fastlane lane EDITION 15
F E B R U A R Y
2 0 1 6
THE OFFICIAL PUBLICATION OF THE AUSTRALIAN NATIONAL DRAG RACING ASSOCIATION
FASTLANE celebrates 20 years since Top Doorslammer officially became an ANDRA Championship bracket.
THE OFFICIAL OIL SUPPLIER FOR ANDRA DRAG RACING
THE OFFICIAL TOOL SUPPLIER FOR ANDRA DRAG RACING
welcome On January 27, 2016, new ANDRA CEO Grant Goodall officially commenced his position with the organisation heralding a new beginning for the sport.
“Before commencing in my role I took the opportunity to attend the first Australian Nationals to be held at Calder Park since 2001. I met with many ANDRA Members at the track and got a great feel for their passion, energy and commitment to our sport. I am looking forward to what we can achieve together to take our sport forward.”
> GRANT GOODALL Editor: Tim Baker (firstname.lastname@example.org) Design: YBI Creative (www.ybicreative.com.au) Photography: John Baremans, Cackling Pipes, David Hope, Dragphotos.com.au, Warren Jackson, Joe Maday, Outlaw Images.
Phone: 08 8271 5355 Fax: 08 8721 6988 Email: email@example.com Street: 11 McInnes St, Ridleyton SA 5008
CEO: Grant Goodall Accounts: Donna Jantke Business Manager: Jackie Mills Business Development Manager: Jennifer Harrison Competition Manager: Brett Stevens Licensing and Membership: Leanne Wright Media & PR Officer: Tim Baker Admin Support Officer: Kylie Hazelhurst
Michael Fotheringham (SA) - Chairman Terry Jongen (WA) Nathan Peirano (QLD) Robin Judd (WA) Shayne Homes (QLD) Grant Wilson (SA)
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04 08 11 12 14 16 22 25 26
THE RAC ES
Fastlane is produced by the Australian National Drag Racing Association LTD.
staginglanes lanes CALLING THE LATEST ANDRA NEWS TO THE STAGING LANES!
2016 ANDRA DIVISIONAL ELECTIONS
During 2016, elections are due for ANDRA Division Directors in South Queensland, South Australia and New South Wales. It should be remembered that Division Directors will be eligible for appointment to the ANDRA Board. The following table shows those positions due for election in 2016, highlighted in yellow. • Alternate Division Directors carrying out the senior position and any Delegates appointed to the Divisional Council by the Delegates over the past year must stand for election at this time. SOUTH QUEENSLAND
Shayne Homes (DD)
Nathan Peirano (DD)
Phil Parker (DD)
Ron Newton (Alt DD) Wayne Downes Simon Isherwood Daniel Morris Frank Oliveri
Ross Bryant (Alt DD) Peter Peirano Aaron Stibbs Rod Scanlon Ross Lemberg Ash Hamblin
Peter Pisalidis (Alt DD) Peter Kapiris Darren Parker Bill Caris Paul Rogers Wayne Cartledge Douglas Anderson Stephen Crook Rob Cassar
NEW SOUTH WALES
Howard Browne (DD)
Terry Jongen (DD)
Lyle Gilmore (DD)
Timothy Reidy (Alt DD) Peter Brown Andrew Favotti Bruno Romeo Johnny Kapiris Harry Harris Bob Sherry Dimos Stefanopoulos Mark Lee
Murray O’Connor (Alt DD) Geoff Chaisty Nick Gardiner Ian Jenkins Alan Hudson Peter Glover Liz Johns Andrew Frost Tyron Begg
Paul Stephen (Alt DD) Margaret Hartill Law Jim Rowley John Ward Frank Cannistra Darryl Stephen Sharon Ward Rhett Cooper-Fowle Mark Shepherd
Nominations are hereby invited for the various positions, from Full Members of ANDRA. They must be lodged with the ANDRA Office no later than 12 noon (CDST) Thursday, March 31st, 2016 on the appropriate form. Nomination Forms are available on ANDRA.com.au (Competitor > Divisional Councils > Nomination Forms) or by contacting ANDRA on firstname.lastname@example.org or (08) 827155355 Full details of the election process may be found in the ANDRA Constitution at ANDRA.com.au (About > Company Constitution)
2014/15 SEASON HIGHLIGHTS
Highlights from the 2014 and 2015 ANDRA Championship seasons are now available to stream for FREE at ANDRA TV Catch Up and MotorsportsTV. You can now watch finals from the 2014 and 2015 ANDRA Drag Racing Series plus a selection of the wildest moments from the past two seasons anytime, anywhere for free. To watch more than three hours of the biggest races in recent seasons, just visit ANDRA.com.au > Media > ANDRA TV Catch Up and scroll down to watch finals from the 2014 Season, 2015 Season and Wildest Moments. Alternatively you can visit www.motorsportstv.com.au, click Catch Up TV then ANDRA Drag Racing or download the MotorsportsTV app from iTunes or Google Play to watch on your smartphone or tablet. A limited run of 2-disc DVD copies will be available from the ANDRA trailer at upcoming Championship events for just $10! But hurry while stocks last!
classifIeds 10% OFF TO ALL NEW ANDRA CUSTOMERS! Hussey Performance is the leading manufacturer of copper gaskets for the NHRA series in the United States. 2014 NHRA Top Fuel Funny Car champion, Matt Hagan, and 2014 U.S. Nationals Top Fuel winner and Australian great, Richie Crampton,
fastlane CASUAL GROUP ONE LICENCES
Back in January, ANDRA implemented new monthly (casual) Group One Drag Racing Licences.
The new monthly casual licences provide greater service and flexibility to members who do not regularly compete at ANDRA sanctioned events to do so smoothly and cost effectively. Monthly licences also allow members to complete licence/performance testing prior to an event and provide great value if multiple events are held in a single month. To qualify for a Casual Group One licence, each applicant must hold a full ANDRA Membership (current cost $110.00 inc.) as per current policy and procedures, and have a current ANDRA medical (valid for 2 years). To apply for a casual licence please complete the form located at ANDRA.com. au > Competitor > ANDRA Forms. Further casual licencing options for Sportsman racers are currently being reviewed. To view pricing, please see below: ITEM Membership Casual License TOTAL
For any queries or questions please contact the ANDRA Head Office on (08) 8271 5355 or email@example.com.
ADVERTISE IN OUR CLASSIFIEDS From $100 per issue for 4 editions. From $125 per single edition. both rely on Hussey Performance copper gaskets to keep their engines sealed! Our gasket catalog can be viewed online at HusseyPerformance.net. We specialize in NRE, BAE, AJ, TFX, KB, BBC, SBC, BBF, and SBF engines. We provide affordable and fast shipping to anywhere in Australia. We can have gaskets in your hands in less than 1 week from the day an order is placed! Give us a call at 1(724)318-8292 or email us at Gaskets@ HusseyPerformance.net for a quick free quote!
ANDRA RULEBOOK ADVERTISING
Advertising opportunities for the 2016 ANDRA Rulebook are now open. Showcase your business to thousands of competitors and over 100 officials across a print run of approx. 6000 rulebooks.
The ANDRA Rulebook is a frequently referenced guide to all technical elements in the sport of ANDRA Drag Racing and an ideal way to reach your core market. Please find below the details on advertising in the 2016 Rulebook. This yearâ€™s advertising deadline is 15th March 2016. To secure your relative section, confirmation of booking is required at your earliest convenience. Confirmation of available placement i.e. back cover, can be confirmed once previous advertisers have confirmed their commitment. PRICING Inside Front Cover Inside Back Cover Outside Back Cover Double Page Spread Full Page Half Page Third Page Quarter Page SIZING Inside Front Cover Inside Back Cover Outside Back Cover Double Page Spread Full Page Half Page Third Page Quarter Page
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Please note GST not included in rates. To make an ad booking please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
GREEN LIGHT FOR ANDRA GRAND FINAL AND FUNDING RELIEF FOR TRACKS
At the 15 February ANDRA Board meeting, several key decisions were made to ensure the season ends with a bang. Australian Motor Racing Pty Ltd has been approved as the event manager of the ANDRA Championship Grand Final to be held at Adelaide International Raceway as a two-day event 9-10 April 2016. Chairman Michael Fotheringham said, “Local investors, the owners of AIR and general industry members have rallied to assist in making the event happen. “So it is with great pleasure we formally announce the Grand Final is going ahead and will be a two day event at AIR in April.” In another significant announcement the Board have also ratified reductions in Permit Fees to all Australian tracks. The payment previously collected by ANDRA will be removed with only the insurance component remaining as payable by the tracks. Details of the new reduced track fees will be provided to tracks shortly. ANDRA represents the best value option for tracks while also providing the venues support including technical, design, marketing, funding, sponsorship and business development to name but a few. In further news ANDRA is going to market to negotiate an improved insurance policy for members with any savings identified passed onto members and tracks. The ANDRA management is also in discussions with several new sponsors and reviewing our current TV package as part of several new marketing initiatives currently being explored. ANDRA wishes to extend its gratitude to all members during what is a difficult time for the sport. In particular ANDRA thanks the Steel City Drag Club for their support in lending large-scale equipment in order to ensure the ANDRA Championship Grand Final is a success. ANDRA is owned by its members. A stronger ANDRA will result in a vibrant sport with profits staying in Australia for our members and contributing towards improving member services.
TECHNICAL CLARIFICATION TO ALL SPORTSMAN COMPETITORS
Following some queries and misunderstanding at recent Summit Racing Equipment Sportsman Series events, the below is a reminder to all competitors. ACR 1.4.4 “An entrant/competitor is not permitted to change their vehicle class after classification or after completing any runs in qualifying.” ACR 3.9 “Additional vehicles may be included from non-qualifiers as listed, where less than 32 cars are qualified.” ACR 3.9 “At Championship events dial-ins must remain between 5.80 and 8.49 inclusive” (quarter mile). nb. ACR is ANDRA Competition regulations (Rulebook 2015/16). The below table is the cut-off times for each distance for every dial your own and fixed index class over every distance that the Summit Racing Equipment Sportsman Series runs over. The formulas are from the Handy Formulas section (4.2, page 196) of the 2015/16 ANDRA rulebook. Bracket Super Gas
11.00* – 12.99
9.16* – 10.82
0 – 11.99
0 – 9.99
8.50 – 10.99
7.08 – 9.15
0 – 10.99
0 – 9.15
5.80 – 8.49
4.83 – 7.07
3.69 – 5.40
6.50 – 7.99
5.41 – 6.65
4.14 – 5.08
6.30 7.00* – 8.27 0 - 7.63 5.41 – 6.99 0 – 6.99
* Please note Super Street competitors may run .05 quicker than the lower cut-off once per event in qualifying where they hold the appropriate Super Street Licence.
Behind the Wheel with Jr. Dragster Driver Josh Baker Josh truly enjoys the thrill of racing and the sportsman spirit of the Junior competitors. “I just love that hit of the throttle and the excitement as I leave the start line. There’s nothing better than hanging out with my racing friends every time I go to the track—but when the helmet’s on, it’s all business.”
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Prices (USD) good through 6/1/16. • Typographical, description, or photography errors are subject to correction. ©2016 AUTOSALES, INC.
STEERING YOU STRAIGHT THE INSIDE STORY ON WHEEL ALIGNMENT Story by Wayne Scraba / Photos: Wayne Scraba and Jerry Bickel
For most racers, wheel alignment is not usually a consideration. After all, horsepower is cheap and a wheel alignment just keeps your tyres from wearing out, right? That’s not entirely true. For some class racers, adding more horsepower isn’t always an option. A good example is Modified Sedan in Super Stock; most of those cars are maxed out powerwise by the rulebook. Those racers look for every possible advantage, and one area to find it is the front end.
THE CORNERSTONES OF WHEEL ALIGNMENT
A precisely set-up front end can greatly improve performance and safety. There are three basic settings for front wheel alignment: Caster is the amount the centerline of the spindle (or in the case of a solid axle, the kingpin) is tilted from true vertical, expressed in degrees. Positive caster means the top of the spindle tilts backwards, placing weight behind the tyre contact patch. Negative caster means the top of the spindle tilts forward, placing weight in front of the tyre contact patch. In drag racing, some amount of positive caster is required. Think of positive caster as a means to “self center” the steering. Positive caster provides a lot of directional stability. A front end with near-vertical spindles provides lightening quick turns, but very little directional stability. That’s not what you want for drag racing.
Camber is the inner or outer tilt of the front wheels as viewed from the front of the car. Camber is expressed and measured in degrees. If a wheel tilts out at the top, camber is positive. If the wheel tilts in, camber is negative. The idea behind camber is to keep the tyre planted squarely on the pavement to create maximum front tyre grip. For a tube frame car, zero degrees of camber is good. For a car with a factory type suspension, a small amount of negative camber will improve handing without killing the tyres. Toe is the difference between the measurement across the face of the front tyre and that of the trailing end of the same tyre (viewed from head on). Toe-in means the front of the tyres point inward. Toe-out is just the opposite (front of the tyres pointing out). The actual toe setting is seldom zero. In most applications, a small amount of toe-in, something in the range of 1/16 or 1/32 inch, is common. When the car is in motion, the steering and suspension components tend to force the tyres outward. This results in almost zero toe. Before you can dial in wheel alignment, the car has to be square so it tracks straight down the strip. Pro chassis builder Jerry Bickel of Jerry Bickel Race Cars explains: “If the rear axle is turned slightly in the chassis, the tyres point off line
and the rear of the car is steered in that direction. The driver has to compensate by turning the steering wheel until the front wheels are pointed in the same direction as the rear wheels. The car travels sideways or ‘dog-tracks’ down the track.” Squaring the chassis isn’t that difficult. Usually a straightedge of some sort is clamped to the rear axle housing (wheel bearing flange) or rear brake rotor/drum and measurements are taken from the straightedge to the frame (on both sides of the car). That shows you how much you have to reset either side of the rear axle to make it perfectly parallel to the chassis.
DIALING IN CASTER, CAMBER AND TOE
Before you do a wheel alignment on any drag car, place weight in the driver’s seat equal to the driver’s weight. Shot bags or weight lifting equipment will work. Be sure to top the fuel tank with the appropriate level of fuel. Set the tyre pressures to the level you normally race with (i.e. high pressure on the nose, and lower pressures at the rear). With the car on an alignment rack, jack the nose up to duplicate a normal race “attitude”; an inch or two seems to be about right. Jack and block the back of the car to compensate for the height of the front
Check out the camber on this Chevelle and compare it to the Nova in the opening photo. You can just imagine how the steering feels when the car comes back to earth. Some cars such like the Chevelle require a ton of work to get right.
fastlane wheel alignment turntables. The car is now ready for the alignment. To give you an idea of how much caster, camber, and toe can vary between cars, I compiled the OEM alignment specifications for GMâ€™s 1993-2002 F-body Camaro/Firebird platform and a 1967-1969 Camaro. Remember that individual vehicles will vary a bit: Measurement Caster
1993-02 â€œFâ€? Body 1967-69 Camaro 4.4Â° Âą 0.5Â°
1/2Â° Âą 1/2Â°
0.4Â° Âą 0.5Â°
1/4Â° Âą 1/2Â°
0.0â€? Âą 0.2â€?
1/8â€? Âą â€?
Compare these two illustrations from Jerry Bickel. The top one shows a car that is square and tracking straight. The second shows a car that is dog tracking. Obviously, a straight tracking car is more efficient and far easier to drive.
Thereâ€™s a considerable difference between the two and it shows you what youâ€™re up against when it comes to a drag race wheel alignment. If you drag race either car (and Iâ€™ve had a few of each), try adding more casterâ€”up to six degrees if you can. Keep an eye on the toe setting while the car is jacked through its travel. Toe-in must be kept to a minimum; you want to see some toe-out as the front end travels. This usually isnâ€™t a problem with the front suspension on the newer Firebirds and Camaros, but it can plague earlier cars.
This Jerry Bickel illustration gives you a good idea of what caster is all about. Lots of caster in a drag car is important because it adds stability. The illustration shows a strut car, but a car with double A-arms and spindles is set up much the same.
Camber is the inner or outer tilt of the front wheels as viewed from the front of the car. The bottom line with camber is to get it as close to zero as possible. Thatâ€™s not always easy to do, especially when it comes to vintage cars with a lot of front suspension travel like the Chevelle we showed you earlier. You want toe to be as close to zero while the car is under power. That often means setting up the front end with a wee bit of toein. If the car toes out, itâ€™s pretty much out of control.
Fox-body Mustangs are easy to set up, especially when converted to a strut front end as shown. In the second photo you can see the aftermarket caster-camber plates. Setup is a breeze with plenty of adjustment range.
HERE ARE SOME BASIC GUIDELINES FOR WHEEL ALIGNMENT
> > > >
Caster should be between three and six degrees. On a strut equipped tube chassis, builders like Bickel recommend 12-14 degrees on cars that run up to 160 MPH. Over that speed, go with 10 degrees Camber should be set at zero. Try to keep the front wheels straight up and down Toe-in should be as close to zero as possible on a production line chassis. On a strut-equipped tube frame car, Bickel recommends 3/16 inch of toe-in. Change in toe-in should be kept to an absolute minimum. Make sure the car does not exhibit any toe-out while the nose is in the air Eliminate bump steer as much as possible
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who is your DIVISIONAL DIRECTOR? Division Director New South Wales Divisional Council
Lyle Gilmore has always had a passion for cars growing up with several Falcon GT and GTHO’s in the family. His first vehicle was an XY Ute he still owns and last raced back in 2005 at Sydney Dragway in Super Street. He is an avid Ford fan, with his entire stable of race vehicles over the years powered by Ford engines. “I started out racing when I was 18 running my XY Ute in Super Street at Oran Park in the early 90’s then Eastern Creek,” he says. “I raced several times at Canberra until it closed. I caught the drag racing bug and was a sucker for blown Altereds after watching the likes of Easton, Philips and Jones through the late 80’s early 90’s. “I purchased a damaged Altered in the mid 90’s which was named All Fired Up, started the rebuilding process with plans to run in Modified at Eastern Creek Raceway. “When drag racing finished at Eastern Creek the Altered project was shelved and then started up again in 2003 with the building of Sydney Dragway. I finished the Altered and ran my first event at Sydney Dragway in June 2004.
“I have campaigned the same vehicle since, running it in Supercharged Outlaws and CC/AA – current speed record holder in CC/AA set at the 2014 Australian Nationals.”
Ph: 0412 290 864 Email: email@example.com
Lyle became more involved with ANDRA around 2010 he says, “due to the fact without the volunteers we would not have what we have today.”
NSW Divisional Council Members Lyle Gilmore (Division Director) Paul Stephen (Alt DD) Margaret Hartill Law Jim Rowley John Ward Frank Cannistra Darryl Stephen Sharon Ward Rhett Cooper-Fowle Mark Shepherd
“Over the time of being on the NSW DC I met a lot of great people from around the country and made many friends through being on committees like the NRC and Operations Committee,” he continues. “I am a avid supporter of our only permanent drag strip in NSW being Sydney Dragway and thank the NSW government for providing such an excellent venue along with all those who made it happen – Jim Read, Dave Cook, Tony Beuk radio announcer Alan Jones and NSW racers. “I have travelled to many drag racing venues throughout Australia and the world and the one thing that stands out the most is the comradery drag racers have here in Australia and the willingness to help out another racer in need.”
Fastlane profiles two of the most recent recipients of the Perfect Light Award for achieving the first (and only) .000 light during eliminations at Summit Racing Equipment Sportsman Series events in Sydney and Warwick.
this car certainly is a fast reacting piece.”
It all started out so well for Mike Bailey at Sydney Dragway for the East Coast Nationals last November.
“I always admired the intensity of Modified and also the fellowship, so much so the family business sponsored Modified at Willowbank for three years or so.
Racing our second .000 Perfect Light racer in this same feature – Travis Liefting –in Round 1, Bailey reacted in .000 seconds to get the jump but broke out by just .001 seconds as he chased Liefting down. “I caught Travis fairly late and pedaled but broke out by .001,” says Bailey. “Good on him. When we got back it took me a good couple laps of the pits to stop belting myself!” Currently racing in Modified, Bailey earned his stripes as a crew member and Super Gas racer for many years. He has been involved in drag racing for some time having been first introduced to the sport around 1990 by his mate Kev Schuurs.
Following a switch from Super Gas, Bailey is now in Modified where he is enjoying his racing more than ever.
“We’ve won a few local meets and gone rounds occasionally, but the highlight to me was the Knijff Earthmoving QDRC rounds last year. “Based on a round robin effect we were in a with a big chance early, dropped off then won some and had runner ups. Kelly Kidd looked home, we cleaned her up, then her dad, Phil Bellert got me and she finally was home – bloody good to see.
“When we got back it took me a couple of laps of the pits to stop belting myself!”
Schuurs owned a blown Altered with Mark Brew – Bailey was Schuurs’ boss and before he knew it he was bitten hard by the drag racing bug as a crew member. He then spent time crewing in Top Alcohol, also with Brew and Adrian Pozzebon before moving onto the combo of Brew and Bob Brackham. After a break in the late 90s, Bailey returned to racing when he met his wife through the family business and followed her back into drag racing when their kids went racing in Juniors.
“To me Modified is as hard technically as any bracket can be. Last years Winters was a good quarter final for us as well.
“I have been fortunate during my career to have good, experienced mentors advising me; Danny Speers of JOH Engineering Ipswich, Colin Lloyd of Headsense Coopers Plains and Aaron Tremayne at Tremaniac Racing. “I’d also like to thank my mate Changa, the crew girl and all the others for all the support over the years.” Bailey’s next move may be to Group Two following the purchase of an SBX headed SBC built by the Tremayne’s. But he isn’t giving too much away just yet. “We are considering a move to Group Two, we’ll wait and see how we go.”
It wasn’t long before the urge to get behind the wheel became too much and he finally jumped into the drivers seat in Super Street. “We bought the late Mark Evans A/Street Manhattan Monaro and ran in Super Street before, as usual, wanting to go faster,” Bailey explains. “Thus followed Louis Galea G/Gas Gemini Coupe and my Super Gas career progressed onto my current roadster. “Gavin Hansen and Craig Pitts of Wizard Race Products built the car and we could not be more happy with it. “They started the chassis in September 2007 and I performance tested it on the 19th January 2008. “It was built as Super Gas car and on the first half-track performance pass it rolled thru for a 9.902 ET. The car was awarded the “Best Engineered” at the 2008 Winternationals. “It’s widely known in Super Gas the drivers have got to be sharp at the tree. I firmly believe the car plays as big a role too and
Born in New Zealand, Liefting earned quite the pedigree in the Land of the Long White Cloud winning track championships and the 2000 New Zealand Nationals in Competition Eliminator.
Travis Leifting achieved his .000 Perfect Light in the first ever visit of ANDRA Championship Drag Racing to Warwick Dragway when the Summit Racing Equipment Sportsman Series visited South East Queensland in late November 2015.
That was the same year Liefting first shipped his car to Australia for the Winternationals managing a single qualifying pass before the rain set in and cancelled the event.
It came at the perfect time, in the Modified final of the event, against Katie Cunningham who went very close to her dial in a sensational decider. Liefting crossed the finish line first however earning his first ANDRA Christmas Tree and Summit Racing Equipment Sportsman Series victory. A second-generation racer – his father Nick started racing in the 60’s in New Zealand up until 1983. With a father who raced, Liefting was just two weeks old when he was taken drag racing and it has never left his life. “Our family business has always involved a motorsport theme, from our Speed Shop in New Zealand and starting Motorsport Connections with Mark Hinchelwood in Sydney to our current business - Speedflow Products, manufacturing quality Australian made performance hose fittings in Taree NSW,” says Liefting. “Racing was always a passion of mine, being brought up around the sport and reading all the local and international magazines, learning as much as possible about engines, cars and people! “All I wanted to do was go racing and when Junior Dragsters were introduced into New Zealand in 1989 we built a car which we debuted in 1990 at Champion Dragway.”
“On that one pass we did some engine damage and began to swap the short block in the car when the rain started to fall. We did not have a whole lot of equipment back then and were using the back door of a van for shelter to keep the rain off the engine. “That was when another team walked over with a pop up shelter to cover us and then I found myself standing back looking at about dozen people, friends and some that I did not know very well pulling the car apart and helping remove the engine and install another. Even though we did not make another pass that weekend due to the rain, it is still a highlight in my racing career!” In 2002 he moved to Australia for business and brought his car out a year later as the then Western Sydney International Dragway was being built 15 minutes from his home. “I raced the first bracket meeting there in 2003 and raced until 2009 when I damaged a motor and decided to have a break for a while. “My father is still heavily involved helping out at most meetings and preparing mine and my brother’s cars at home along with a Junior Dragster for my eldest daughter Charlotte.”
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PRO STOCK MOTORCYCLE
Craig Geddes Shane Baxter David Dequen Wayne Cartledge Steve Athans Steven Norman Kim Fardella Jim Ioannidis Daniel Camilleri Tom Dimitropoulos
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Kylie Tanner Harry Harris Paul Garbellini Robert Winterburn Garth O'Hehir
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FASTLANE celebrates 20 years since Top Doorslammer officially became an ANDRA Championship bracket.
Can it be true? Has it really been 20 years since Top Doorslammer was given Championship status?
While the past 20 years have flown by it also feels as though Doorslammer has been around forever as one of the premier ANDRA Drag Racing brackets. Perhaps it feels that way because the origins of Doorslammer stems from Wild Bunch when a group of Super Stock rebels carved out a niche for full bodied, supercharged V8 door cars. Pushed by ANDRA Hall of Famer Dennis Syrmis and led by legendary names like Victor Bray and Ben Gatt, Wild Bunch captured the imagination of drag racing fans around the country with their powerful, unpredictable, action packed passes. It became so popular that it was only a matter of time before a new Championship bracket was created and rebranded Top Doorslammer.
Included as an exhibition as part of the 1995 Australian Nationals at Calder Park Raceway, the event is famous for that “lawn mower pass” involving John Zappia and Brendan McSweeney. Thanks in large part to the drama of that event; the future of Top Doorslammer was secured in the eyes of the fans heading into what would be the very first Championship season in 1996. But it was the push from racers that got the new class over the line. “The 1995 Australian Nationals at Calder, myself and George Clasby ran in the Top Doorslammer exhibition bracket and were disqualified from competing at the Nationals,” explains Victor Bray. “That was the turning point for Top Doorslammer being given Group One status by ANDRA. Up to that stage the Wild Bunch was a very successful promotional tool for all the blown Doorslammers around at the time and gaining Group One status was not accepted well by all teams.” Victor Bray went on to dominate winning the first six straight Championships setting multiple records along the way in the face of stiff opposition from touring Americans and local Aussies keen to knock him off the perch.
“The class grew as many of the Wild Bunchers competed as well as continually attracting new teams,” adds Bray. “The biggest promotions were when USA racers toured here such as Johnny Rocca, John Scalpi and the biggest of all was the Scotty Cannon tour.” Peter Kapiris, another of the Super Stocker’s to first embrace Wild Bunch and then Top Doorslammer, remembers some of those early battles involving some of the first wave of stars. “The battles I used to have with Victor years ago were just awesome,” says Kapiris. “I remember my best race I’ve ever raced was a loss against Victor. I pulled a .004 light, hit the shift, hit the shift and I got pipped at the post by nothing! He used to have that big top end speed. “In Doorslammer obviously you’ve got to talk Victor, he was 80% of it all. He’s probably not there now and Ben (Bray) has taken over but it was Victor, George Clasby, Peter Gratz.” It was those salad days that cemented Top Doorslammer as one of the most popular brackets in ANDRA Drag Racing but it has remained so, according to Kapiris, due to the affinity fans feel for the cars as much as they
technically speaking... While many racers and fans prefer older body shapes, the technological components beneath those bodies have evolved at a rapid rate. “Of course adds Kapiris.
“With all the electronics coming out now it really has evolved. Before it was just a heavy motor, everything was mechanical now it’s all electrical. “That side of things is jumping leaps and bounds with all this MSD stuff. It’s really hard to stay on top of it. If you go back just a few years ago it was all mechanical this, mechanical that but now the electronics has come in you have to be really switched onto it.” Team owner and recently retired driver Maurice Fabietti agrees having watched Wild Bunch grow from raw brute force to a new high-tech Top Doorslammer era. “Back then we were an exhibition bracket of blown big block Chevy’s and small block Chevy’s to now it’s a high tech, big dollar, billet aluminium, PSI, professional class,” Fabietti says. “We’ve gone from mid seven seconds to mid five seconds in a 2750 pound sedan bodied car – we’re pretty lethal. We went from being an exhibition where there were kind of no rules – you had to have a supercharger and opening and closing doors – and that was the only rules. “Now there is supercharger overdrives, there’s weight breaks, there’s clutch limitations, wing limitations so we’re kind of limited in what we can do in a sense so you’ve got to work around that and make a bunch of power. Everything has got to be SFI’d and safe so there’s a lot more behind the scenes that people don’t see.
enjoy the sheer power and excitement. “When that class evolved there was already 10-20 cars and you go straight in there and run hard,” continues Kapiris. “It was just getting faster and faster and it just seemed like the bracket to be in. It was sort of affordable to run and a lot of fun. Blown cars are always a lot of fun to drive. It’s grown to be one of the premier brackets in Group One. “I think it’s become so popular because people can relate to it. They’re cars that once upon a time an Uncle John had or Uncle Steve or someone had in their garage or they’ve seen in movies. “I really think sticking to the old bodies is where it was at. We made the rule early on nothing post 1972 unless it was an Australian body – I think that’s where the big saviour for it was. “Otherwise it’d be Pro Stock with blown engines in it. A lot of the guys are still sticking to the old bodies, they have a lot
character, people relate to them and they look better, it’s the test of time.” Over the years body styles have not been without their controversies with some teams pushing the boundaries of the ANDRA rulebook.
“John (Zappia) running 5.60s that’s just unbelievable. PK going 258 mph, that’s pretty outstanding considering the cars we started out with. 15 years ago if you could run 6.2s you were the king of the kings. If you could run five seconds you’d be on top of the world. Now if you’re running 5.90s you’re probably not going to qualify.” CONTINUED PG 18
But the 2015 rule change allowing later bodies has opened up the door to some new incarnations such as the Corvette Stingray of Ben Bray or the Plymouth Duster driven by Paul Cannuli to name just two. “ANDRA have done a good job of the rules in Doorslammer in that involving the racers in the original conversations putting the rules in place, has meant there has been very little change in them right from the start and that is one of the secrets to the success of the bracket,” explains Bray. “Although abound with controversy ANDRA has done a good job of retaining the integrity of the shape of the cars bar a few welldocumented hiccups.”
The most successful driver in squeezing the most from every component and the man responsible for the new benchmark is John Zappia.
had because you’re already getting close to the pointy end. But people still keep making a little bit more, little bit more, little bit more power.
“The nitrous guys run away so they put a limitation on them and then the turbo cars run away so they put a limitation on them and then a supercharger car runs away.
The current eight-times back-to-back Champion is the only full time driver on the circuit spending every waking moment on refining the HQ Monaro known as Crusher.
“The blowers are stagnant, there’s nowhere else to go in the blowers you either have a tight one or a loose one but basically they are the same. And getting a better understanding of the clutch, suspension and tyres in getting the power to the ground.
“We’ve got a stable bracket. If we got rid of Zap we’ve got a fantastic class! (laughs). But we’ll wear the bastard out!”
From understanding parts to studying video footage like an NFL coach, Zappia’s full time job is Top Doorslammer. “Wild Bunch was a Super Sedan with a blower,” says Zappia.
“And then people started putting in blown alcohol Hemi’s as opposed to just putting a blower on a V8 and it’s just evolved from there.
“I was one of the first to go to Pat Austin and buy a blown alcohol Hemi – that put the car straight into the sixes and 200 mph back then. And since then we’ve just gone back and got better ones and better ones just to get with the best and latest equipment out there – just the same as Pro Stock I suppose. “They’ve always had a V8 with carby’s but look how the performances have changed. It’s the technology and lots of the small things added together. “Now there is state of the art cars, chrome moly chassis, carbon fibre bodies to get the weight down to the 2700-pound minimum. A lot of cars started off heavy and everyone is getting them down in weight now. You can get cars even lighter than that but you have to put weight back in. “It’s just an understanding of the suspension, getting the four-link working right. The struts and shocks have come a long way and then all the billet aluminium parts these days with Noonan cylinder heads. Most of the cars have got them these days. “And as time goes by there is less gains to be
“Anyone can buy a Doorslammer and have power but just getting the whole thing to work and know why it’s not working, when it’s not working, being able to read the data – the Motec’s are getting better, the Racepak’s are getting better. “There’s people monitoring more stuff, looking at more stuff, better footage – digital camera, everyone gets better video footage off a normal phone these days. So you get to see more, TV’s are bigger, everything is expanded and you can just see better as to what is going wrong or what you are trying to fix. “I don’t think there has been any one thing. For us in a way they legalised the lock up clutch, that helped with not wearing out clutches as badly, it just meant you didn’t have to slip the clutch all the way down. “Some people use them some people don’t. Some have gone fast with or without them so there’s not one single thing that gives you the advantage its just a combination of all the one per centers.” There is much debate as to what the future should hold for Top Doorslammer and what the next evolution will be. Many fans would like to see turbo’s and nitrous introduced to create a Pro Mod style bracket. Without dismissing turbo or nitrous cars altogether, most current Doorslammer teams would rather maintain the status quo. “We’ve got a fantastic class, we’ve got a strong spectator following, and we’ve got an abundance of cars. Why mess with something so good?” says Fabietti. “I say no (to turbos and nitrous) and I know most of the other teams say no. We’ve got a lot of contacts in America and they say the biggest thing NHRA did wrong was to allow turbos and nitrous in Pro Mod because it’s very hard to police.
“It can be real difficult depending on how the track is prepared. A lot of tracks in Australia seem to be too sticky at the beginning and not sticky enough further out. So you’re trying to throw everything at it to try and get it to take off – especially trying to shift 2700-pounds – and then where the power is coming on, the clutch is coming on, the track is going away.
John Zappia explains how hard it can be keeping a Doorslammer straight:
In America they seem to have their tracks a lot looser on the start line and the traction gets better at 60 foot and better at 100 foot and so forth. Whereas for drag radials they’ll make the track super sticky from the get go. No one likes that, Top Fuel might but no one in the other classes in America like that. They all like the track to be loose to start with and progressively have more traction further down. If it was prepared like that they’d get rid of the dreaded shake or they might not shake in
Peter Kapiris feels turbo and nitrous cars should start in Group Two and eventually get their own Group One bracket, much like Top Doorslammer refined their package over 20 years ago. “The whole turbo thing, if you were to say lets start a Group One class for turbo cars how many cars would there be that travel? There wouldn’t be many. So the next best thing would be to slip them into Doorslammer. “But it’s not like we struggle for numbers and it’s a totally different car, totally different set up. A lot of those cars wouldn’t fit into Doorslammer anyway with their body shapes and all the rest of it. So why have a bracket that’s strong, why mess with it? “You’d have to go back and rewrite the rules to suit two, three cars or however many cars there is. I reckon they should start a class for them and put them in Group Two. When they get the numbers put them into Group One.” Regardless of what the future may hold, it’s perhaps best to give the last word on the past 20 years to the pioneer Victor Bray – the man who kick started Top Doorslammer into the Championship bracket it is today: “As far as Team Bray goes we have enjoyed immensely our time in Doorslammer and are proud of all wins and accolades we were fortunate to achieve. “Hopefully Team Bray hasn’t finished with Doorslammer just yet, we have suffered while Ben recovered from his accident and lack of a naming rights sponsor certainly hasn’t helped and I have been working on getting myself in a better place to go racing again full time. “All in all the bracket has been very successful, probably more so than some racers at the time 20 years ago thought it would be but it is such a powerhouse of international quality performances now days that the old saying ‘Be careful what you wish for’ actually came true.”
the spots where they are or where they are overpowering the tracks now. I think there is a lot to be learned in that for sure. When the track is loose we don’t get shake, we get wheel spin and it’s smoother but when it’s really sticky you get shake through lack of wheel speed or too much wheel speed. But when you’ve got grip it’s trying to hop instead of spin smoothly. So it’s just a matter of getting that right with the tyres you’ve got and the shocks, suspension – it’s just a bit of nightmare trying to balance all that and then keep the thing in the groove. When you experience tyre shake it just shakes and you get blurred vision through the windscreen. Depending on where you are sometimes you can’t see where you are and you’ve got to pedal it, wait until everything settles and your vision refocusses and continue.”
thebeasts ZAP’S CURRENT HQ MONARO: The “Crusher” has been dominant since the moment it rolled out of Craig Burns’ SCF Race Cars workshop. “Crusher” has been with us since 2009 and has yet to lose a Top Doorslammer Championship.
VICTOR BRAY’S 57 CHEV: Possibly the most photographed car in Australian drag racing. Bray won the first six Top Doorslammer championships, held multiple records and at various times was the fastest Doorslammer in the world. In Ben Bray’s return to racing this car was a runner up at the 2015 Winters showing it’s time is not up yet. BEN BRAY’S MONARO: A Championship winning and record setting car. And while Ben has shown how versatile a driver he is, having successfully raced in Top Alcohol Funny Car, 4-cylinder turbo powered Datsun’s and his turbocharged Nissan Altima Factory Xtreme car it’s the Monaro that Ben has campaigned for the last decade, in which he continued to win rounds up until it’s 2015 retirement, that most people link him with. PETER KAPIRIS’ DODGE SARATOGA: It never gets tiring watching Kapiris steer The Batmobile on those long, smokey burnout! And much to the chagrin of John Zappia, this car is still the fastest Doorslammer of all setting the current National Record at 258.42 mph in 2013. GARY PHILLIPS STUDEBAKER: Since he first debuted this car in the late 90s it has been one of the more long-standing competitors in the bracket. Consistently near the front whenever he raced, Phillips was rewarded with the 2007 Top Doorslammer Championship. And he hasn’t even re-liveried the car in all those years!
PETER GRATZ DODGE DAYTONA: Possibly the single most controversial car ever built for Top Doorslammer. The long and swoopy front and high mount rear wing on the standard car were designed to cheat the air on NASCAR’s banked ovals in 1969 and were faithfully replicated on this race car; much to the displeasure of many racers who believed this to be an unfair advantage.
BEN AND JOE GATT EA FALCON: “Gonzo II” was possibly the first dedicated car built for Top Doorslammer, rather than merely a Wild Bunch or blown Super Stock car. This was also a contemporary body at a time when Wild Bunch was dominated by “shoebox” style bodies. ZAP’S RAT I: The original and the first Top Doorslammer event winner in the exhibition tournament at the 95 Nationals. And although not officially set in Wild Bunch or Doorslammer, Zappia propelled the first incarnation of the Rat to a 6.912 ET at Ravenswood in December 1991 making it the fastest door car anywhere in the world at the time.
BEN & JOE GATT
MISFUD DUSTER: With Paul Cannuli at the wheel, the Duster is part of the current new breed campaigning today. MAURICE FABIETTI’S MONARO: Flying the flag for the local manufacturers in a sea of classic muscle cars, the factory-backed Monaro is now driven by talented second-generation racer Mark Belleri and regularly features in the pointy end of results.
LUCKY & MARK BELLERI 67 CAMARO: The first of the new wave of first-gen Camaros and it was a successful car in it’s own right winning the 2006 Championship with Steve Stanic at the wheel.
LES WINTER’S 55 CHEV “WILD FRIDGE”: An early stalwart of the bracket and fan favourite. Much like Victor Bray’s black 57, Winter’s white 55 Chev was loved by Queenslanders for it’s timeless styling and massive burnouts.
SCOTTY CANNON STUDEBAKER: This car won twice in Australia over his 9798 tour and set Low ET or Top Speed at three of the four events he entered. Cannon narrowly missed out on taking the ANDRA Championship home to the US with him where he won the 1998 Pro Mod Championship in emphatic and dominant fashion.
WAYNE ROWE / RAY WARD “TEAM WARLORD” THUNDERBIRD: Okay, so this car was around well before Top Doorslammer became official. But it’s worth recognising as Australia’s first 200 mph door car running 201.79 mph at Calder Park in November 1989. This was a Top Doorslammer before anybody knew what a Top Doorslammer was!
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memorable mome So many big moments, so little page space…
Early Dominance of Victor Bray:
The 1957 Castrol Chevy is iconic. Victor Bray was the king of the Wild Bunch and undisputed king in the first six years of Top Doorslammer setting numerous world records and going back-to-back between 1996-2001 to set the benchmark for what was to come.
No Wheels? No Problem:
In the final of the 1998 Winternationals, Peter Gratz completely lost the back end of his 57 Chev. Following massive tyre shake shortly after the launch, the tyres, axle, wheelie bar, and parachutes – all of it spat out the back end and bounced down the track behind a helpless Chevy. To top it off this pass was a winning run when opponent Andrew Searle shutdown before accepting the green.
Ben Bray Goes Unbeaten:
On his way to winning the 2002/2003 Championship over his father by just 32 points, “The Kid” began what would become an undefeated 2003 calendar year stretching into the beginning of the next season with 27 consecutive round wins.
The 2010 Top Doorslammer Championship went down to the wire when challenger Robin Judd came within a whisker of toppling John Zappia. Going into the final race of the season, the Winternationals, Judd held a slender nine-point lead over his archrival. Heartbreakingly Judd would lose the Championship by 16 points when the two met in the final for all the marbles. Zappia won and the rest is history.
Kapiris Clutch Fire:
The 2012 Australian Nationals goes down as one of the greatest comeback stories ever. Peter Kapiris torched the cockpit of his Dodge Saratoga and singed his eyebrows when the clutch erupted during qualifying. Kapiris fought flames and impeded vision crossing the centre – just clipping Victor Bray who managed to escape unscathed – before coming to a stop. With the car repaired for eliminations Kapiris made a trio of 5.9-second passes defeating Mark Belleri, Ben Bray and finally Gary Phillips to claim the Australian Nationals title.
Where do you even start? Zap is now the eight-time back-to-back Champion and responsible for the majority of the most memorable moments over a large portion of the last decade. He is the first to reach the 5s, the first to reach the 5.80s, the first to reach the 5.70s and has now reached the 5.60s. His 5.683 ET in 2015 is the quickest single pass of any Doorslammer in ANDRA history with the ANDRA National Record officially set at 5.693 in the final of the 2015 Winternationals. And while technically it would make this cover story 21 years of Top Doorslammer, his Australian Nationals winning pass in 1995 swerving out onto the grass and back onto the track will live on in infamy.
Kapiris survived this fire and went on to win the Nationals.
Zap and McSweeney miss by that much.
Gratz loses the back end.
Zappia won the 2010 Championship on this pass by just 16 points
racerproﬁ proﬁ le COREY BUTTIGIEG AGE: 46
Bacchus Marsh, Victoria
Pro Stock Motorcycle
Modified Bike, Competition Bike
Corey Buttigieg started racing Motocross in his teens modifying road bikes and racing friends. At 20 years old Buttigieg bought his first Harley and immediately began looking at ways to make it faster. He has since entered drag racing and gone on to conquer Modified Bike and Competition Bike – where he won the 2013 Championship – and he is the Australian land speed record holder for MPS-PG 2000cc Harley Davidson bagger set in 2015. Buttigieg is also the owner of the worlds fastest land speed Harley Davidson bagger under 2000cc also set in 2015. Since entering Pro Stock Motorcycle, just this season alone Buttigieg has finished runner up at the East Coast Nationals in Sydney and won his first ANDRA Gold Christmas Tree in Group One taking the Australian Nationals at Calder Park. That win came in dramatic circumstances following a wild ride and gigantic save job through the braking area when his back tyre disintegrated in the semi finals before completing the fairy tale on one cylinder when Locky Ireland broke at the line.
7.20 ET (2016 Australian Nationals, Calder Park), 187 mph (2015 East Coast Nationals, Sydney Dragway)
HIGHEST ACHIEVEMENTS: 2012 Modified Bike VIC/TAS
Divisional Champion, 2013 Competition Bike Champion, 2013 Competition Bike VIC/TAS Divisional Champion, Winner 2016 Australian Nationals
His two kids Abbie and Chilli will also join Buttigieg this season in Summit Racing Equipment Junior Dragster and the Harley man also has plans to expand his team of motorcycles so stay tuned.
Why Pro Stock Motorcycle? My wife Karissa bought my first drag bike on eBay. It wasn’t long before we teamed up with Geelong Harley Davidson and Crew Chief Dan Lesnock winning the Nationals and setting a world record.
In between drag racing Harley Davidson approached me to design and build a land speed bike. Dan and I started land speed racing on a Harley Davidson bagger, setting
the Australian record for its class and we’re taking the world’s fastest bagger under 2000cc back to the salt this March 2016. Again my wife brought me another bike and we wanted a new challenge on the Pro Stock Buell. I have been riding motorcycles since I was a teenager starting with motocross, road bikes, drag racing Mod Bike, Comp Bike and so the next natural step was Pro Stock Motorcycle.
Describe a typical PSM pass…
A typical Pro Stock Motorcycle pass is a buzz from the time you let the clutch out all the way to when you have to start braking.
If you weren’t racing Pro Stock Motorcycle what bracket would you race? I would race any bracket, I love racing!
What do you like to do away from the track?
Surfing, going to the beach, custom bikes, family and work (Corey is the owner of a civil works company specialising in sewerage and water throughout Western Victorian region.)
What is your all time favourite motorcycle?
Anything old school, fast, loud. Pommie Pete’s twin engine.
Would you like to try riding a Top Fuel Motorcycle one day? I would love to ride a Fuel bike one day but to actually race one would be a whole different story. You’ve got to give these guys credit for riding these monsters.
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ANDRA DRAG RACING SERIES JULY 17-18, 2015
NITRO UP NORTH HIDDEN VALLEY DRAG STRIP
AUGUST 14-15, 2015 NT TITLES HIDDEN VALLEY DRAG STRIP
NOVEMBER 7-8, 2015 EAST COAST NATIONALS SYDNEY DRAGWAY
JANUARY 23-24, 2016
AUSTRALIAN NATIONALS CALDER PARK RACEWAY
MARCH 12, 2016
CALDER PARK RACEWAY ANDRA DRAG RACING SERIES
APRIL 9-10, 2016
ADELAIDE INTERNATIONAL RACEWAY ANDRA DRAG RACING SERIES
SUMMIT SPORTSMAN SERIES JULY 25-26, 2015
DESERT NATIONALS ALICE SPRINGS INLAND DRAGWAY
NOVEMBER 7-8, 2015 EAST COAST NATIONALS SYDNEY DRAGWAY
NOVEMBER 14-15, 2015 FUCHS SOUTH COAST RACEWAY PORTLAND
NOVEMBER 28-29, 2015 WARWICK DRAGWAY
DECEMBER 4-5, 2015 MILDURA SUNSET STRIP
DECEMBER 27, 2015 ROWE MEMORIAL CALDER PARK RACEWAY
JANUARY 16-17, 2016 SOUTH COAST RACEWAY PORTLAND
JANUARY 23-24, 2016 AUSTRALIAN NATIONALS CALDER PARK RACEWAY
MARCH 12-13, 2016 STEEL CITY RACEWAY WHYALLA
APRIL 9-10, 2016
ADELAIDE INTERNATIONAL RACEWAY
round 26 roundreport
WildWarw Brendan Edyvane upset the Top Sportsman apple cart in the Summit Racing Equipment Sportsman Series presented by Southern Downs Regional Council at Warwick Dragway.
The volunteers at Warwick Dragway produced a flawless show while the racers turned on the action in front of the Southern Downs Deputy Mayor to bring a successful close to the first ever National Championship event to be held in Warwick. Stepping up from Super Sedan to Top Sportsman, Brendan Edyvane went all the way to the final to defeat strong favourite Scott Porter who left the start line .209 seconds too early for the red light. Edyvane first defeated Neil Maxwell in Round 1 before sending Jason Stares home in the semi final. The underdog then recorded a 5.747 elapsed time on the 5.71 dial in to defeat Porter and claim the Silver Christmas Tree. “It’s a bit of a surprise,” said Edyvane. “We stepped up to Top Sportsman for the weekend and it all worked out well in the end. “I looked over and saw Porter coming so I was just hoping we’d go pretty close to the dial in and we weren’t far off. “I cut a good light and he red lit so he virtually gave it to me on the start line.” Christine Steffens wrapped up a perfect weekend with a Supercharged Outlaws final victory over Brian Trott. Steffens defeated Tim Caswell in Round 1 to earn a solo pass in the semi final but was made to work for it in the final showdown. The Lockyer Engine Reconditioners entry left the start line first leaving Trott to chase but he couldn’t reel her in with a 4.776 on a 4.75 dial in to Steffens’ 4.612 on a 4.57 dial in.
“We had a pretty lucky weekend,” said Steffens. “This bracket is hard work. It’s a tough bracket and all the racers are hard to beat.
“Having to do dial in’s and the heat has just about got us but the old girl came out in the end – and I’m talking about the car! “I have to thank my husband Ricky, without him I wouldn’t be racing. My daughter Kaylee usually helps us out but she disappeared this weekend so I have a couple of ring ins. “I’ve got Slim who always helps, I’ve got Noel who has come and helped out and Mark Davison. Without all those guys I wouldn’t drive, the car can’t get down the other end without a crew.” Travis Liefting spoiled the party for top qualifier Katie Cunningham in Modified winning the final with a perfect reaction time at the start line to record a 5.737 second time on a 5.71 dial in. Cunningham was always under pressure given Liefting’s perfect .000 light and could not make up the difference with a hard fought 4.876 on a 4.86 dial in. Liefting earlier defeated Lucas Holz, and Paul Doeblien to reach the final and as the first and only competitor to record a .000 reaction time during eliminations, he was awarded the Summit Racing Equipment Perfect Light Award. Kevin Langridge found himself on the winner’s podium in Super Sedan defeating Peter Whitbourne in the final with a 6.250 on a 6.21 dial in from a 6.740 and a 6.65 dial in. Langridge had to overcome Ashley Thomson, Mandy Pukis and Mitchell Bauer to reach the final and claim the trophy. The tree for Modified Bike went to Tammy Goldthorp who defeated a red lighting Phil Halpin in the final with a 5.969 on a 5.89 dial in from Halpin who fouled by just .011 seconds. To reach the final Goldthorp eliminated Luke Spence, Matt Halpin and Peter Strudwick.
roundsnapshot Summit Racing Equipment Sportsman Series Round 4 Presented by Southern Downs Regional Council Warwick Dragway – Warwick, Queensland
28-29 NOV 2015 Photos credit: Warren Jackson
wick Also in Modified Bike, top qualifier Daniel Sekli claimed a new eighth-mile National speed record for the B/MB class reaching 125.10 mph for the first ever National Record to be set at Warwick Dragway. Rob Winterburn showed his consistency to back up the Winternationals win earlier this year and a runner up at the recent East Coast Nationals in Sydney to add another ANDRA Christmas Tree to his collection. Winterburn defeated Rob Price in the Super Street final with a 7.471 on a 7.42 dial in to a 7.434 and a 7.43 dial in. Earlier in the day Mark Peterson, Andrew Stathis and David Freeman were sent packing on the way to the final. Dylan Leo wrapped up a successful weekend in Summit Racing Equipment Junior Dragster taking home the trophy and winning the Gridstar by YBI Creative Best Presented Team Award. Leo defeated Jordan Spencer and Andrew Tinney on his way to a final win against Charlee Wilson with an 8.148 second pass on an 8.12 dial in from Wilson’s 8.912 on an 8.94 dial in. Finally in Super Gas, Dale O’Dwyer eliminated current Super Gas champ Graeme Spencer followed by Darryl Stephen on the way to defeating Kerry Boyde with a 6.308 second pass to Boyde’s 6.378. The event came to a close just as the weather turned and as a result ANDRA thanked Warwick Dragway and all of the hard working volunteers for their effort to complete the event.
SUPERCHARGED OUTLAWS Christine Steffens 4.612 (4.57) def Brian Trott 4.776 (4.75) TOP SPORTSMAN Brendan Edyvane 5.747 (5.71) def Scott Porter 4.475 (4.50, red light) MODIFIED Travis Liefting 5.737 (5.71) def Katie Cunningham 4.876 (86) SUPER SEDAN Kevin Langridge 6.250 (6.21) def Peter Whitbourne 6.740 (6.65) MODIFIED BIKE Tammy Goldthorp 5.969 (5.89) def Phil Halpin 6.797 (6.80, red light) SUPER STREET Robert Winterburn 7.471 (7.42) def Rob Price 7.434 (7.43) JUNIOR DRAGSTER Dylan Leo 8.148 (8.12) def Charlee Wilson 8.912 (8.94) SUPER GAS Dale O’Dwyer 6.308 (6.30) def Kerry Boyde 6.378 (6.30)
lighting up the lense
round 28 roundreport
Hotsummer Round 5 of the Summit Racing Equipment Sportsman Series presented by Mildura Rural City Council produced a trio of first time winners in sweltering conditions at Mildura Sunset Strip.
Enlisting the help of Champion Top Fuel Crew Chief Ben Patterson, hometown hero David Thornton secured his first ever ANDRA Christmas Tree trophy in Supercharged Outlaws defeating Adam Murrihy.
“I can’t explain how it feels, it’s unbelievable,” said an emotional Stares. “So many years, Super Sedan, Top Sportsman all for this and finally we’ve done it.
“Winning the first Christmas tree is awesome, said Thornton. “We came close two weeks ago in Portland, we just missed out and I thought that would be my only chance to win one but here we are, one in the bank.”
“I’ve got to thank my uncle Bob, my father in law Michael, my wife and kids who usually come with us and great sponsors, we can’t do it without them. VPW, Pro Flow, Lucas Oil Sunoco race fuel, they make it so much easier.”
Thornton earlier defeated Mark Kuhn and Wayne Talbot on his way to the final.
Stares defeated Julian Carafa and Phil Yfantidis to set up his winning run.
Cory Dyson won his first ever Christmas Tree in Modified beating the form man Matt Forbes who fouled at the start line.
Coming off two wins from two this season, Craig Geddes was the man to beat in Super Comp but reigning Super Stock Champion Steve Norman had other ideas in a Patterson Racing versus Bob Book Enterprises showdown.
Murrihy broke out by just .002 seconds handing the win to a hard charging Thornton with a 4.668 second pass on a 4.66 dial in.
Forbes’ red light proved fortuitous for Dyson who pushed his dragster quicker than his nominated dial in of 4.72 with a 4.701 second victory lap. “It’s a very surreal feeling,” said Dyson. “All the thanks goes to the crew, they’ve done a hard job today. The track staff did really well (in the hot conditions) so it was a great day. “I’d like to thank my sponsors Mobil1 and all the other people, they know who they are. Big thanks to the crew, the family and Mobil.” Dyson eliminated two former Modified Champions in Craig Baker and Shane Wynd either side of a victory over Derek Wills and a solo pass in Round 3. The spoils in Top Sportsman went to Jason Stares who picked up his very first ANDRA Christmas Tree against Paul Russo. Stares crossed the line first in a close one with a 4.780 second pass on a 4.77 dial in from Russo’s 4.892 and 4.87 dial in.
Norman reacted in .003 seconds at the start line to record a 5.092 second pass on a 5.24 index from Geddes who was pasted to the tree followed by a 4.665 elapsed time on a 4.95 index. “All of the boys out here are tough, there’s no doubt about that but Craig is always up there,” said Norman. “It was a good win in really trying conditions. All the crew and staff out here (at Mildura Sunset Strip), the volunteers, everybody has done an outstanding job. It’s been excellent.” Norman had to do it the hard way first defeating Raymond Oxley before a tight win against Daniel Camilleri in the semi final. Camilleri at least found some consolation resetting the DD/GA eighthmile National Record for elapsed time and speed with a 4.853 ET and 143.20 mph. Runner up Geddes at least reset the E/D National Records for ET and speed with a 4.628 second pass and 146.58 mph.
roundsnapshot Summit Racing Equipment Sportsman Series – Round 5 Presented by Mildura Rural City Council Mildura Sunset Strip – Mildura, Victoria
4-5 DEC 2015 Photos credit: Dave Hope
rnights Reigning three-time Champion John Kapiris added another trophy to his collection in Super Sedan defeating Danny Bucella in the final. Kapiris recorded a 6.264 ET on a 6.24 dial in from a 5.697 break out ET on a 5.70 dial in. Also in Super Sedan, Vlado Turic and his VT Racing Team were awarded the Gridstar by YBI Best Presented Award. They took home the Best Presented Trophy, six Best Presented Caps and a $50 Summit Racing Equipment voucher. Shane Walker won his second consecutive event in Modified Bike following his win in Portland in November. Walker beat Bryan Finn to the stripe with a 7.087 ET on a 6.95 dial in from a 6.115 ET and 6.04 dial in. Harry Harris picked up his third Super Street win on the trot defeating Garth O’Hehir with a 7.475 ET on a 7.41 dial in to a 7.079 ET with a 7.02 dial in. Summit Racing Equipment Junior Dragster pitted brother versus sister when Bradley Bishop chalked one up against his big sister Natalie. The younger sibling crossed the line first with an 8.050 second pass on an 8.05 from an 8.119 ET on an 8.03 dial in. No one was able to touch Super Gas top qualifier Colin Griffin this weekend who made up for a final loss in Portland to take out the event win over Jeff Romeo. Griffin posted a 6.309 ET from a 6.318 second pass in the opposite lane. ANDRA would like to thank the Sunraysia Drag Racing Association for the tireless efforts of their volunteers and the Mildura Rural City Council for throwing their support behind the event.
SUPER COMP Steve Norman 5.092 (5.24 index) def Craig Geddes 4.665 (4.95 index) SUPERCHARGED OUTLAWS David Thornton 4.668 (4.66) def Adam Murrihy 4.198 (4.20, break out) TOP SPORTSMAN Jason Stares 4.780 (4.77) def Paul Russo 4.892 (4.87) MODIFIED Cory Dyson 4.701 (4.72, break out) def Matt Forbes 4.732 (4.75, red light) SUPER SEDAN John Kapiris 6.211 (6.21) def Danny Buccella 5.697 (5.70, break out) MODIFIED BIKE Shane Walker 6.115 (6.04) def Bryan Finn 7.087 (6.95) SUPER STREET Harry Harris 7.475 (7.41) def Garth O’Hehir 7.079 (7.02) JUNIOR DRAGSTER Bradley Bishop 8.050 (8.05) def Natalie Bishop 8.119 (8.03) SUPER GAS Colin Griffin 6.318 (6.30, holeshot)) def Jeff Romeo 6.309 (6.30)
lighting up the lense
InHeintzsight Les Heintz has put his name on the Rowe Memorial Super Stock trophy once again with victory in Round 6 of the Summit Racing Equipment Sportsman Series at Calder Park Raceway.
A previous winner of the Rowe Memorial Super Stock Classic, Heintz qualified fourth in the seven-car Super Stock field then defeated Ray Oxley and Daniel Camilleri for a birth in the final. There he defeated Mick Simic who fell asleep at the tree with a .410 reaction time as Heintz claimed victory with an 8.577 second pass on an 8.66 index to a 9.218 on a 9.39 index. “To win it for Andrew (Rowe), keep it in Victoria and bring it back to Calder Park where Andrew was just a great competitor, it was just fantastic,” said Heintz. “Knowing him personally I know he would have been very happy. I’m very luck to have won (the Rowe Memorial) more than once. “We haven’t raced the car for six to eight months and I was a little bit rusty – it took a little bit to get used to again. With the new surface at Calder and getting the car to adjust to it, we worked reasonably hard on it. “I’ve got great crew people, great crew chief and some very special people that give us a hand.” In Competition Eliminator, Craig Geddes kept up his recent run of form reaching his fourth final in as many starts this season picking up a third ANDRA Christmas Tree in the process. Geddes had already taken the Trick Flow Top Qualifier then dispatched Mike Nola in Round 1 followed by an engine saving bye in the semi final. Against Shane Baxter in the final, Geddes had the reaction advantage and never looked back covering the 1000 feet distance for the bracket at this event in 6.243 seconds on a 6.39 index from a 5.655 on a 5.86 index. “It feels terrific, we’re really enjoying our racing and we’re passionate about ANDRA Drag Racing and the Summit Racing Equipment Sportsman Series,” said Geddes. “We’ve got a good car, a good combination and an index that is probably helping us at the moment. We’re just nibbling away at that – we can set the record and continue to do that as we’re working over the eighth-mile, 1000 feet and quarter mile tracks so there is plenty of scope there for all the records.
“We can put down some good runs when we need to, we’re still learning the car and the five speed is an interesting thing but that car being so light, and it doesn’t have a lot of power, so if you mess up it’s still fast.”
Six weeks ago in Portland Matt Forbes became the first Sportsman racer to win two ANDRA Christmas Trees in one event. He can now lay claim to being the first driver to achieve the feat twice and in the same season with another Modified/Super Gas double. Forbes first defeated Darryl Stephen on a holeshot in the Super Gas final with a near perfect .002 reaction time to lead all the way in the 9.90 fixed index class on a 10.279 second effort to a quicker but losing 10.267. He then set on an Olympic sized dash back to the staging lanes to pilot his Modified dragster on a drive around victory over Kenny Stewart with a 7.579 elapsed time on a 7.32 dial in to Stewart’s 7.847 second ET and 7.49 dial in. To reach both finals Forbes defeated Super Gas number one qualifier Anthony Panetta in Round 1 and defending National Champion Graeme Spencer in the semi final. In Modified the history making all rounder defeated 2014 Champion Shane Wynd for a solo in Round 2 before sending Neil Dyson packing in the semi final. At the beginning of the month Jason Stares claimed his first ever ANDRA Christmas Tree in Top Sportsman bookending December with a second consecutive victory. Stares qualified second and rode his luck in Round 1 when Andrew Darby turned on the red light before receiving a second round bye. When Stares needed to be good, he was very good reacting quickest against number one qualifier Darren Saliba for a big semi final win and
roundsnapshot Rowe Memorial Super Stock Classic - Summit Racing Equipment Sportsman Series – Round 6 Calder Park Raceway – Melbourne, Victoria
27 DEC 2015
Photos credit: Outlaw Images
winlights COMPETITION Craig Geddes 6.243 (6.39 index) def Shane Baxter 5.655 (5.86 index) SUPER STOCK Les Heintz 8.577 (8.66 index) def Mick Simic 9.218 (9.39 index)
then taking out 2015 Championship Runner Up Stuart McBain on a 7.402 second pass on a 7.29 dial in from an 8.080 and 7.95 dial in. Supercharged Outlaws became a war of attrition as one team after another suffered breakages ultimately leaving first round winners Adam Murrihy and Justin Russell to face off in the final. Murrihy reacted slowly at the start line and coasted the length of the track but Russell had already jumped the gun with a red light by .006 seconds handing the win to the Territorian. Russell stayed on the gas the entire 1000-foot distance then inexplicably turned sharply to the right, bouncing off both walls and turning over on his lid through the breaking area. Thankfully Russell was out of the car immediately and cleared by medics on site however his Chevy was not so lucky. Joe Bresciano claimed victory in Super Sedan when he defeated Enio Morrocco in the final with a 9.199 ET on the 9.15 dial in from a 9.403 and 9.34 dal in. Bresciano had earlier received a bye in Round 1 then eliminated top qualifier Benny Phillips in Round 2. He then defeated Chris Theo and threetime Champion John Kapiris to march into the final with some swagger. Matthew Allan was made to do it the hard way in Modified Bike even though he qualified second and received a solo pass in Round 2. He went through some top contenders but was rewarded in the final when Wayne Odgers red lit opening the path to a casual 9.402-second victory lap on an 8.90 dial in. Garth O’Hehir overcame Peter Jephson, David Brae and top qualifier Anthony Barbara in Super Street then benefited from a solo pass in the semi final to set up a final showdown with Anton Krajina. O’Hehir kept his cool with an 11.584 second pass on an 11.24 dial in as Krajina fouled at the line and gave away the victory. And finally defending Summit Racing Equipment Junior Dragster Champion Eden Ward bounced back from a disappointing East Coast Nationals campaign defeating Josh Baker in the final despite a slower reaction time. Ward recorded an 8.036 on the 7.97 dial in to the cross the finish line first from Baker’s 9.219 on a 9.02 dial in. Ward earlier eliminated Natalie Bishop, Dylan Panetta and Michael Naylor before coasting through a solo semi final. Also in Junior Dragster, Daniel ‘BatDan’ Carranza and his team were awarded the Gridstar by YBI Best Presented Team. They received the Best Presented trophy, six Best presented caps and a $50 Summit Racing Equipment voucher.
SUPERCHARGED OUTLAWS Adam Murrihy 11.139 (5.41) def Justin Russell 6.011 (5.99, red light) TOP SPORTSMAN Jason Stares 7.402 (7.29) def Stuart McBain 8.080 (7.95) MODIFIED Matt Forbes 7.579 (7.32) def Kenny Stewart 7.847 (7.49) SUPER SEDAN Joe Bresciano 9.199 (9.15) def Enio Morrocco 9.403 (9.34) MODIFIED BIKE Matthew Allan 9.402 (8.90) def Wayne Odgers 11.316 (10.90, red light) SUPER STREET Garth O’Hehir 11.584 (11.24) def Anton Krajina 11.503 (11.41, red light) JUNIOR DRAGSTER Eden Ward 8.036 (7.97) def Josh Baker 9.219 (9.02) SUPER GAS Matt Forbes 10.279 (9.90, holeshot) def Darryl Stephen 10.267 (9.90)
lighting up the lense
round 32 roundreport
SizzlingSouth The action came thick and fast at South Coast Raceway for Round 7 of the Summit Racing Equipment Sportsman Series. Several first time winners climbed to the top of the podium while an older legendary face of ANDRA Drag Racing won his first National event in 18 years. In Supercharged Outlaws Wayne Talbot overcame a few bumpy rides after spinning the tyres earlier in the weekend but when it came to the final he recorded a perfect .000 reaction time to Adam Murrihy’s .122 RT. He needed every bit of that advantage to beat Murrihy on a holeshot with a 4.347 elapsed time on a 4.14 dial in to the quicker but losing 4.313 and 4.14 dial in. “Thanks South Coast Raceway,” said Talbot. “Thanks Graham Hussey, Jayden Talbot for welding the car between rounds – he had to weld it twice – thanks everyone we finally did it! It’s only taken us 17 years as a team, thank you very much!” Talbot defeated Ryan Van Dyk in Round 1 and cruised to a solo semi final win to set up his winning finale. Talbot also received the Perfect Light Award as the first competitor to achieve a .000 reaction time during eliminations. Craig Geddes is now four from five finals this season after he went all the way in Super Comp for the second time in a row in Portland and his second Series win in a row following a victory at Calder Park in December. His final opponent Jim Ioannidis set a new eighth-mile B/MSA ET record with his 5.843 in qualifying but he spun the tyres in the final and could only watch as Geddes claimed another Christmas Tree with a 4.787 ET on a 4.71 index. “To be in five finals in a row is amazing but to win four is a great feeling,” said Geddes. “We’re going pretty well and we’re glad to have (the trophies) and we’re going to continue to get as many as we can that’s for sure.” Geddes eliminated a trio of Super Stockers to notch another one for the Competition Eliminator crew with earlier round wins over Daniel Camilleri and Kim Fardella before defeating Ioannidis in the final. Gordon Crawford proved that good things come to those who wait with his first ANDRA Christmas Tree in his 10-year career at the age of 65 in Modified Bike. Crawford had the reaction time advantage and held firm to defeat Gavin Dohnt in the final with a 6.341 ET on a 6.32 dial in from a 5.909 ET on a 5.89 dial in. “It’s been 10 years and the first time I’ve won (any event) outside of WA,” said Crawford.
“Always the bridesmaid and never the bride, it’s a nice feeling and congratulations to Gavin on that run too. “We really enjoyed it here in Portland, it’s been absolutely fantastic, it’s a great venue and the people have been really terrific. I really enjoyed the whole weekend’s racing.” Crawford had to overcome Ron Adams, David Yanko, Mario Baker and Danny Rickard just to get to the final. Also in Modified Bike Shane Walker and his team were awarded the Gridstar by YBI Best Presented Team. Walker and his crew received the Best Presented Trophy, six Best Presented caps and a $50 Summit Racing Equipment voucher.
Another first time winner, Paul Russo, took the honours in Top Sportsman defeating the in form Jason Stares who was racing in his third final in a row. Russo had a near perfect .003 reaction at the tree giving him the edge on a 4.912 ET and 4.87 dial in to a 4.733 on the 4.71 dial in. “It’s taken a year and a half to get there but we finally got there, we’re stoked,” said Russo. “We raced Jason Stares a couple of weeks ago and lost so it’s good to finally get one back on him, thanks Jase. “And I’d just like to thank all my crew, Portland – it’s a beautiful spot to race, beautiful weekend – and ANDRA, Summit and everybody who was involved.” Russo knocked out Jason Arbery in Round 1 followed by Paul Partridge and Darren Saliba on his way to the final. ‘The Bricklayer’ Graeme Cooper ended his 18 year drought picking up the win in Super Sedan over Joe Bresciano. Cooper had the reaction advantage to lead the way and win with a 6.652 ET on a 6.64 dial in from a 5.884 second pass on a 5.84. “It’s been a long slog trying but the competition is just so good these days that this is a real achievement,” said Cooper.
roundsnapshot Summit Racing Equipment Sportsman Series – Round 7 South Coast Raceway – Portland Victoria
hCoast “Everyone that raced today was terrific. I’d like to thank Ricky Glass and Martin for giving us a hand today. “I’d like to thank Paul Rogers Transmissions, Neil David Tax Agents, Rare Spares and there’s one particular bloke I’d like to thank and his name is Dave Butcher from Frankston Engine Centre. If it wasn’t for him a couple of years ago we would have been out a long time ago and he’s made a real difference to us. Thanks Dave.” Robert Kardum was the first to fall at the hands of Cooper followed by Danny Bucella, Neil Davis and current three-time Champ John Kapiris. Simon Barlow wrapped up his second victory of the season in Modified with victory over Queenslander Katie Cunningham in the final. Barlow went through in Round 1 on a solo then defeated Shane Wynd in the semi finals. He then produced a 4.693 second pass on a 6.47 dial in as Cunningham ran quicker than her 4.73 dial in with a 4.721 ET to break out. In Super Street Chris Tatchell went home a happy man winning his first Christmas Tree trophy over Paul Garbellini who travelled all the way from WA. Garbellini had raced a week ago in Perth then drove his race car to Portland, almost securing the ultimate reward for his epic road trip.
16-17 January 2016 Photo credit: Dave Hope, Outlaw Images
SUPER COMP Craig Geddes 7.787 (4.71 index) def Jim Ioannidis 10.580 (6.03 index) SUPERCHARGED OUTLAWS Wayne Talbot 4.347 (4.14, holeshot) def Adam Murrihy 4.313 (4.17) TOP SPORTSMAN Paul Russo 4.912 (4.87, holeshot) def Jason Stares 4.733 (4.71) MODIFIED Simon Barlow 4.693 (4.67) def Katie Cunningham 4.721 (4.73) SUPER SEDAN Graeme Cooper 6.652 (6.64, holeshot)) def Joe Bresciano 5.884 (5.84) MODIFIED BIKE Gordon Crawford 6.341 (6.32, holeshot) def Gavin Dohnt 5.909 (5.89) SUPER STREET Chris Tatchell 7.711 (7.62), holeshot) def Paul Garbellini 7.088 (7.08) JUNIOR DRAGSTER Natalie Bishop 8.035 (8.01) def Jake Berias 8.704 (8.65) SUPER GAS Colin Griffin 6.295 (6.30, break out) def Warren Bull 6.471 (6.30, red light)
lighting up the lense
Tatchell was too good however as his .004 reaction time all but won it at the start line propelling him to a 7.711 ET on a 7.62 dial in from a near perfect package of 7.088 ET on a 7.08 dial in. Tatchell earlier defeated Chris Logan, Anton Krajina and Dean Cleary before a solo semi final. Natalie Bishop, runner up to her brother in Mildura last month, won her first National event with victory over Jake Berias in the Summit Racing Equipment Junior Dragster final. Bishop recorded an 8.035 ET on an 8.01 dial in from an 8.704 and 8.65 dial in. Earlier wins over Brodie Zappia, Garth Spooner and Kelly Donnelly paved the way for Bishop’s maiden Christmas Tree. And finally in Super Gas Colin Griffin wrapped up his second win of the season despite a break out over a red lighting Warren Bull in the final. Griffin recorded a 6.295 ET in the fixed 6.30 (over the eighth-mile) index class but Bull fouled by .154 seconds. Griffin negotiated earlier wins against Michael DeRose and Matt Forbes either side of a solo quarterfinal pass. ANDRA would like to thank South Coast Raceway owner John Cleary and the South Coast Drag Racing Association volunteers, officials and safety crews for an outstanding weekend of racing.
round 34 roundreport
Return Nat The first Australian Nationals to be held at Calder Park Raceway in 15 years was a roaring success with two days of big crowds, great racing and giant performances.
It was also the first Group 1 drag racing action at Calder Park since 2014 as the ANDRA Drag Racing Series came to town to put on a show for racestarved Melbourne fans. John Cannuli (Top Alcohol), John Zappia (Top Doorslammer), Chris Matheson (Top Fuel Motorcycle), Nino Cavallo (Pro Stock), and Corey Buttigieg (Pro Stock Motorcycle) all lifted the most prestigious trophy in Australian Drag Racing, the ANDRA Gold Christmas Tree. Runner up at Hidden Valley earlier in the season, Cannuli won his first ever Gold Tree event by top qualifying and finishing the job in the final against Gary Busch. Both Cannuli and Busch left the start line with near identical reaction times but points leader Cannuli went on to record the quickest Top Alcohol pass of the weekend with a 5.626 elapsed time at 253.42 mph to a slowing Busch on an 8.072 at 111.58 mph. “These are few and far between, we’re going to cherish this one – this is our first Nationals event win and we got another track record,” said Cannuli. “Mate, any win is a win. We’ve been chasing this race track all weekend but we made it right and got it right for the final and I’m going to take this trophy home – there’s going to be a lot of Corona drinking tonight.” John Zappia won his first Nationals event at
Calder Park since the iconic 1995 final when he “mowed the grass” and took the first ever Australian Nationals Top Doorslammer victory.
In a heavyweight battle, Peter Kapiris got the start line advantage in front of his home crowd but Zappia reeled him in to win with a 5.762 ET at 248.29 mph to a 6.605 second pass at 231.36 mph. “After last night running a 6.10, running all over the track and a 6.07 it was pretty scary stuff,” said Zappia “They prepped the track a bit more today and we went away, did our homework, detuned the car a little bit and we just got the Fuchs Monaro to go down the track without having to pedal. “Thanks to new sponsor Dananni Hotshots, Speedmaster, Southside Engine Centre, Noonan Race Engineering, K-Craft Bullbars, Santhuff Shocks, B & J Transmissions, Engel Australia, Appealing Signs, Crow Cams and Fuchs Lubricants.” Zappia defeated Mark Belleri in Round 1 on a 5.749, the quickest ever Top Doorslammer pass at Calder Park, before a victory over rival Grant O’Rourke in the semi finals. The 11-car field in Pro Stock put on a show all weekend and although the conditions weren’t conducive to six second ET’s the racing was tight and close. Bill Perdikaris walked away from a wild flip in Round 1 against Lee Bektash that drew gasps from the large crowd on hand but he was cleared by medical staff on site and given the okay. In the final Nino Cavallo defeated Aaron Tremayne who experienced clutch problems at the start line resulting in a -.163 red light
handing the win to the Victorian on a 7.116 ET at 177.35 mph. “It’s the best win ever,” said Cavallo.
“Home track, fans, family, they’ve all come to watch and it’s the best feeling ever, I couldn’t be more happy. I think everyone is going to be pretty happy, for sure.” Cavallo accounted for Jason Grima in the first round and then Tyronne Tremayne who also red lit in the semi finals. In his first ever appearance at Calder Park Raceway, three-time Top Fuel Motorcycle Champion Chris Matheson picked up the Australian Nationals title, defeating friend Chris Porter in the final. Matheson reacted the quickest at the line and steered his Nitro Voodoo machine to low ET of the weekend with a 6.587 second time at 178.26 mph from Porter on a 7.050 ET at 169.25 mph. In the semi final Matheson defeated Phil Parker to advance to the final while Porter knocked out Graeme Morrell. Corey Buttigieg survived a scary ride on his Pro Stock Motorcycle semi final when his back tyre tore off the bead sending him on a wild slide into the braking area. Somehow he managed to keep the Harley Buell upright despite the bike weaving from side to side on a superb save into the final to face Locky Ireland. Down to one cylinder after the damage sustained in the semi, Buttigieg cruised to the win on a slow 13.026-second pass when Ireland heartbreakingly broke down at the line.
tionals Buttigieg eliminated Ryan Learmonth in Round 1 on a clean pass when Learmonth launched and broke down shortly after twisting the throttle.
While the ANDRA Drag Racing Series provided thrills and spills, many in the crowd came to see Rapisarda Autosport International make a pair of passes instantly igniting the fans with four second passes. The Melbourne faithful, experiencing Top Fuel for the first time since 2013, made their appreciation known cheering loudly after each run to send a message they want to see a Championship Top Fuel round at Calder as soon as possible. Sportsman racers also lifted their game to produce plenty of drama, first time winners and some outstanding performances. Competition Eliminator winner Craig Geddes advanced to his sixth final in as many starts this season picking up his fifth winners trophy and yet another National Record. Geddes eliminated Kit Hunter and David DeQuen either side of a solo Round 2 pass to set up a final with Pro Street regular Steven Athans. Reacting first, Geddes was unstoppable on a 7.264 elapsed time on a 7.52 index from Athans completing the quarter mile with a 7.298 second pass on a 7.20 index. “Oh man I cannot believe what is going on here,” said Geddes. “Six finals in a row, five wins, I just don’t know why this stuff is happening. We’re going fast, we’re winning races – it’s fantastic. “We’ve got a great car, great team, things are gelling and we can’t put a foot wrong at the
moment it’s fantastic.”
His 7.262-second pass in the semi final was also good enough to set a new B/D National Record capping off another successful weekend. Reigning Super Stock Champion Steve Norman won his first ever Gold Tree at a National Event with a win over Super Stock stalwart Les Heintz. Norman reacted quicker and drove around Heintz with a 7.946 ET on a 8.14 index to Heintz’ 9.975 second pass on an 8.71 index. “It’s really good, we’ve been at this caper for a long time and we’ve had a pretty good year so far,” said Norman. “A special thanks to Pistol (Peter Pisalidis), all the track staff, the ANDRA staff – it’s been a fantastic weekend.” “The crowd has been fantastic and a special thank you too from Summit for being involved in the Series.” Norman defeated Louis Svingos and top qualifier John Kuiper, despite running a new National Record, before accepting a solo semi final into the decider. Kuiper reset the C/G record by backing up his 8.02-second effort in qualifying with an 8.051 in that loss to Norman just falling short of what was needed to back up his stunning 7.952 ET that earned him top spot on day one. In Competition Bike Rob Cassar won his first ever Gold Tree defeating top qualifier Brett Ghedina despite a .205 second reaction time to Ghedina’s .049. Cassar completed the quarter mile in 7.800 seconds on a 7.84 index while Ghedina posted
an 8.068 on a 7.94 index. Cassar defeated Corey Scholes and Niki Zakrzewski to move into the final. In Supercharged Outlaws, Peter Datson won his first ever Gold Christmas Tree with a win over Murray Edgar with a 6.748 ET on a 6.69 dial in to a 9.614 on a 7.75 dial in. Datson advanced on a solo in Round 1 then eliminated John Brunner and Mark Zauch on his way to the maiden Gold Tree victory. Elsewhere in Supercharged Outlaws, the Gridstar by YBI Best Presented Team Award went to Adam Murrihy and his team. They received the Best Presented trophy, six Best Presented caps and a $50 Summit Racing Equipment voucher. Paul Partridge came out on top in Top Sportsman defeating Stuart McBain with a big holeshot advantage and an 8.137 ET on an 8.10 dial in from McBain’s 8.842 on an 8.00 dial in. Earlier round victories over Top Sportsman debutant Matt Forbes, top qualifier Darren Saliba and consistent performer Jason Arbery put Partridge into the final against title contender McBain. Modified’s Jess Turner seems to only collect Gold Christmas Trees backing up her 2014 Winternationals win with the Australian Nationals title in front of her home crowd. Turner’s strength came at the start line with consistently good reaction times on a solo Round 1 and defeats of Travis Liefting and Shane Wynd. Even when Cory Dyson out reacted Turner at the tree she drove around him to set up what would be a solo 7.315 second final victory lap when Derek Wills could not make the start.
roundsnapshot Australian Nationals
Calder Park Raceway – Melbourne, Victoria
23-24 January 2016
Photo credit: Dave Hope, Dragpix.net, Cackling Pipes
TOP ALCOHOL John Cannuli 5.626 def Gary Busch 8.072 TOP DOORSLAMMER John Zappia 5.762 def Peter Kapiris 6.065 TOP FUEL MOTORCYCLE Chris Matheson 6.587 def Chris Porter 7.050
George Tipoukidis secured his first Gold Tree in Super Sedan with a win over Enio Marrocco. A .011 reaction time by Tipoukidis set up a 10.076 ET on a 10.07 dial in forcing Marrocco to break out as he chased “Tipo” down on a 9.405 on a 9.44 dial in. In a field of 50 cars, Tipoukidis knocked out Frank Fonanelli, Colin Boyd, Joe Bresciano and top qualifier Michael Vlasakakis followed by a solo semi final ahead of the near perfect final run. Also in Super Sedan, the Longest Distance Award went to Ashley Smith after he travelled all the way from Winnellie in the Northern Territory. Gavin Dohnt survived a double breakout in Round 1 and carried his good fortune all the way to the final benefiting from a red light by Johnny Hog in Round 2. When he needed to be good he was very good by out reacting Shane Walker to take a semi final victory before a lightning quick .002 reaction time in the final put the pressure on Edgell Mallis who eliminated himself with a red light. Without knowing the race was already won, Dohnt recorded a 9.456 second pass on a 9.41 dial in as Mallis added a breakout to his red light with a 9.226 on a 9.23 dial in. Super Street title chaser Kylie Tanner made a charge to reach the 300 points cap by going all the way to the final but it was Robert Camilleri who came away with the win when Tanner broke out with an 11.853 on an 11.86 dial in to an 11.062 on an 11.03 dial in. Camilleri ousted Samuel Franze, Robert Forte, Noel Inman and Portland winner Chris Tatchell to set up the showdown with Tanner. Runner up in Portland Paul Garbellini was the only competitor across all brackets to register a .000 reaction time earning the Perfect Light Award following his monster road trip from Perth in his race car. Antonio Panetta could hardly speak after he picked up his first Gold Christmas Tree in Summit Racing
Equipment Junior Dragster taking the win over Jake Cartledge in the final. Following a long burn down, Panetta came out on top with an 8.317 on an 8.30 dial in to an 8.406 on an 8.24 dial in. To reach the final Panetta out reacted Blake Hayes, top qualifier Natalie Bishop, Maella Ward and Joel Burns to claim a string of impressive victories. Matt Forbes, competing in three brackets over the weekend, had been cutting great lights all day in Super Gas. But when it came to the final he pushed too hard red lighting by .009 seconds leaving Darryl Stephen to run the car out the back door on a 9.841 in the 9.90 fixed index bracket. Stephen needed to get past Michael De Rose, Adrian McGrotty and Richard Caval to set up the final with Forbes and claim a long awaited win. And finally the Best Engineered Award went to exhibition Outlaw Radial Frank Marchese for his sevensecond Twin Turbo full-body XW Fairmont.
PRO STOCK Nino Cavallo 7.116 def Aaron Tremayne 12.020 (red light) PRO STOCK MOTORCYCLE Corey Buttigieg 13.026 def Locky Ireland (broke) COMPETITION Craig Geddes 7.264 (7.52 index) def Steven Athans 7.298 (7.20 index) SUPER STOCK Steve Norman 7.946 (8.14 index) def Les Heintz 9.975 (8.71 index) COMPETITION BIKE Rob Cassar 7.800 (7.84 index) def Brett Ghedina 8.068 (7.94 index) SUPERCHARGED OUTLAWS Peter Datson 6.748 (6.69) def Murray Edgar 9.614 (7.75) TOP SPORTSMAN Paul Partridge 8.137 (8.10) def Stuart McBain 8.842 (8.00) MODIFIED Jess Turner 7.315 (7.25) def Derek Wills (broke) SUPER SEDAN George Tipoukidis 10.076 (10.07) def Enio Marrocco 9.405 (9.44, break out) MODIFIED BIKE Gavin Dohnt 9.456 (9.41) def Edgell Mallis 9.226 (9.23, red light) SUPER STREET Robert Camilleri 11.062 (11.03) def Kylie Tanner 11.853 (11.86) JUNIOR DRAGSTER Antonio Panetta 8.317 (8.30) def Jake Cartledge 8.406 (8.24) SUPER GAS Darryl Stephen 9.84 (9.90, break out) def Matt Forbes 9.988 (9.90, red light)
lighting up the lense
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