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AIR Grand Final A Smash Hit.


 AIR Grand Final A Smash Hit.Mark Hunt watches on as Vlado Turic launches off the AIR start line

By Mark Humphrey

Adelaide, SA/Aus. 12th April 2016. What a way for Adelaide International Raceway to get back on the Australian drag racing calendar. 12,000 fans over 2 days including an 8,000 strong crowd on qualifying day, Top Fuel cars lighting up the track with 4 second passes, the man John Zappia picking up Top Doorslammer title number 9, Kim Fardella taking over Steve Norman’s role as Australian Super Stock champion, Kylie Tanner picking up her 4th runner up trophy of the season to make her the new queen of Australian Super Street racing, the list goes on.

In what was a concerted effort by the South Australian drag racing community, the ANDRA Grand Final at Adelaide International Raceway (AIR) to celebrate the crowning of Australia’s latest drag racing champions will long be remembered for putting drag racing back on the map in Adelaide. Having sat idle for some months the venue was sparked into life again when Mark Hunt and Maxine Oppes put up the cash to pave the way for the ANDRA Drag Racing Series Grand Final. This was the start of something special as the SA drag racing community got together to put on an unbelievable weekend of drag racing that culminated with the crowning of new national drag racing heroes.

Backing up the financial kick-start provided by Hunt and Oppes were a dedicated team of hard working volunteers led by Mark Lee who did everything from track prep to painting and wiring all in a matter of weeks just to make sure the event would go ahead. ANDRA recognised their efforts with more than 20 recognition plaques given out to the recipients including race director Tim Reidy. Reidy in his acceptance speech spoke of how proud he was to be involved in the event and was quite emotional as he thanked everyone who had contributed to an amazing event. The job Reidy did over the weekend was amazing and one of the reasons the event was such a success.

Another massive contributing reason for the success of the event was Mark Kuhn. The Whyalla Steel City Drags president, along with wife Lia and Whyalla club staff worked tirelessly days before the gates had opened right through the event and when I drove out of the site Monday lunchtime Mark Kuhn was still flat out de-mobilizing the site. What an amazing guy and an amazing drag racing club he represents. Thanks Mark and Lia, Whyalla Steel City Drags, South Coast Raceway for supplying the Xmas tree and timing system, Drag Racing SA members, AIR staff, ANDRA and everyone else who was associated with the event.Whyalla's Mark Kuhn (left) in discussion with ANDRA

After all the smoke had cleared ANDRA presented gold Xmas trees to the winners with recognition also going to their new national plate champions with a formal dinners to complete the crowning organised for a later date.

Winners of the Grand Final were,

Top Fuel exhibition – Wayne Newby

Top Doorslammer – Grant O’Rourke

Top Fuel Motorcycle – Mark Drew

Top Alcohol – Brian Lockman

Super Stock – Kim Fardella / National Champ

Super Compact – Andrew Dyson / National Champ – Matt Lisle

Supercharged Outlaw – Shane Kramer / National Champ – Adam Murrihy

Top Sportsman – Jason Stares / National Champ

Modified Eliminator – Jess Turner / National Champ – Matt Forbes

Super Sedan ­– Michael Jennings / National Champ – John Kapiris

Modified Bike – Bryan Finn / National Champ

Super Street – John Kerr / National Champ – Kylie Tanner

Junior Dragster – Brayden Naylor / National Champ – Michael Naylor

Super Gas – Darryl Stephen / National Champ


Over the next week will pay tribute to Australia’s latest Summit Sportsman Series Champions with individual bracket highlight packages compiled for each champion.

Well what a season it was for Australian sportsman racing. The Summit Sportsman Series has grown to be Australia’s biggest drag racing series with 10 rounds contested in 4 states as well as the Northern Territory. Expect the 2016/17 series to kick off with a double header in the Territory in early July with new tracks also coming on board for the series. 2016/17 will be huge for ANDRA Sportsman Racing.


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