Day one of East Coast Thunder is in the books with a tight Sydney Dragway track producing some stout numbers.
A ten dollar online special helped to get a few punters through the door for the traditionally tough Friday night sell as pro teams went through three qualifying sessions.
Top Fuel produced a tight field as the last session saw a virtual shootout for top position. Larry Dixon's second session 4.74 would only just hold off a 4.75 from Peter Xiberras, another 4.75 from Aaron Hambridge, a 4.78 from Damien Harris, a 4.79 from Wayne Newby and a 4.83 by Darren Morgan. Terry Sainty was the lone car not in the fours with a rolling seven second lap.
“A good day of quals for the Rapisarda Racing team,” Dixon said via Twitter. “We're P1 with a 4.74. It got us a bye first round round. Great job by the team!”
Gary Phillips overcame some troubled early passes to eventually card a 5.47 in the final session and top qualify for Top Alcohol in the Lucas Oils Funny Car. But it was Russell Mills generating all the headlines early when he ran a 5.52, which we believe may be the quickest front engine dragster pass in the world. Unfortunately the car hurt a rear main bearing and won't be appearing in eliminations.
Scott MacLean's Holden Monaro has proved a solid runner in its competition debut, going 5.85 to earn pole position in Pro Slammer. Phillips qualified second with a 5.86.
It took some time for Pro Stock to break into the sixes but eventually three teams cracked the barrier in the final session. A 6.96 by Aaron Tremayne leads the way into race day for the eight car field, over a 6.98 by brother Tyronne and a 6.99 from Lee Bektash.
Chris Matheson used a 6.59 to take number one in a small Top Bike field, as Winternationals winner Damian Muscat followed on with a 6.60. Following Top Bike each time was a no bar, turbo bike demonstration between Leonard Azzopardi and Alex Borg, the latter of whom ran a 7.33 in the final session to narrowly edge Brett Ghedina's 7.34 record for the quickest no bar bike in the country.
Brad Lemberg meanwhile went within a whisker of going under the long held Pro Stock Bike national record with a 7.095 clocking just missing Daniel Peatey's 7.094 mark, which was recorded over a decade ago.
A four car Pro 10.5 field saw Paul Mouhayet fly through for a 6.16/221mph.
Pro Radial was a little larger at five cars with Perry Bullivant knocking out a 4.55/166mph over the eighth mile to be number one.
Comp and Super Stock have been merged into Super Comp due to low numbers, with only five cars in total qualifying. Tony Bellert's A/DA 6.86 is the leader right now at -0.48 under.
Competition Bike is a little stronger at eight bikes, a good showing of six Queensland riders helping keep the bracket alive in NSW. Brandon Gosbell is number one on a 7.597 in BB/AB (-0.35 under).
Supercharged Outlaws sees Andrew Hodgson leading the way with a 6.520 the closest to the 6.500 marker, though Rob Coote was stalking with a 6.61.
Chris Manks has one of the baddest Modified altereds in the country right now and he performed strongly with a 6.95 to lead the field.
Top Sportsman is also seeing some naturally aspirated sixes with Steven Fowler's 6.92 holding at the top of the sheets.
For their cousins in Super Sedan it is Thomas Leake with an 8.54 who will go into race day with the confidence of a top qualifying position.
Ken Collin has command of the two wheeled dial your own brigade in Modified Bike, an 8.77 earning him those bragging rights.
Shawn Taskis has a 10.96 for the quickest run of Super Street, while a 7.96 was a stout pass from Bradley Bishop in Junior Dragster.
Eliminations commence tomorrow for East Coast Thunder but for now check out the gallery from the day below.