AUSTRALIAN MOTORSPORT FIRST Johnson & Bowe make it a Century! In a first for Australian motorsport, Dick Johnson and John Bowe will make an all-time record 100 Shell Australian Touring Car Championship (SATCC) start together, at Calder Park (Melbourne) on Sunday.
The duo, who have won countless events and championships in their time together, will be celebrating a century together in the country's premier professional motor racing series at Calder Park, site of the beginning of their extraordinary racing partnership 11 years ago.
While both Johnson and Bowe have already achieved the SATCC "century" milestone individually, this is the first time any driver combination in Australian motorsport history has celebrated 100 starts together as teammates.
"They talk about centuries all the time in cricket but you don't often hear of it in motorsport because it's such a volatile business, and takes so long to achieve," Shell Helix Racing team leader Dick Johnson says.
"100 individual starts in something like the Shell series is an accomplishment on its own, but to clock up 100 starts with the on teammate is a real feat, especially these days when V8 Supercar racing is so competitive."
While 1995 Shell Australian Touring Car Champion John Bowe celebrated his own 100 start in the ATCC at the beginning of this season, the Tasmanian lists this milestone as very significant for everyone in the team.
"This is obviously an important landmark for both Dick and I personally, especially as were the first to achieve it, but I think it says a lot about the quality of the team Dick has put together ... it's a reflection on the long-term commitment of the team's sponsors and the performance of all its personnel.
"And I know this is going to sound like a cliche but it does only seem like yesterday that all of this began ... it certainly doesn't feel as though Dick and I have made 99 starts together," John Bowe says.
In their 11 seasons together, Johnson and Bowe have clocked up three Touring Car titles between them, and shared the driving to win two Bathurst and two Sandown endurance races. And the dynamic duo show no sign of ending the partnership.
"JB's great to work with, I can honestly say I have never had as good a working partnership with anyone as I have with him.
"He and I are quite different in our approach, each of us brings strengths to the partnership, and we have a common focus, which is to be as competitive as possible.
"It's a partnership that's really clicked and I can't see any reason to change it."
John Bowe agrees with his Queensland-based teammate, and attributes the successful partnership to the diversity of their individual characters.
"As they say, opposites attract, and I dont think you could get two people at more opposite ends of the spectrum than Dick and I, which is why I think we get on so well. "There's no doubt that over the years our friendship has grown which has only served to strengthen our driving partnership, which has always worked extremely well," Bowe says.
"We've enjoyed a lot of success together and I look forward to plenty more." But while both Johnson and Bowe agree they always aim to win, victory at Sunday's eighth round of the Shall Australian Touring Car Championship would have special meaning. "A win on Sunday would be the perfect way to celebrate our 100 start together," Dick Johnson says. "It'll be tough, but then it always is, but of course there could be no better way of celebrating the century than a one-two for the Shell Helix Falcons on Sunday."