Nunn & Norman Take Super Stock Spoils
By Mark Humphrey
Willowbank, Qld/Aus. 24th June 2015. Super Stock’s in-form heavy hitters Rob Nunn and Steve Norman faced off in this year’s Fuchs 2015 Winter Nationals at Willowbank Raceway with Nunn taking out the win to back up what was a consistent week of racing for the team. Norman doesn’t go away empty handed though having clinched the Summit Sportsman Series 2014/15 Super Stock national title with his runners up placing.
Last time out at Willowbank for round 4 of the Summit Sportsman Series had Nunn picking up the runners up trophy in Super Stock while for Norman he picked up the round 3 win in his home state of South Australia to back up his Perth round 2 semi-final placing confirming his status as the new Australian Champion.
For Norman the heat was on from heat 1 of the Winternationals where he was up against Clint George in the Chevy Cavalier. A superb start by George had Norman stretching for the win with a 7.865 on an 8.49 index with George super impressive posting a 7.397 on a 7.83 index. Next up for Norman was West Aussie and championship contender Brett Glover in a Mazda. Norman got away well and cruised to the win with Glover striking trouble on the line. That ended Glover’s chances of becoming the national champ and virtually assured Norman that he would be the new king of Super Stock. Into the semi for Norman to face off against another crow eater in Tom Dimitropoulos driving a Chevy Camaro. Dimitropoulos has had a consistent year in Super Stock and only needed to have that bit of luck to be knocking on the door of the championship. Always there abouts, Dimitropoulos got the start on Norman but watched as Norman had the legs to pull away from a slowing Dimitropoulos posting a 9.258 on his 8.17 index with Dimitropoulos well off his mark with a 11.107 on a 9.36 index.
On the other side of the draw Nunn had worked his way past Rodney Moore in his Hilux Ute in round 1 with a clean 7.244 on a 7.71 index with Moore posting a 7.989 on an 8.35 Index. Nunn was next up against Jai Schluter in a XC Falcon with Schluter well off the pace posting a 12.575 on a 9.45 after red lighting the start. Nunn cruised through with an 8.281 on a 7.47 index to advance to the semi-final where Jim Ioannidis in a VS Commodore was waiting. Ioannidis like Dimitropoulos has had a consistent year and was holding down 3rd spot in the championship coming into the Winternationals. Ioannidis barely got the start from Nunn with both boys on the gas from the get go. In the end Nunn got the nod just a whisker ahead of Ioannidis with a 7.153 on a 7.47 index to Ioannidis posting a 9.203 on a 9.43 index. Ioannidis would drop a spot to finish 4th in the national series.
So the final was set up as an enthralling encounter between the two in-form boys in Super Stock racing. Unfortunately for the thousands of spectators on hand to watch the two go head to head Norman had pulled a big red light to hand the win to Nunn on a plate. In the end it was a well-deserved win to Rob Nunn and an equally well deserved championship win to the most consistent racer in the bracket this season in Steve Norman. I can remember Norman pickup up his win in Adelaide saying it was his first win in something like 20 odd years, well now he can add a national championship crown to his feats.
Super Stock racing kicks off again with round 1 of the 2015/16 Summit Sportsman Series at Alice Springs on July 25-26. Sportingscribe.com will be on deck to catch all the Super Stock action.
For more info on the Summit series go to: http://andra.com.au/latest-news/summit-championship.html
Super Stock Video Package
Smith Makes Nullarbor Crossing Worthwhile.
By Mark Humphrey
Willowbank, Qld/Aus. 22nd June 2015. West Australian Ross Smith made the longest trip in drag racing coming from Western Australia to compete at the Fuchs 2015 Winter Nationals at Willowbank Raceway in Queensland. Smith made the trip worthwhile when he beat home Victorian Rob Cassar in the final to take out the 2015 Winter Nationals Competition Bike bracket and in doing so also picked up the national championship for the division.
Smith was one of 19 riders to contest the bracket and had the toughest task of all when he faced off against Warrnambool Drag Racing Club president Tony Frost in round 1. Frost was considered one of the favourites to take out the bracket with consistency his trade mark. Fortunately for Smith the race was a non-event when Frost was too eager to get away and cherried the start. From there Smith advanced to the final courtesy of wins against Andy Roberts in the quarters and Niki Zakrzewski in semi final #1 after she also cherried her start.
On the other side of the draw Cassar faced off against Todd Johnson with the winner meeting in form rider Blair Pennington in the quarter final. Cassar after getting away slowly managed to pick up the round 1 win and moved on to pair up against Pennington. The quarter final race was a close affair with Cassar just getting home over Pennington to advance to the semi final where Peter Puznik was waiting. The semi final race was another tight affair for Cassar with the start line advantage enough to hold on for the win and a long overdue finals appearance. Cassar during his runners up presentation speech joked that it had been 15 years since making a final.
Unfortunately for Cassar he was left on the line in the final and was never in the hunt for the gold tree as Smith held the advantage right through the pass to take out the win. It was a fitting end to a bracket that was once again well supported by Queensland riders with a good number of interstate riders joining in.
Competition bike has a quick spell before round 1 of the 2015/16 Summit Sportsman Series rolls into Alice Springs for the 2 day meet starting on the 25th of July.
Sportingscribe.com will be on deck to capture all the highlights of competition bike drag racing.
For more info on the event go to: http://andra.com.au/series/calendar/2015-16-calendar.html
Competition Bike Video Package
Matt Lisle The Toast Of Super Compact
By Mark Humphrey
Willowbank, Qld/Aus. 21st June 2015. Matt Lisle is the talk of Super Compact racing after picking up the 2015 Fuchs Winter Nationals Super Compact win with a solo pass in the final.
After dispatching Michael Baghdadi in the semi-final Lisle was due to face Scott Porter in the final. Porter who had a solo pass in his semi-final unfortunately hurt his car in the solo pass and was unable to make it to the start line for the final automatically handing over the Winters’ win to Lisle.
The bracket was contested by a dozen vehicles including the newly crowned 2014/15 champion Dominic Rigoli who unfortunately was eliminated in the 1st round as was another couple of heavy hitters in Chris Tait and Kelly Bettes. Rod Harvey dropped a 250mph pass which undoubtedly was one of the highlights for the bracket but was knocked out by Lisle in the quarters.
The bracket has plenty of cars with enormous potential but trying to harness that potential into a qualifying pass consistently proved difficult for most with the exception of Lisle. There is no doubt the bracket is exciting and with a touch more R&D you can expect the bracket to be at the forefront of drag racing entertainment.
Low ET for the bracket went to Scott Porter (6.312) with New Zealander Rod Harvey picking up the Top Speed with a 250.41mph pass.
The Super Compact class will be back in action on July 25-26 when Alice Springs host round 1 of the 2015/16 Summit Sportsman Series.
Sportingscribe.com will be there to capture all the Super Compact action.
For more info on the Summit Sportsman Series go to:
Super Compact Video Package
Queenslanders Dominate Top Sportsman
By Mark Humphrey
Willowbank, Qld/Aus. 19th June 2015. Queenslander Daniel Morris picked up the Winter Nationals Top Sportsman win at last weekend’s Fuchs 2015 Winter Nationals at Willowbank Raceway in Queensland Australia beating home another Queenslander in Tony Agius. In fact it was an all Queensland finals series with Steve Somer and Terry Seng lining up in the semi-finals.
Coming into the event the national series was up for grabs with Victorian Stu McBain sharing the lead with New South Welshman Steve Fowler. Both drivers were capped on 160 points and looked to have a fair say in the weekend’s proceedings. Just back a touch from the pair was South Aussie pilot in Paul Russo driving a wicked Chevy Belair. Although the Winter Nationals crown was on offer the series plate held just as much importance for these teams with any of the 3 teams in the mix to take out the national series.
Enter round 1 of eliminations and the very first heat. Stu McBain up against Terry Seng in his street driven Brock Commodore. Seng competed in the inaugural Street Machine “Speed Week” last year in the car which is capable of running in the 160 - 180mph bracket over the distance. This should have been reasonably comfortable for McBain as Seng was still trying to find some consistency in the car. Although Seng had put down some big passes over the weekend his times were all over the shop during qualifying which should have suited McBain who is noted for his super consistency. Both cars staged to take the start and you wouldn’t believe it, McBain pulled a big cherry ending his national crown campaign. Russo was next in line 2 heats later and amazingly he too fell over leaving Steve Fowler with the task of winning his round 1 heat to take out the national crown. Fowler had it all before him and the big cubed Pontiac didn’t let him down taking out the heat win and in doing so the Top Sportsman national crown. Good on Steve for taking out the crown but I would have expected the other boys to have made it a bit harder for him. Man that was so easy but that’s what the pressure of a Winter Nationals can place on a driver. Fowler made it to the round of 16 but was beaten by Harry Somer.
Seng had reached the semi courtesy of wins against Pete Anastasopoulos and David Morris and faced off against Agius who was there courtesy of round 16 solo pass and a quarter final win against Neil Maxwell. Agius got the start in the semi with Seng stranded on the line for more than half a second. The race was over before it started with Agius posting an 8.058 on a 7.97 dial in. Seng posted a 10.814 on a 7.41 dial in. In the other semi-final Daniel Morris was up against Steve Somer who managed to take out the Donnelly entry in the round of 16 and then Ronald Allgood in the quarters. Morris was there courtesy of a round 16 win against Troy Daniel following that up with a quarter final win against Harry Somer. Morris got the better of the starts and maintained his advantage throughout the race posting an 8.309 on an 8.26 dial in. Somer was off the pace from the get go and finished his campaign with a 9.929 on an 8.22 dial in.
The final was a tough affair with both drivers locking in low 8’s. Morris dialled in with an 8.29 moving it out slightly from his 8.26 semi dial in while Agius had also backed out his dial in from a 7.97 semi-final dial in to a more comfortable 8.03 dial in. Morris picked up the start by a whisker and held the advantage mid track. Agius had to hustle for the win and in the end posted an 8.019 on an 8.03 giving the win to Morris who drove a superb race posting an 8.320 on an 8.29 dial in to take out the win. The team was ecstatic with Morris’s win as they now go into the history books as the first ever winners of the Winter Nationals Top Sportsman bracket.
Although it was a shortened season the experiment by ANDRA with the category was a huge success with full fields of quality sedans in all rounds.
The Summit Sportsman series heads to Alice Springs next month for round 1 of the 2015/16 season. Sportingscribe.com will be there to catch all the action over the 2 day round along with the entire Summit Sportsman series. If it happens in Summit racing chances are sportingscribe.com will catch it on film.
For more info on the Summit Sportsman Series go to: http://http://andra.com.au/series/calendar/2015-16-calendar.html
For more info on the Willowbank Summit round go to: http://www.willowbankraceway.com.au/
ANDRA Top Sportsman Video Package
Parker Has Memorable Send Off – Drew Dominates
By Mark Humphrey
Willowbank, Qld/Aus. 15th June 2015. The fairy tale didn’t quite eventuate for Top Fuel Motorcycle rider Phil Parker at this year’s Fuchs Winter Nationals but the team went away from Willowbank Raceway with the memories of their best ever Winter Nationals.
Whilst Parker’s assault on the event petered out at the semi-final stage the same could not be said for West Aussie champ Mark Drew. Coming into the event Drew had virtually an untouchable lead in the national series and only needed to go a round to wrap things up. Drew was untouchable all weekend and finished up with the top speed (219.97mph), low ET (6.380), the Fuchs Top Fuel Motorcycle Winter Nationals crown and to top it off the national crown.
With qualifying done and dusted top qualifier Mark Drew had the bye run in round 1 but that didn’t stop him from chasing that elusive 6.20 ET. Drew had talked about the mark and thought his preparations, the conditions and the track surface were primed for a record breaking pass. A 6.466 @ 218.69 was the best he could pull from the solo run which still had the champ way out in front of the chasing pack. Matheson was up against Porter in the 2nd heat with Matheson locking in a 7.668 @ 159.08 to take the win from a stationary Porter. Things hadn’t gone to plan for Chris Porter over the week and after coming off the bike in practice the week before he just seemed to be out of the groove throughout the weekend. Spann was up next in heat 3 against Guillory but was unable to make it to the grid giving Guillory a solo pass Guillory posted a 6.907 @ 189.58mph. Sentimental favourite Phil Parker was up next in heat 4 against Smith. Both guys got away slow off the line but Parker managed to get things together to take out the heat with a 7.29 @ 172.3mph pass with Smith cruising over the line in 9.108 seconds at just 119.39mph. Parker was competing in his last ever Top Fuel Motorcycle competition due to health reasons and was soaking up every minute of the event along with the Parker Racing Team.
Into the semis with Drew up against Matheson in semi-final 1. After getting away slowly Drew was able to run down Matheson with a 6.425 pass @ 211.76mph. Matheson put in a creditable 6.96pass @ 175.96mph. Semi-final 2 had Parker up against Guillory with Guillory ending the run of Parker with a consistent 6.909 pass @ 184.72mph. Parker in his last competition run posted his best ET of the nationals with a 7.118 @ 162.45mph to sadly finish his campaign. Talking with Parker after the run he said that he washed off some speed when he realised Darien had the win. Not having been in the saddle since the Heathcote February test, Parker wasn’t showing a lot of faith in the Willowbank lane 1 breaking area and decided to get off it before the finish line. Parker Racing’s Vereen Elwood said the team had a wonderful weekend with lots of racers and fans passing on their best wishes to Phil. She said it was the best racing weekend they have ever had and even noted that people were offering up cures and remedies for Phil’s illness. Talking with Phil on his return to his home base of Geelong you couldn’t help but think there was more in the pipeline. “Yeah Gracie was alive and kicking and got better as the event went on”. Parker went on to say “I have another supercharger I can bolt on to Gracie, clean up a couple of bits and pieces and we’re right to go again” he said. Parker enjoyed his time at the Winters so much so that he intends to get Gracie ready for a test at Sydney Dragway. “Yep I think I’ll round up the team for a test at Sydney in the not too distant future” he said. You could tell by the excitement in his voice that there was a bit left in Gracie and why not get in some more passes while his health allows it as it would need some sort of miracle to be able to contest round 1 of TFM in Adelaide this October.
So onto the final with Drew up against Guillory. Like in his semi run, Guillory picked up more than a tenth on the start and made Drew chase him down. Drew was able to run over the top of Guillory but only just with a final winning pass of 6.447 @ 195.42. Guillory posted his best ET for the event with a slick 6.861 @185.84mph to finish off what was a very successful campaign for Guillory and the bracket. Congratulations to Mark Drew and the rest of the bracket for providing lots and lots of entertainment over the 3 days.
To source images from the event go to: http://www.dragphotos.com.au/
To read additional articles from the event go to: http://www.dragnews.com.au/
To view ANDRA’s race calendar go to: http://andra.com.au/
To view Willowbank Raceway’s site go to: http://www.willowbankraceway.com.au/
Fuchs Winter Nationals Top Fuel Motorcycle Video Package.
Top Alcohol Tops The Show
By Mark Humphrey.
Willowbank, Qld/Aus. 13th June 2015. Talk about a championship with a twist. For spectators and teams alike, nothing could have prepared them for what was about to unfold at the 2015 Fuchs Winter Nationals Top Alcohol bracket.
Going into the 2015 Fuchs Winter Nationals at Willowbank Raceway the Top Alcohol bracket was virtually decided with long time champ Gary Phillips holding a massive lead and needing to go a round to pick up national title #17. What transpired next over 3 days in the Top Alcohol bracket was to say the least unbelievable. Rolling out for his first pass of the weekend was current Aussie champ Gary Phillips. After completing a strong burnout Phillips had the car staged and ready to take national title #17. It was that easy or so it seemed. Barely 20 metres from the start Phillips car hooked hard left and crashed into the wall sending the car a further 100 metres up the track hugging the wall and losing the body spectacularly along the journey. What a massive blow for Phillips but now the opportunity was there for the taking for John Cannuli. Cannuli was the only other driver in the field who could take the crown away from Phillips but needed to make the final to be crowned the 2015 Australian Top Alcohol champion.
Phillips after a short stint in the hospital was back trackside hinting at running another car. This didn’t eventuate leaving the remaining competitors in the bracket to duke it out for the famous Winter Nationals ANDRA gold Xmas tree. Phillips round 1 pass was recorded at 28.05 seconds and was naturally well down on the best pass by Steven Reed with a 5.541 @ 257.48mph. Sting, Noonan and Ambruosi put in solid runs as well to round out the first round of qualifying.
Round 2 of qualifying had Steven Reed on top of the table once again with a 5.541 ET @ 257.48mph. Amazingly John Sting and Cannuli posted 5.541 ET’s as well with Cannuli going 259.65mph. Noonan and Fry looked to be on the ball as well posting 5.654 and 5.663 passes respectively. Victorian Rob Ambruosi dropped a 5.764 @243.90mph to be well in amongst it with Peter Zelow also dropping into the 5’s with a 5.967 @ 246.17mph.
Cannuli topped the charts in round 3 and looked to be on the way to a national crown with a pass of 5.422 @ 265.80mph. Cannuli’s speed would be the quickest across the bracket over the event with his ET of 5.422 also proving to be the best for the weekend. Noonan and Fry had continued on with their battle with Noonan posting a 5.654 @257.09mph to Fry’s 5.663 @ 254.42mph. Ambruosi was once again in the mix with a 5.764 @243.90mph.
Into eliminations with Cannuli first up against Wayne Price. Price had been struggling over the weekend and was up against Cannuli who was in white hot form. Although it was Price’s best run of the weekend Cannuli got the job done with a 5.437 @265.38mph to Price’s creditable 5.728 @ 255.97mph. Noonan accounted for Fry in heat 2 with a 5.504 @261.32mph to Fry’s 5.579 @ 256.21mph. It was amazing at how close these two guys were matched up over the event. Heat 3 had Reed comfortably taking the win over Zelow with a 5.549 @ 255.43mph to Zelow’s much improved 5.839 @ 249.30mph. Heat 4 went the way of Sting over Ambruosi initially with a 5.575 ET @ 254.81mph to Ambruosi’s 5.703 @ 246.03mph. A foul run by Sting handed the win to Ambruosi.
Semi-final match ups had Cannuli against the dangerous Noonan with Reed up against Ambruosi. After a lengthy wait for track prep Cannuli fired up the funny car knowing that a win in the semi-final would be enough to give him the 2015 Australian Top Alcohol Championship. Noonan had the slightly better reaction time and opened up a small lead. Cannuli looked to carry his form into the race and was alongside Noonan when disaster struck. A fuel line give way on the Cannuli car igniting a fire on-board the funny car. The race was over as was the 2015 championship. Gary Phillips deservedly so had just picked up his 17th Top Alcohol Championship.
With flames engulfing the cabin, Cannuli after veering into Noonan’s lane managed to pull up the car where Willowbank safety officials managed to get the small fire under control. What a shame for Cannuli but in the end it was just rewards for Phillips who once again had dominated the class. In all the commotion Noonan managed to pick up the win and advance to the final with a 5.519 @ 260.91mph over a slowing Cannuli at 5.586 @ 220.98mph. Semi-final 2 saw Reed take the win over Ambruosi with a 5.568 pass @ 251.20mph to Ambruosi’s 5.805 @ 214.93mph. What a wonderful weekend for the Ambruosi team with consistency now a formality for the team.
Finals time and what a race we had. Jamie Noonan had been strong all week including the test days leading up to the event and looked to be in a good position to take home the win. Having said that, Steven Reed had posted 5.54’s all weekend and definitely had equal claims on the prize. Both guys got away around the same time with Noonan hauling a higher mph to get the win with a 5.522 @ 260.97mph to Reed’s 5.656 @ 226.43 mph. It was Reed’s slowest time for the whole weekend with his mph also suffering.
So after 3 unbelievable action packed days of Top Alcohol racing Gary Phillips was declared the 2015 champ with Jamie Noonan the 2015 Winter National Top Alcohol champ. John Cannuli finished the season as runner-up and must be wondering when his luck is going to change for if it wasn’t for a burst fuel line the story may have been different. Cannuli also struck bad luck at the Adelaide round when his car wouldn’t start for the final against Phillips. Having said all of that the reason Phillips is champion is due largely to his consistency. I’m sure he could win an event with his eyes closed as the drill must now be firmly entrenched in his memory after the countless passes in his Lucas Oils Funny Car..
On a final note the bracket has to go down as the premium form of drag racing at this year's Winters given the poor showing by the Top Fuel bracket. These guys consistently run in the mid 5’s with side by side racing the norm. Next time the ANDRA truck rolls into your city go and check out the Top Alcohol bracket, you will never be disappointed.
For images on the event go to:http://www.dragphotos.com.au/
For more articles on the event go to:http://www.dragnews.com.au/
To check the ANDRA race calendar go to: http://andra.com.au/
To check out the Willowbank Raceway site go to:http://www.willowbankraceway.com.au/
Top Alcohol Video Package
Cannuli's Take The Wild Ride.
By Mark Humphrey.
Willowbank, Qld/Aus. 13th June 2015. Talk about a wild ride. The Cannuli boys had a Winter Nationals that provided massive highs but ultimately ended in disaster for both John in the Top Alcohol bracket and Paul in the Top Doorslammer bracket.
John was given a championship lifeline when Gary Phillips crashed out of the event on the very first round of qualifying. To become the 2015 Top Alcohol champ Cannuli needed to win his semi-final. Anything less would mean Phillips picked up #17 title. After looking super strong all week, Cannuli struck trouble in the semi when a fuel line split sending his 2015 title aspirations up in smoke.
For Paul a similar story was to unfold. After qualifying strongly in the Top Doorslammer bracket Paul was on his way to the final after Ben Bray cherried his start against Cannuli in semi-final number 1. Unfortunately for Cannuli his car nudged the centre line just before the finish line giving back the win to Bray. Under ANDRA rules 1st or worst applies. In this case Bray was first to commit an offence when he started too early but ANDRA considers touching or crossing the centreline as a far more serious breach and therefore takes precedence over the red light start.
What an event for the Cannuli’s. Take a look.
By Mark Humphrey
Willowbank, Qld/Aus. 11th June 2015. Ever been to a drag racing event and watched girls out the front of a drag car give directions? Well they are what’s commonly known in drag racing circles as BUGS (back up girls) and they play a pivotal role in setting up the race car on the start line.
For the more powerful drag cars the process of laying down a burnout not only heats up the tyres for extra traction but also lays down a strip of rubber on the racing surface providing the ultimate grip for a race car when leaving the start line. The procedure of backing in a race car is to line up the car with the rubber marks just laid down on the track so the car starts the race on top of the fresh rubber tracks assisting the driver in that all important launch. Whilst anyone can back in a race car a lot of teams prefer to have women take on the task of backing in the car. Some take on the role with authority adding in the pre-stage procedure as well.This year’s Fuchs Winter Nationals was one of the best ever with many highlights over the 4 day event including our Aussie Bugs who it’s fair to say are equal to any in the world of drag racing. They add to the glamour of the event and the spectacle that is drag racing. Next time a drag racing event rocks into town take a look at our BUGS and I’m sure you will agree they’re hot!
To find out where the next ANDRA drag racing event is go to: http://andra.com.au/series/calendar/2015-16-calendar.html
Check out the video featuring some of our BUGS along with a couple of promo girls.
Winter Nationals Are Go
By Mark Humphrey
Willowbank, QLD/Aus. 3rd June 2015. The greatest drag racing event outside of the USA is about to rock the foundations of the Willowbank Raceway with the running of the 48th Winter Nationals starting 4th of June and going through to the 7th where finals will be contested in all divisions.
Classes from Junior Dragster right through to the prestigious Top Fuel bracket will duke it out for a shot at one of the famous gold ANDRA Xmas trees. Unlike the national championship where some have been decided, a Winters win is reachable for almost all competitors especially in the dial your own brackets. You can have the slowest car in a dial your own bracket and be as much a chance of winning your bracket as the fastest car. The trick in these brackets is consistency and being able to run as close to your nominated time.
The 2nd tier of competition being the Summit Equipment Sportsman Series has seen some incredible racing in this year’s shortened season with virtually all categories undecided. It’s possible that the winner of the ANDRA bracket (division) will not be the national champion of the bracket (division). Hard to pick a winner but a couple stand out on form. In the Junior Dragsters Toby Austin has been very consistent making the finals in most of the rounds he contested. A couple of red light starts have halted his domination slightly. Plenty of others to pick from with 4 or 5 still in contention so it should be enthralling to see who comes out on top. ANDRA’s marquee bracket in the Summit Sportsman Series is the Top Sportsman bracket with Stuart McBain having a clean sheet with wins in all rounds contested. As this season was a shortened season to re-align the competition to the financial year, points were capped in all divisions at 160. For competitors like McBain there was no point contesting further rounds as he had already reached the cap with consecutive wins. Steve Fowler and Paul Russo are also genuine chances to take out the bracket. There’s a story to tell in virtually every bracket of the Summit Series, a series that has provided the perfect back drop for ANDRA’s group 1 racers.
With 4 days of drag racing there is something for everyone. If you have never been to an event throw caution into the wind and get along to watch the Top Fuel guys do their thing. But a word of warning, these cars are like nothing you have experienced in life. They are incredibly loud and virtually shake your body as they go past at somewhere around 500kph. The nitro fuel makes your eyes sting and you find it hard to breathe. Sounds awful but what an experience even if you only do it once and it’s not just for the boys either. Lots of women get along to the drags in heels and jeans looking the part in what is the most powerful motorsport on the planet. With an ever increasing female racer population the sport is primed to have a resurgence in popularity in Australia and it starts this weekend with one of the world’s best drag racing events, the 2015 Winter Nationals. For more information on the event go to http://www.willowbankraceway.com.au/events/detail.aspx?EventGroupID=93
Below is a short clip featuring the Pro Stock boys with Willowbank CEO Tony Manson sharing some thoughts on the 2015 Winter Nationals.
Willowbank Puts On The Biggest Summit Show YetBrad Lemberg from Mackay launches the Suzuki 1655
By Mark Humphrey
Willowbank, Qld/Aus. 15th April 2015. The sunshine state’s biggest heavy hitters came out to play last weekend when Willowbank Raceway hosted round 4 of the Summit Sportsman Series in perfect weather conditions. Having been washed out on the previous 2 race meets, it was a welcome return to fine conditions for Willowbank Raceway management who had fixtured in a standalone round of the Summit Sportsman Series. Normally flanked by group 1 racing at Metro tracks, the Summit Sportsman Series delivered one of the best race meetings seen at the venue for some time. Darren Fry put down multiple 250+ mph passes in his alcohol funny car running in the Super Comp bracket, Dieter Herrmann put the world’s fastest aspirated Pontiac down the quarter pushing the 220mph mark on several occasions and to top it off Chris Tait set a new world record mark in his 4cyl Toyota with a 6.741 pass. Tait recorded huge mph passes with a best of 207.91mph to boot.
On the hour every hour there seemed to be yet another highlight with a familiar silver and blue pro stock car pulling into the staging lanes. Aaron Tremayne had nominated for ANDRA’s marquee bracket in Top Sportsman and although not going all the way he did put down a solid pass of 6.99 @ 196mph. No doubt getting the car ready for Sydney, Tremayne was just one of a number of heavy hitters in the bracket which included Herrmann, Stew Walsh, Russo, Fowler and the round winner Neil Maxwell. After taking care of Darryl Stephen in round 1, Maxwell cruised into the final with a solo pass in both the 2nd & 3rd rounds. On the other side of the draw Fowler took care of David Morris in round 1 and then followed that up with a solo pass in round 2. Fowler had a tough job ahead of him in round 3 where he was up against the “Best Presented Crew” winner in Paul Russo. Russo had the Chevy humming all day and looked like a finals contender early in the day with some consistent runs in the low 7.60’s. Coming up against Fowler in the semi was just reward for the travelling South Aussie who has competed in 3 of the 4 rounds to date and had just despatched top qualifier Dieter Herrmann in round 2. Unfortunately for Russo a red light finished his campaign with Fowler moving into consecutive finals. Having missed the first 2 rounds Fowler was unstoppable in Adelaide last time out and it took the ever consistent Stuart McBain to halt his run in the final. This time out Fowler was up against Neil Maxwell who had chosen a 7.32 light against Fowler’s 6.91 light. Fowler had the job of chasing down Maxwell who had posted passes in the low 7.30’s all day and it was this consistency that netted Maxwell the win with a 7.374 @ 179.95mph to Fowlers 7.445 @ 187.81mph. Having been within hundredths of his dial in all day it was a well-deserved win for Maxwell in the top division.
Top Sportsman video
Like Top Sportsman, Super Comp was littered with heavy hitters and none bigger than Alcohol Funny Car peddler Darren Fry. Fry, getting some miles into the car was outstanding as he pushed the Monte Carlo past 250mph on several occasions with a 5.544 @ 257mph his best. Rob Nunn looked impressive throughout the day in his immaculate Cobalt but found disaster in his solo semi-final run when he tagged the wall at the 1000ft mark ending his day with a very 2nd hand car. Chris Tait had taken care of Tony Bellert in the other semi-final peddling the 4 cylinder Toyota off the wall to record a 6.89 @ 205.38mph. Unfortunately for Nunn he was unable to front up to the final giving the win to Tait. This was a stout division with plenty of muscle including Tait and Fry. Mark Davison was impressive in his altered but had Tait in round 1 which finished off his day. The smaller capacity cars of Payne, Kiprios, McGregor and Moore showed maybe the future of the bracket and along with Tait were more than competitive against the bigger cubed cars.
Super Comp held over due to technical reasons.
Supercharged Outlaws although down in numbers provided plenty of muscle with Matty McKnight (6.73 @ 199.20 on a 6.72) getting the nod over Rodney Hansen (6.767 @ 202.27 on a 6.76) in the final. Top qualifier Nathan Pullen (6.536 @ 208.07 mph) was knocked out in round 1 by Matt Watts in his T Bucket with McKnight, Hansen and Donnelly also taking round 1 wins. Donnelly had taken care of Paul Stephen who this time out didn’t have to worry about tripping the starting beams. Stephen has been a solid supporter of the Summit Sportsman Series competing in 3 of the 4 rounds to date but found himself in a weird situation in Adelaide when the car seemed to continually trip the beams without actually moving. A follow up meeting in Mildura over Easter had the New South Welshman back on track and he looked strong throughout the Willowbank qualifying session. Winner of the Mildura Easter meeting Craig Hanley was a no show to Willowbank courtesy of a hurt power plant sustained during his win in the Mildura final.
Supercharged Outlaws Video
Jake Donnelly also looked impressive throughout qualifying posting multiple 200+mph passes. The team adds some professionalism to the bracket and it would be a shame to lose the outfit to another bracket. All up 8 Supercharged monsters provided plenty of action for the spectators that had made the trip to Willowbank. With remaining rounds in Sydney and back here at Willowbank for the Winter’s, expect numbers to increase significantly as peddlers from all points of the country try to capture one of the most sought after trees in drag racing.
Super Sedan once again had a huge field with 5 rounds needed to determine a winner. In an all Ford final Paul Doeblien ( 9.199 @ 151.92 on a 9.12) got the nod over Max Carpenter (10.063 @ 134.07 on a 10.00 dial in). Top qualifier went to Norman Barry with an 8.599 pass @ 154.90mph. Barry was knocked out in round 1 by current Aussie champ John Kapiris who managed to make it all the way to round 3 where he met Max Carpenter.
Super Sedan Video
Super Street was taken out by Bell Henry in a Ford Fairmont (11.048 @ 120.51 on a 11.02) over Ben Dreyer in a Chev Camaro (11.325 @ 118.90 on a 11.31) who cherried the start. Top qualifier went to Lucas Holz driving a LC Torana (11.022 @ 126.15).
Super Street Video
Modified had a big field with 17 cars rolling out for qualifying. Top qualifier went to Dallas Everett in an Altered posting a best of 7.296 @ 184.35mph. Unfortunately for Everett his day ended in round 1 courtesy of eventual bracket winner Mark Allan. Kelly Bettes and Chelsea Leahy got through round 1 but were matched up in round 2 with only one of the girls going on. Leahy got the nod in a super close race with an 8.547 on an 8.52 with Bettes posting a 7.369 on a 7.36 dial in. Leahy had a solo run in round 3 and was matched up against Allan in the semi for a spot in the final. Allan who had dislocated his knee in the previous round was working under duress but managed to get over Leahy in the semi with a 7.979 on a 7.93 compared to Leahy’s 8.510 on an 8.53. Allan’s competitor in the final was Kevin Morton in a small block Altered. Morton had made his way past Gouws, Loy and Littlewood with a solo pass in the semi. Allan managed to pick up the win with a 7.945 on a 7.93 compared to Morton’s 9.433 on a 9.42.
Super Gas had the smallest field with only 7 cars rolling out to qualify. Fantastic supporter of the class Graeme Spencer top qualified with a 9.913 @ 144.91mph. Spencer who had a solo in round 1 courtesy of being top qualifier got knocked out in round 2 by eventual winner Dale O’Dwyer. O’Dwyer with a 9.905 was too good for Spencer who dropped a 9.926. David Gauldie picked up the other semi-final win with a win over Kerry Boyde. Gauldie posted 9.919 to Boyde’s 9.874. O’Dwyer in a HZ Holden picked up the final with a 9.920 after Gauldie driving an Olds Cutlass cherried the start. Just to make matters worse Gauldie went under the 9.90 index although the show was already over at the start line.
The bike boys were out in force with massive numbers in the Modified category backed up by solid numbers in Competition Bike.
Craig Edwards on a Suzuki picked up top qualifier in Modified Bike with a pass of 7.973 @ 170.30mph but was unable to back up the #1 qualifier with a bracket win. The win went to Chris Collin on a Suzuki with a pass of 9.173 @ 147.63 over Ace Edwards who posted an 8.889 @ 144.80. The action didn’t finish for Edwards at the finish line having to scramble to safety after coming off his bike. Bruised and battered Edwards was unable to accept his runner up trophy leaving that duty to his father Craig. Ace is expected to make a full recovery after sustaining bruising and some gravel rash injuries.
Competition Bike was taken out by Darryn Schuster on a Suzuki GSXR 998 posting an 8.265 @ 165.52mph over Blair Pennington also on a Suzuki GSXR 1060. Pennington posted an 8.674 @ 130.22mph. Top qualifier also went to Pennington on a healthy 8.156 @ 162.68mph. Unfortunately for Pennington he was unable to duplicate his qualifying form in the final.
The last bracket in what was a busy schedule was the Junior Dragsters. With 18 cars lining up for qualifying the road to the final would once again be tough. Current Aussie champ Toby Austin once again top qualified with an 8.003 @ 81.68mph. Toby managed to once again make a final and was up against Eden Ward from the Mopar stable. Both Austin and Ward are the inform drivers with both coming away from Adelaide with a good haul of points. Austin picked up the win while Ward made it to the semis. This time out it was Ward who took the honours after Austin pulled a red light. The pair leave Willowbank capped on 160 points and no doubt will have a big say in who becomes national champ when the series returns to Willowbank for the winters. Bracket competitors have a chance of building points with round 5 scheduled for the Nitro Champs round in Sydney next month.
Junior Dragster Video
Will round 4 of the series done and dusted drivers can now shift their focus to Sydney Dragway and the Nitro Champs which is scheduled to run on the 2nd and 3rd of May.
For more info on the Nitro Champs go to: http://www.sydneydragway.com.au/
For more info on the Summit Sportsman Series points tally go to: http://www.andra.com.au/series/points/summit-championship.html
What a round it was for the Summit Sportsman Series and yes it was dominated by Queenslanders but expect the action to be hot when competitors from all over the country roll in to take on the locals at the Winters. Good luck to all the teams competing in Sydney next month.
For all the best images from round 4 of the Summit Sportsman Series go to: http://www.dragphotos.com.au/
Some more images from the day.