It is a new year and a new season at Sydney Dragway, with the NSW Track Championship season moving to a calendar year that was kicked off with over 200 racers for round one in March.
Summer was not quite done with Sydney yet producing a hot and humid 30+ degree day ironically punctuated by the odd sprinkle at times by random storm clouds. However the breaks weren’t significant and racing was completed into the not too late evening.
A wheelstander provided some extra entertainment for the day to help draw in a few more fans.
Phil Lamattina also made several passes ending in tyre smoke in preparation for the upcoming Pro Series event.
The new season sees a reworking of some classes and formats, Top Comp was on a three round format. Brett White top qualified with a spectacular wheelstanding 5.62 PB (6.01IN). Johnny Rosso at his debut event was second with a 7.11 (7.05IN) in AA/APA with his Camaro. Geoff Gradden went 6.57 (6.26IN) and Jeff Wilson 6.60 (6.26IN) in their Top Doorslammers to round out the field.
Both White and Wilson withdrew happy to wrap up testing for the day while Gradden and Rosso faced off in the final. A -.005 red light from Rosso voided his excellent 6.74 PB allowing Gradden’s 6.50 to win.
Super Comp has a solid field mostly made up of Super Compact cars getting in some laps for the upcoming Jamboree. The 4 bangers had the field blitzed in qualifying, Michael Baghdadi and Domenic Rigoli miles under the CC/SM records even with a 7.16 and 7.22 respectively on a 7.91 index.
By the time the eliminations came up most had withdrawn and it was left to Rigoli defeating one of the few V8’s in the field in Clint George’s B/APA Cavalier, 7.12 (7.91) to 7.53 (7.94). While Baghdadi soloed through to the final.
Two of the quickest 4cyl cars in the world would meet in the final, despite killing his index Rigoli left with a big holeshot and held off the Baghdadi charge, 7.22 (7.51) to the Nissan’s 7.59 (7.91).
Supercharged Outlaws has been broken up into open (Top Outlaws) and closed car (Wild Bunch) brackets for the NSW Championship, Top Outlaws had eight entries with Andrew Hodgson top qualifying with a 6.65 in the Avenger funny car.
Running a 3 round format, all racers squared off in a single elimination round with the best four winning packages going to an A and B finals. Dearne Stephen red lit against AJ Fairbairn, Mike Watkins snuck home against Jeff Penton, Norm McCormack was too good for Mal Gower and Hodgson defeated Jeff Gatt.
The B final was to be Watkins and Hodgson, but with no Hodgson in site Watkins sent the tough little altered down track with a 7.19 (7.22) to claim the win.
In the A final it was McCormack’s FED taking on the altered of rookie Fairbairn, both cars struggled to get down the track, McCormack making the best of it with a 7.79 (7.29) to Fairbairn’s 8.11 (7.59).
The Supercharged Outlaws sedans have joined forces to revive the Wild Bunch name and also had eight cars attending with a 8.50 or quicker condition to race. Following qualifying though which was headed by Michelle Davies with a 7.34, mechanical mayhem ensued and only three cars could front eliminations.
Craig Hanley debuted his transformed Holden ute, Hanley use to run a Vortex supercharged powerplant several years ago.
Victorian John Brunner had the honour of a solo to the final in the elimination round and would be joined by Matt Long’s Mustang who defeated the Undertaker hearse of Steven Greentree 8.56 (8.30) to 7.68 (7.00).
Brunner has been supporting Sydney with very few quarter mile chances to race in Victoria and was rewarded with the first Wild Bunch victory trophy following his 6.89 (6.80) run over Long’s 8.56 (8.40).
Top Sportsman continued this season for the quickest of the quick Super Sedans, Jason Stares returned after a lay off with his gorgeous Corvette and top qualified with a 7.72.
At semi final time and after winning his first round of racing ever earlier Chad Taylor was into the final with his mountain motor Landrover due to a solo. Kon Michaloudakis’s Capri would be there also when Steve Fowler suffered mechanical damage on the previous run and could not front.
The Landrover would not come to life in the fire up area for the final allowing Michaloudakis to take the win unopposed, a loose starter motor wire found to be the culprit on the Landy.
Modified had 16 entrants, Andrew Musgrave’s altered quickest in qualifying officially with a 7.58, Geoff Blake continued to test his blown FED to mid sixes over 200MPH.
Brendon Luke debuted his Mopar powered FED, though red lit in round one.
Moving on through eliminations Peter Brown left too early in the first semi advancing Chris Manks, and likewise a -.001 cherry from Tim Nielsen gifted Leon Flack his first final birth.
The altered of Flack was way too quick for his dial in in the final with a 8.25 (8.35) giving Manks the win with a 8.69 (8.66).
A big 35 car Super Sedan field saw Frank Palumbo wheelstand his way to a 8.91 for pole.
By the time we were down to four it was Brett McNiff’s Valiant going to the final when Marco “Bricki” Tolomeo broke out with his XY by just one thousandths! Harry Plessas driving the Andrew “The Butcher” Constantinou’s Mustang won a double breakout race 9.50 (9.52) to 9.66 (6.68) against Sean Maher’s HB Torana.
The final was a chop suey affair, McNiff’s Valiant rolled through the beams before the tree was activated negating Plessas’ wheelstanding redlight, leaving the win for Big H Racing.
In Modified Bike it was all the “Simmonator”, Robert Simmonds top qualified with a 8.97 on the Hayabusa, defeated last years down to the wire track championship combatant Matthew Hunt in the semi finals before meaning to face Mathew Tansley in the final. Tansley held off Joe Khoury’s destroyer in the semi, but the Suzuki could not make the start line for the final and Simmonds was off to the perfect start to another title defense.
Super Street had the biggest field of the event with 39 cars, winding it down to the semi finals and Paul Harwood had the bye to the final. Track Championship runner up Peter Tsounias met Jono Roylance, in a battle of the XW and XD Falcon’s respectively, it would be Tsounias going on following a 11.745 (11.75) narrow breakout from the XD of Roylance.
The final was a worthy one, less than a hundredth separated each car at the green. At the other end Harwood was perfect with the HJ ute 11.680 (11.68) to Tsounias’ nearly as impressive 11.423 (11.43) as Harwood earns his first win.
Super Gas only had five entries, Michael Stivala went 9.906 to lead qualifying. Stivala would feature in the final defeating Anthony Panetta in the semi. In the other lane it would be Joe Catazariti’s Torana, a .-003 red light from Stivala’s Camira decides the final at the tree.
A 8.009 from Bianca Humphreys secured her position on top of the timing sheets in qualifying.
Ever seen tyre shake from a JD, have a look at Jesse Panetta’s rear tyres which suffered some serious shake breaking off a number of components.
A red light by Humphreys against Emma Hazzard in a battle of the girls resolved the first semi with Dominic Leonello the loan male competitor since round two having a single into the final.
Both racers pushed each other to a double break out final result, Hazzard’s 8.07 (8.09) by the least amount as she scored her first event win.
Street Fighter continues to be a popular addition to the track championship. The final would be fought out between John Ikonomopoulos who defeated his much more experienced old man Manios in the semi and Greg Robbins who has been racing Street Fighter since its inception.
Robbin’s XW went cherry picking in the final leaving Ikonomopoulos who had made his first ever pass on a dragstrip at the street meet just a week earlier too drive on for a debutant win.
With the demise of Screamin’ Eagle class this season a new Street Bike class was formed in the image of Street Fighter and populated solidly.
The final was a double up for the Simmonds family with Mal Simmonds collecting the first Street Bike trophy due to a red lighting Mark Akers on his nostalgia Kawasaki.
Round two of the track championship is on April 13th
Check out all the action in our event Snapshot gallery.