With plenty to race for in the remaining months of 2021, take a look at how the seasons of our regular Shannons Motorsport Australia Championships categories are shaping up.
Gulf Western Oil Touring Car Masters
The Gulf Western Oil Touring Masters (TCM) has managed three rounds this year, but a fourth round at Bathurst later this year gives the category a chance to award a Series winner.
It’s been an exciting year for TCM, having enjoyed three different events and three great tracks, as well introducing a new performance-based driver seeding system to be introduced next year,
After three rounds, the title fight is shaping up to go right down to the final race with the popular cars always providing a good show on the iconic roads of Mount Panorama.
Rounds so far
Race Tasmania– Symmons Plains
– Race one: Adam Garwood
– Race two: Adam Garwood
– Race three: John Bowe
Repco Supercars Championship – Mount Panorama 500
– Race one: Ryal Harris
– Race two: Ryal Harris
– Race three: Ryan Hansford
Shannons Motorsport Australia Championships – Sydney Motorsport Park
– Race one: Ryan Hansford
– Race two: Ryan Hansford
– Race three: Steve Johnson
Repco Bathurst 1000 – 30 November – 5 December
The Leader – John Bowe
It’s not often a driver has just one win to their name yet leads a national series, but in John Bowe’s case, it’s proving quite true.
The Australian legend is enjoying a slight lead over three-time race winner Ryan Hansford and it all comes down to his consistency.
Of the nine official races run this year, Bowe has finished all bar two inside the top five – his worst result being a P11 in race one of Sydney Motorsport Park.
Of course, Bowe’s biggest highlight of the year was his long awaited 100th TCM race win during the opening round in Tasmania- becoming just the fourth person to reach a century of race wins in a national category.
Bowe had to wait 12 months to get that win, but it was always a matter of when, not if he could get it.
Symmons Plains also proved to be his most profitable weekend this season with the Tasmanian finishing his home round with two-second place finishes and the milestone victory.
Unfortunately, he’s been unable to get another since then, but the 67-year-old has still enjoyed two podiums and two top fives, while a sixth place in Sydney rounds out his pool of results.
With just one round remaining at circuit where Bowe is very familiar with reaching the chequered flag in first place, the four-time class champion could likely add another trophy to his overflowing cabinet.
John Bowe – 445 points
Ryan Hansford – 435
Marcus Zukanovic – 398
Cameron Tilley – 398
Steve Johnson –387
Ryal Harris – 332
Jim Pollicina – 309
Tony Karanfilovski – 290
Andrew Fisher – 272
Mark King – 266
In what is arguably one of the most competitive seasons in the category’s history, every driver in the top 10 has a mathematical chance of winning the title at Bathurst.
A maximum of 200 points are up for grabs in the final round, with 60 points going for a win in the three official races along with the potential 20 points of finishing the Trophy Race.
As mentioned, Bowe currently leads the way after three rounds but Ryan Hansford is right on his tail and only 10 points separates the two stars.
Race wins have come more often for Hansford, including two at Sydney Motorsport Park, but a DNF at Bathurst could potentially be the difference between winning the title and falling just short.
Less than 50 points behind Bowe are Marcus Zukanovic and Cameron Tilley in equal third. Despite the deficit, both should consider themselves well and truly in the title fight and although neither have won races this year, they have done more than enough to be in the position they are in.
From a results point of view, Zukanovic’s three podiums at Bathurst earlier this year far outshines Tilley’s best result of fourth – a position he has achieved on three occasions, yet Tilley has finished every race in the top five except for two.
Nevertheless both drivers are highly capable of winning races and the final round could serve as the best time to get their first ones for the year.
Although 10 drivers have a mathematical chance, just five would consider themselves a chance to win it with the fifth placed Steve Johnson the only other major contender.
Johnson is the bona fide star of the category and has won the series three times, as well as having spent more than 1300 days on top of the leaderboard since claiming his first title in 2017.
As the most recent race winner, Johnson is definitely the one to watch out for.
Feature Photo: Speed Shots Photography