Prize money has not been the only reason, the move to extend the meeting to two days according to some racers has been difficult to adapt to with the close proximity of rounds. Racers finding it hard to make the extra time available to compete which caused the round to suffered when a number of competitors did not return for Sunday’s eliminations. The addition of the new ANDRA teching system caught out 10 racers who had to pack up all resulting in extended downtime during the final day to allow for racers to turn vehicles around, these are gaps that need to be plugged in future events to produce a attractive promotional product .
The positive side is that the two day meetings relax the schedule significantly and allow racers more track time with some brackets receiving 5 qualifiers, Track Manager Ray Treasure is actively working through these and other issues with racers to build the Sydney Track Championship to a level equaling the other major tracks.
The weather laid down the final challenge to this round, Saturday featured howling Westerly winds reaching gale force numbers at times and freezing temperatures, while Sunday became very hot providing a challenge to racers to dial in to the conditions.
All in all, the meeting ran very smoothly, constantly well ahead of schedule the building process for the TCS though will be an arduous one in a state that should feature the premier Track Championship Series.
Nitro Nostalgia Exhibition
With Sydney Dragway trying to build features into the Track Championship Series (TCS), this round featured three nitro burning nostalgia cars making some testing laps albeit only on the Saturday to headline the event.
Andrew Cowin made the long awaited debut of the Nitro Express ’57 Funnycar with a piston burning 6.20 @ 179MPH best.
The Black Widow nitro FED of Steve Turner made its first full pass in anger with Mark Mariani at the wheel running a 6.71 @ 211
Taking a slightly different approach to nitro nostalgia racing, Dave Armstrong in his 392ci Donovan powered FED which was proving to be a real handful, the shorter wheel base made for some seriously crossed up passes. Particularly his last 7.18 @ 191 pass with the FED creating some very acute angles when the chutes hit, just the way the purists like it!
Top Comp had only four entries, the track will certainly be looking for ways to boost these numbers as this is the bracket the TCS will be based around.
Tyre smoke and a transmission drama’s limited the baddest Nova in the land’s performance to a 7.12 best, Frank Mamone stepping into AA/GA for the first time.
After successfully licensing the Archbold Doorslammer in early qualifying with a 6.68, Reece Melenewycz ran a quicker 6.61 car personal best, before the Mustang dropped some fluid and a late chute deployment had Melenwycz contemplating taking the bend before electing to take on the sand. The car spun out in the trap tipping over on its side before coming back to rest the right way, damage was mainly restricted to the front clip.
Fresh off his giant killing Nationals victory, Mike Nola travelled to Sydney again and back up his TCS 1 result with another runner up finish, the team’s 6.68 personal best making him the fastest nitrous car in the country as they continue to step up the performances.
Stepping up from modified Craig Allison has bolted on the blower and gone CC/AA. After a few jittery passes the striking altered is now starting show the performances needed. A 7.38 in the final on the 7.49 index to win on debut in Top Comp on the cars first serious full pass makes them a contender.
Super Comp lost a number of entries that did not front for the event, with only four cars to face the first round of eliminations after the withdrawals of Bill Perdikaras and Roy Thomas. There are good signs for both group 2 classes with a number of new racers moving into Super Comp and Top Comp.
Another new Group 2 car to debuts the Oxley families C/DA, the car is destined for Dee Oxley who has just stepped out of Junior Dragster. Today it was father Raymond steering to and a 7.91 best had the dragster .2 under the index at its first outing.
Daniel Schultz returned the families B/AA to the track following a chassis destroying wheelstand a few weeks ago running a ex Pro Stock motor now. With 7.57 (7.76) best in qualifying they succumb to the PAC Mazda 6 in the first round.
They have always been leaders in the rotary scene in Australia, but PAC Performance are again world leaders, dropping a 6.708 @ 206 (7.35) in the first round to again be the world quickest rotary car.
Yet another new Super Comp racer this season, Fred Solieman has transplanted a PRE engine into his venerable LX Torana and is already on sub A/MPA National Record pace. Qualifying with a 8.45 (-0.68) and despite smashing the index in round one he overcame the Rehayem rotor to win Super Comp.
With the majority of the local racers sitting out the event the field mainly consisted of licensee’s.
Geoff Gradden successfully licensed the Saratoga with a 6.6, but sat out racing.
Steven Greentree continued along the learning curve with the hearse hindered by transmission gremlins.
After a couple of early qualifying wheelstands, George Zammit had the “Hostile Intent” FED tamed by the first round with a breaking out 7.31 (7.40) personal best in round one.
Jeff Penton could not front for the final.
A 6.61 in qualifying now has the ex BSR Falcon solidly sorted for Phillip Glendenning who took out the bracket.
A bracket with the potential to be the show stopper, Top Sportsman was disappointing for numbers especially with the Colin Solieman Memorial up for grabs, After a some qualifying carnage only 6 cars could make the first round.
Overcoming boost issues with a shot of nitrous, Gary Halpin over did it on his first qualifying run. The problems continued n round one cutting a tyre down in the burnout due to the fitting of larger slicks to overcome traction issues.
The Fowlers met up in round one with young blood Steve taking the win.
Defending Colin Soleiman Memorial winner Steve Fowler came up short in the final in the last meeting for his Firebird which has now sold off.
After top qualifying with a 7.63, Jason Stares took the Corvette to the winners circle running a killer package .005 RT, 7.671 (7.66).
De’Arne Stephen top qualified the rebuilt blown altered with a 6.927 earning the cars first six second time card something the team have been chasing for some time, beating alternate steer Paul to the mark. A near identical 6.926 in round one could not run down Greg Smith’s altered in a holeshot loss.
Leon Flack had the wildest moment of the weekend with a insanely screwed up launch on their first qualifier ending their weekend.
Peter Brown found himself in his second consecutive TCS final round with his new dragster.
A .014 light won the final with the Bantam alter won the final for Greg Smith on a holeshot, 8.46 (8.53) to Brown’s 7.85 (7.88).
Over 40 Super Sedans did battle in Sydney’s toughest bracket with a number of pieces of new metal on display.
The unique looking WRX of Bakkar Arja made its first on track appearance with some sorting passes.
Rob Owen debuted a beat looking LX Torana, qualifying with a 9.16.
Returning after a years’s absence Forbes’ own Justin Roylance dipped into the 9’s with his Falcon ute.
Going against the grain, Joe Geri’s twin turbo Lexus powered Capri does just that and ran a 8.34 PB.
Top qualifier was James Whitehurst's RB30 Calais with a 7.77
After 5 rounds of racing Neil Constantinou 9.94 (9.87) was heading into another final defeating Andrew Little’s Camaro 9.63 (9.61) in the semi on a holeshot after a .009 light, this was Constantinou’s first final after stepping up to a more potent engine combination.
Spolier was Harry Plessas, the Big H Racing Falcon took its second straight TCS victory with a 9.28 (9.21) to Constantinou’s 9.98 (9.88).
Matt Welch headed qualifying with a 9.25 on his Suzuki GSX.
Joe Borg’s Kawasaki 10.57 (10.45) took out Welch in round one 9.72 (9.22) and continued on to the semi finals.
Robert Simmond’s went into a coma in the final with a 0.383 RT on his Hayabusa.
Newcomer David Butler on a Destroyer defeated Borg in the semi, and courtesy of Simmond’s light who also wasted a 9.32 (9.32) in the final, Butler’s 9.96 (9.70) was quick enough for the win light.
Super Street had a healthy 25 entries, a number of racers were bumped from the event running into the 10 second zone causing some angst with officialdom.
Robert Heather ran closest to the cut off with a 11.015 in his VB Commodore for top qualifier.
Heather ran all the way to the semi’s before being stopped by Jason Fields Ford Pilot with a break out.
Michael Gauci soloed into the final with his LX Torana, in final Gauci 11.54 (11.38) hole-shotted Field 11.54 (11.40) to take the win.
A sparse 4 cars made up Super Gas at this round.
Joe Catanzariti was perfect in qualifying with a 9.900
Victorian Adrian McGrotty dropped a 9.906 of his own on Catanzariti’s 9.93 in final to claim the win.
Robert Axisa lead a 11 bike Screamin Eagle field into eliminations with a 11.007.
John “Krash” Kinkade was the popular winner 11.47 (11.30) however defeating former track champion Darren Folkes 11.26 (11.05) in the final , Krash faces a few challenges in life and it was excellent to see him out perform the rest of the field.
A few new faces have been gracing the Junior Dragster ranks, despite losing a few each year with age restrictions, a new bunch of kids step in to fill the void.
One of the new faces is Victorian Brad Williams who topped the 20 strong field with a 7.91
Caitlin “Boony” Zammit drove to victory in the final after David Roberts red lit.
Peter Lindsay’s 12.90 was the number one qualifier in the battle of the streeters with his Falcon, Lindsay was unstoppable also taking the Street Fighter event title of Adam Lusted’s HSV GTS.
Photos by Cackling Pipes Photography