ATCC: Bathurst report

SUNDAY FEB. 25, 1996 MT. PANORAMA, Bathurst. N.S.W, AUSTRALIA... Australian Touring Car racing's Old Guard struck back with a vengeance at Mount Panorama, Bathurst with defending champion John Bowe taking a perfect 3 from 3 result in round 3 of...

SUNDAY FEB. 25, 1996 MT. PANORAMA, Bathurst. N.S.W, AUSTRALIA... Australian Touring Car racing's Old Guard struck back with a vengeance at Mount Panorama, Bathurst with defending champion John Bowe taking a perfect 3 from 3 result in round 3 of the 1996 Shell Australian Touring Car Championships. Bowe led home Ford teammate Dick Johnson and Holden factory driver Peter Brock to bring an end to the stunning debut season of 21 year old sensation Craig Lowndes.

Starting from pole Bowe briefly lost the start to Brock but retook the 9 times Bathurst enduro winner on turn 3 and was never headed despite several desperate late braking moves by Brock late in the race. Former 500cc motorcycle world champ Wayne Gardner continued his consistent 1996 with a close third ahead of a fast finishing Lowndes.

Race Two stared sensationally when at the end of lap one Lowndes pulled a suicidal, and extremely dangerous overtaking move on Wayne Gardner at the end of the long and very fast Conrod straight. Both cars were forced off with Gardner in particular extremely lucky not to have made high speed contact with the pit entrance wall. If that was not enough drama, at the top of the mountain a stray dog was almost collected by the leaders on lap two.

Falcon driver Glen Seton was lucky to avoid the wall when a tyre let go at around the mid way point of the race, while Peter Brock suffered from a persistent high speed misfire that forced him back through the field. Bowe took first again from Dick Johnson, Larry Perkins and Neil Crompton.

After the incident in heat two Wayne Gardner and Craig Lowndes exchanged pleasantries in the pits and stewards later fined Lowndes $1000 after he admited full responsibility for the incident. It may well be put down to his inexperience but Lowndes move on Gardner at this track in particular had the very real potential to end in tragedy.

After the drama of race two the third and final attack on the mountain was somewhat anti-climactic, with Bowe and Johnson staging a relatively easy one, two with Larry Perkins in third from a fast finishing Brock and Glen Seton who provided the highlight of the race with a fine drive from the rear of the grid.

The teams now prepare for a busy March with support events at both the Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne, the third round of the Shell Australian Touring Car Championships at Tasmania's Symmons Plains and the Gold Coast Indy Car event at Surfers Paradise.

RESULTS RACE ONE DRIVER TEAM CAR JOHN BOWE SHELL/FAI/DICK JOHNSON RACING FORD FALCON PETER BROCK MOBIL/HOLDEN RACING TEAM HOLDEN COMMODORE WAYNE GARDNER COCA COLA/WAYNE GARDNER RACING HOLDEN COMMODORE CRAIG LOWNDES MOBIL/HOLDEN RACING TEAM HOLDEN COMMODORE GLEN SETON FORD CREDIT RACING FORD FALCON

RACE 2 DRIVER TEAM CAR JOHN BOWE SHELL/FAI/DICK JOHNSON RACING FORD FALCON DICK JOHNSON SHELL/FAI/DICK JOHNSON RACING FORD FALCON LARRY PERKINS TEAM CASTROL HOLDEN COMMODORE NEIL CROMPTON COCA COLA/WAYNE GARDNER RACING HOLDEN COMMODORE TONY LONGHURST TEAM CASTROL FORD FALCON

RACE 3 DRIVER TEAM CAR JOHN BOWE SHELL/FAI/DICK JOHNSON RACING FORD FALCON DICK JOHNSON SHELL/FAI/DICK JOHNSON RACING FORD FALCON LARRY PERKINS TEAM CASTROL HOLDEN COMMODORE PETER BROCK MOBIL/HOLDEN RACING TEAM HOLDEN COMMODORE GLEN SETON FORD CREDIT RACING FORD FALCON NEIL CROMPTON COCA COLA/WAYNE GARDNER RACING HOLDEN COMMODORE

OVERALL JOHN BOWE DICK JOHNSON PETER BROCK

SRIES POINTS AFTER ROUND THREE JOHN BOWE 132 CRAIG LOWNDES 115 GLEN SETON 92 DICK JOHNSON 72 PETER BROCK 70 Next Round, Symmons Plains TASMANIA March 17th.

-- Brett Ramsey On line Media consultant

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Series General
Drivers Neil Crompton , Wayne Gardner , Craig Lowndes , John Bowe , Larry Perkins , Peter Brock , Dick Johnson