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Australia’s number one Top Bike racer, Chris Matheson, is counting down the days until the Santo’s Summer Thunder round of the Australian 400 Thunder Championship on January 19 and 20 at Sydney Dragway.

As a warm-up to Sydney, Matheson featured at the recent New Year Thunder event at Willowbank Raceway in a nitro duel alongside Australia’s quickest and fastest Harley-Davidson rider - Mark Drew.

The event was a scorcher with high track temps (over 65 C) making it tricky for the two-wheel nitro burners. The pair made a number of runs over two days with both riders experiencing some issues. On one particular solo run, things got ugly for Matheson around the 400-foot mark when a spinning tyre suddenly grabbed traction and tried to throw him off his bike.

Drew and Matheson squared up later for a paired run with a solid 6.23 effort for the 'Nitro Voodoo' machine, while Drew left hard and carried the front wheel before dropping a cylinder and slowing to a 7.67 ET.

“We were hoping to put down some quick runs for the fans,” said Matheson. “But gremlins caught up with the both of us. I was impressed with the crowd that came out under the very hot conditions and the number of young kids in the pits and grandstands was fantastic.

Mark went 6.59/208 in testing running a new fuel system and I managed that 6.23/206. I had intentions of coming out again later in the night, however as we started getting ready to tow the bike out we noticed a few drops of oil, so pulled the pin.”

Besides the issues for both riders, Matheson said the bike came a long way in the 60-foot department with a 1.09 clocking, which is something the team haven’t seen for a long time.

“We are looking to pick up three to four tenths in the middle. I can see some light at the end of the tunnel. Since upgrading our package we threw everything we knew out the window and basically started again with a clean sheet.

“The fruits of our labour are starting to show so we can’t wait to get down to Sydney in a few weeks.

“On a very sad note, I was taken back to hear Australian Top Bike racer Phil Parker passed away earlier this week. Phil was a true Champion of our sport both on and off the track.

“I have many fond memories of racing with Phil (seen above), his never give up attitude was second to none. Phil and his devoted team ran a number of great passes over his career none more satisfying than his 6.58 ET in Sydney. I recall the jubilation on his face at the deep end.

“Phil was a great person, always positive, willing to help and a tough racer. A true shining star sadly missed. My thoughts go out to his family and friends.”

Chris Matheson Racing is proudly supported by the following sponsors – Kitten Car Care Products, Rocket Industries, CRC, Web Cam Racing Cams, Larry McBride, World Wide Bearing Company, Boninfante Friction Inc, Performance Decals & Signage, Bill Furr Orangeburg Cycle Racing, Hi-Side Leather Repair, Performance Wholesale, GT Radiators & Machining, GT Radiators, Boninfante, Great Southern Diesel Services and Ballistic Performance Parts.