The return of Top Fuel dragsters to Perth Motorplex did not disappoint with Victorian Phil Lamattina and New South Wales' Peter Xiberras delivering a feast of nitro action at the Westernationals.
Across six match races, the pair finished three and three apiece, with Xiberras setting a new Top Fuel track record of 3.854 seconds for the 1000 feet racing distance, while Lamattina (below) earned the track record and ANDRA national record speed mark at 505.23kmh.
“It was great for ourselves and Pete to put on a really great show for the crowd and all in all it was a good weekend, it was a great weekend actually and we had a lot of fun,” Lamattina said.
“I have always wanted to come back to Perth, I love this place, we have been very successful here and it is a great place with great people, great spectators – everything is great, great, great! We will be back for sure.
“And anytime you get an achievement like the record is pretty handy, we don’t come here to do that sort of stuff but if it happens while you are focusing on putting on a show, then we will take it.”
Top Doorslammer proved full of surprises across the weekend. Kelvin Lyle (above) claimed top qualifying honours with a 5.746 second run but was a shock first round loser against number eight qualifier Marty Dack. The upsets continued as 11 times national champion John Zappia lost to Mark Chapman, also in the first round, while favourite Daniel Gregorini was bundled out in the semi finals, also by Chapman.
Chapman's good fortune came to a disappointing end when engine damage kept him out of the final, leaving Dack (above) to make a solo run for the win.
Wayne McGuinness found some consistency on his way to a win in Top Fuel Motorcycle, top qualifying with a 6.68sec. before a 6.817sec. in the first round to defeat Ricky Wood and a 6.786sec. in the final to take victory from South Australia's Danny Rickard.
“We are still learning this bike and she was a handful but this has been an unbelievable event and I can’t express enough our gratitude, this is the best complex in the world,” McGuinness said.
“I have to say a big thanks to my crew. We had a lot of tuning issues this week but we struggled through, found the problems and got it down the track.”
There were many records across the night, but one of the most impressive passes was made by Nigel Johnson, who clocked Australia's quickest methanol-fuelled dragster time with a 5.39sec. run.
“We had a few issues with getting it all sorted out but it was coming together in the end for us,” he said.
Trent Morrison earned back-to-back Westernationals wins with victory in the Competition bracket over Wayne Keys. The battles for the bracket got off to an unfortunate start on Sunday, with top qualifier Sam Gullotto getting transmission fluid under his tyres and rolling his Pontiac GTO onto its roof while racing Morrison in the first round, though he was thankfully unhurt.
In Super Stock, Jake Chaisty took the victory over Errol Quartermaine following wins from Dean Dawes and Allen Puglia while Quartermaine had taken on Rob Gaikhorst and Sunoco Evo 10 Race Fuels Top Qualifier Todd Stacy.
The three-round Competition Bike format is continuing to prove popular with races and saw Wayne Patterson and Ross Smith face off in the final, with Patterson ultimately taking out the victory.
In Top Sportsman, Alby Bakranich took back-to-back Westernationals victories with a win over Top Qualifier and current championship leader, Vlado Turic. On his way to the final, Bakranich took on and defeated Kevin McIvor (round one) and Darren Saliba before enjoying a bye to the final while Turic had his own bye run in his opening round ahead of battles with Chris Roe and Johnny Brecich.
Modified saw Rhys Naylor broke through for his first ANDRA Gold Christmas Tree to continue a Naylor family tradition – he is now the fifth member of his family to have laid claim to a Gold Tree. To take the victory, Naylor took a very close win over defending champion Adam Mundy, who was also the Top Qualifier for the bracket. To book his spot in the final, Naylor had earlier dispatched Jayde Robinson (round one), Bradley Hicks and Darryl Treasure while Mundy had emerged victorious from battles against Jim McQuade and Nick Panagopoulos before having a bye run in his semi-final.
“I got told after the win that I am finally a Naylor now!” Naylor laughed. “This has been a long time coming, basically everyone in my family that has drag raced has one of these so it is good to finally get one.
“The final against Adam Mundy was like the best race I ever have had in this car, so thank you to him. This was a wicked event.”
In Super Sedan, it was an all South Australian final with Chris Lioulios defeating George Tipoukidis. He had earlier raced against Brett Mathew and Mick Fenton in the opening two rounds before taking a bye run in round three ahead of a semi-final win against defending champion Martin Mirco – who had defeated Top Qualifier Lance Larcombe in round two. ‘Tipo’ meanwhile had done battle against David Todd, Matt Puglia and Steven Millias on his way to a semi-final bye.
In Modified Bike, Noel Watson took the win over Brian Hotker in a Suzuki v Ducati battle. Watson started his day off with a round one win over Ian Read ahead of victories from last year’s Westernationals winner Chris Moore and Levi Addison before enjoying a bye run to the final. Hotker meanwhile had taken on Owen Rose, Brett Allen, Simon Garbutt – who defeated DecoGlaze Glass Splashbacks Top Qualifier Gavin Dohnt in the first round – and Rob Good on his way to the final.
“We had a ripper weekend, the bike was on-song all weekend and we had a little luck on our side; so everything went right for us,” Watson said.
“I need to thank Mum and Dad – I get the cream, dad does all the hard yards and I rock up and drive so a big shout out to the old boy. I also want to thank Sean Arthur, he has helped big time.”
Joel Trotman was left regretting driver error in his final against Richard Stevens in Super Street this evening, with Stevens taking full advantage to achieve his first Christmas Tree trophy. Stevens had earlier emerged victorious from battles against Steph Gullotto, Zachary Giles and Graham Smith while Trotman had put in good shows against Lisa Garbellini, Ashleigh Wroe, Blake Jeffreys and Mark Reaney to take his spot in the final. Top qualifier Chris de Bruin made it to the second round before being eliminated by Matt Jarvis.
Tommy Turic and Aiden Abel put on a great show in the Summit Racing Equipment Junior Dragster ranks, with Turic ultimately taking out the victory. Abel explained that he had hurt his engine in the first round but thanks to the support of Zara Board and her family, was able to continue with a borrowed engine to make it all the way to the final. On his way to the final battle, Turic had successfully taken on defending champion Jake Berias (round one), Sarah Donnelly and Jett Martin while Abel had defeated Top Qualifier Madison Brown (round one), Brock Moresby and Tahlia Martin.
Supercharged Outlaws was unfortunately low on entries and with just four teams entering WA's biggest drag racing event the racing was only at a local championship level. Jodie Mellitt picked up the win from Norbert Claite.
Finally in the non-ANDRA championship Outlaw Radial class, Kevin Boulton continued his dominating performance this season with a 7.62 win against Tim Roads.
Check out all the photos below thanks to Phil Luyer - you can order photos at highoctanephotos.com.