The Gulf Western Oil Nitro Thunder delivered a spectacular opening day, providing some of the most memorable runs in Sydney Dragway history.
Racers were delivered an almost brand new racing surface, manicured and prepared over the last week by the Sydney Dragway track crew. Although some racers had question marks as to how best attack the new surface, any reservations were soon forgotten with personal best performances being delivered by over 20 racers during the course of day one.
In Top Fuel, five cars elected to run in the first of the test sessions on offer. The major highlight was delivered on the very first run with reigning 400 Thunder Champion Damien Harris laying down a 4.58 at over 512 kph, the quickest time seen at Sydney Dragway in several years. Along side him, American Dom Lagana raced to an early shut-off 4.83.
The hits kept coming however with Wayne Newby and Terry Sainty running a side by side 4 second pass, the 4.96 for Sainty being a just reward for many years of persistence with the home-grown combination.
US based Aussie Richie Crampton made his first run on Australian soil in a nitro fuelled car, with a planned half-track shutoff providing very encouraging incremental numbers for the Lamattina Top Fuel pilot.
Only 4 Pro Alcohol cars attempted runs in the evening, with championship contender Wayne Price the quickest sitting on a 5.77.
The season debut of reigning champ John Zapppia in Pro Slammer proved once again that he is regarded as the king of the category, with an impressive 5.71 pacing the field. Gulf Western Oil team driver Victor Bray was hot on his heels with a 6.02 and the surprise packet of the day, Sam Fenech in third.
Top Bike saw only one representative run with championship Leader Chris Matheson recording a early shut off 6.62 at a slowing 283 kph. The most spectacular event of the day belonged to Adam Layton with a massive engine detonation at ¼ track. Layton was uninjured in the incident.
Pro Stock was a surprisingly difficult proposition, with teams walking the fine line between hitting the perfect setup or not, it was only Aaron Tremayne in the new Mega Bulk Fuels backed entry and Jason Hedges the only cars to get down in a competitive time with a 6.98 and 7.09 respectively.
- Sydney Dragway media release