The chutes have been pulled on the 2017 Atura Championship Series at Sydney Dragway which serves as the track championship for the venue. Here is the wrap up from the last event of the eight round series, and who was crowned champion.
Starting off with Pro Extreme, and while there was no official champion with sporadic entries over the season due to racers using the track time more to test, the last round did boast a strong field. A mix of blown and turbo doorslammers with radial animals thrown into the mix produced some quick times like Johnny Briscas' 5.89 PB from his twin turbo Corvette.
Michael Haimandos' though took out the round with three wins for the turbo revolution in his small tyre mid six second Mustang, Briscas was awarded runner-up.
Jamie Robertson made a late charge in the Supercharged Outlaws championship, with the boys really having the Mr Maniac II altered sorted now, but unfortunately would run out of events to bridge the gap to leaders Shaun Liefting and Norm McCormack. Mechanical carnage was afoot after the first round that saw both Liefting, Robertson and McCormack move on to the semi finals but with the Speedflow altered nursing a broken converter and unable to front, this handed McCormack the track championship. Both Robertson and McCormack now had semi-final byes and it was decided just to race off for the final. With the championship bagged, McCormack drove the FED too hard, breaking out with a 6.809 on a 6.82 as Robertson brought home the event win with a nice 7.34 on a 7.32 dial.
In Top Sportsman, Neil Constantinou only had to show up and the championship was his in a dominating season that included four round wins to date, and it was no surprise to see the red Mustang again in the final of the closing event. In the other lane was Dad - Andrew " The Butcher" Constantinou - and the old-man showed he has lost nothing, schooling Neil at both ends of the racetrack with a .028 to .033 at the tree and a 7.804 on a 7.80 at the stripe for the win light against Neil's breaking out 7.785 on a 7.80.
The Modified championship was anti-climatic with Martin Borg's only challenger in Peter Brown throwing away a .005 light in a double breakout round one race against Jenny Petrie. Borg also fell in round one, but the championship would go to the relative newcomer in Modified who completed the season with no event wins but a couple of final round appearances, showing consistency was the key. Finals time and it was stalwarts Alan White and Tim Nielsen facing off. Nielsen had the tree go red instantaneously on White's green and it was determined the tree hiccupped and the final was rerun. Take two, and both racers left with identical lights, at the line White broke out by two hundredths with Nielsen earning the win with a 7.896 on 7.83.
It was as exciting as it gets championship wise in Modified Bike with the title going to whoever would win the final between Robert Simmonds and Lorenzo Capogna. At the tree it was seemingly all over for Simmonds aboard his Hayabusa, a .198 to the VROD's .071, unfortunately for Capogna who would of been wary of the 'busa's top end charge, stayed in the throttle fractionally too long breaking out by a mere two thou, and in that instant the event and championship was lost to the Simmonator.
Super Sedan was equally as tight even after a few contenders dropped in the early rounds, the two top antagonists for the championship, David Gruber and Robert Chapman found themselves throwing down in a winner takes all final. Both racers are veterans of the Sydney racing scene, both in LJ Toranas. Chapman had the drop on Gruber at the green by about four tenths, and the experienced racer would hold on to the advantage across the line with a 9.314 on a 9.25 to clinch the championship against Gruber's 9.441 on a 9.38 with the holeshot.
It was shaping up to be a championship arm wrestle in Super Street, but a massive breakout by Michael Walsh in round one put the Commodore racer and equal point leader on the trailer after round one. This left Luke "Tex" Griffith in control with his only challenger David Matosevic rapidly running out of rounds to catch the big Plymouth Satellite in the points. Griffiths escaped round two, exiting Walsh's executioner in Henry Spicak, and Matosevic also advanced, the two would now face off in round three with situation being, Matosevic still needing to win the event to steal the championship. First though he would have to defeat Griffiths, however "Tex" nailed Matosevic to the tree by over a tenth and the end result was a formality, Matosevic breaking out trying to stay in front. Griffiths capped off his championship continuing on to win the event defeating Craig Warren in the final.
Super Gas struggled to realise fields during the season, but we think they completed enough rounds for a championship to be declared. Roy Romeo and Joe Catanzariti were the only two in with a shot of the title and both fronted each other in the final round and it would decide who would go home with the championship. The holeshot went to the Commodore of Romeo who covered Catanzariti's Torana to the stripe winning the event and track championship with a 9.974 over a 9.977.
It has been an emotional time in the sport for everyone but especially for the Junior Dragster boys and girls with the tragic passing of Anita Board. The Sydney Junior Dragster community hosted and emotional tribute of their own before their first round of racing, we will have more on this tribute in another story on this site.
With heavy hearts, racing went on and no one would be able to catch Joel Burns' insurmountable championship lead. So racing for pride we ended up with James Sarkis and Adam Saunders in the final. Very little separated the pair at the tree, Sarkis was closer to his dial in at the top end with a 8.120 on a 8.06 defeating a 8.261 on a 7.99 to claim we think his first win in The App Shop Junior.
The four-way championship tussle in Street Fighter left just one standing after the first round, with Danny Stadelmaier the only contender to survive the viscous round, but he still had to advance one more round to clinch back-to-back titles. And that he did, defeating Richard Welch in round two, before continuing his run to win the event over a red lighting Tim Ritzrow in the final.
It would be something special if Bobbie Jo Simmonds could win the Street Bike title with husband Robert winning the Modified one. Taking a 20 point lead in was advantageous with only a small field of bikes entered, and a first round bye made the challenge for second placed Stefan Stivala even greater. Stivala survived round one and a semi final match up against Guido Falgiatori was a must win, but the Harley was off pace with a 10.33 on a 10.15 letting Falgiatori keep his front wheel ahead at the line crossing with a 10.52 on a 10.50 to eliminate Simmonds only challenger. After celebrating on the start line, knowing the championship was her's and would later be backed up with her husband's Modified Bike title, a husband and wife duo winning championship titles in the same series is a rare feat if ever done at all. Anyone?
In celebration Simmonds wrung the neck of her Hayabusa winning a double breakout against Wayne Odgers in the semi, but was disqualified for running under 10.00 Street Bike minimum. Falgiatori went on to win the event over a reinstated Wayne Odgers.
Finally HAMBster would close out the 2017 Atura Championship Series, Anthony Mastromauro taking the win in the final over Peter Grant, with Ezio Cacciotti leaving with the track championship crown. Check out all the action from the day in the gallery below!