre engine, launch control and traction control, it’s quite a beast and made an appearance at Highlands Motorsport Park in NZ when the new venue opened in 2013, competing in the three-hour South Island Endurance Series race with none other than Shane van Gisbergen as one of its pilots.

Adelaide, 2006 Adelaide, 2006

“We put the GT3-sized tyres on it so in doing that we had to widen the rear guards,” Matt Carter told our V8 Sleuth from New Zealand this week.

“The original five-litre engine went out to six-litre because it was cheaper to maintain. We’re weekend warrior racers but the biggest thing for us is the time it takes to go racing. Here in NZ we have the South Island Endurance Series and there’s a lot of homemade cars so we decided to buy this car to race in it.

“We actually used to own one of Bowe’s old OzEmail AU Falcons, though the history of this car is a total coincidence - we don’t have a man crush on JB or anything like that!

“Over the last few years the South Island series has evolved into GT3 cars and become a premier event in NZ motorsport. We punch above our weight compared to the guys we have raced against, guys like Craig Baird, Daniel Gaunt and John McIntyre.

“If we can get the old girl to finish we normally get a few wins. We’ve parked it up now and race a Mercedes SLS in the series, but the Falcon is still sitting there and we do some club days in it and we run in the GT1 category at Pukekohe when the Supercars come over here; it’s on the agenda for us to do that again this year (in November).”

If you have a car you’d like to see featured by our V8 Sleuth this year, send him an email here or visit the website here to get in contact.

Saturday Sleuthing returns on April 15 with a story that focuses on an interesting car in the Kumho Tyre Australian V8 Touring Car Series that will kick off its 2017 season at the WD-40 Phillip Island SuperSprint the week after.

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