After a grandstand finish to the 2017 ATURA Series, it would be hard to imagine that the 2018 version could be any more exciting – but nothing could be further from the truth.
A massive 189 entries will kick off the start of the ATURA NSW Championship Series this weekend, with a field that includes current and former NSW champions as well as multiple Australian title winners.
The first round of the series also marks Sydney Dragway’s annual Open Day, with free entry for all spectators helping to showcase the state titles to a new audience.
Pro Extreme is high on quality with reigning 400 Thunder Pro Slammer champ Mark Belleri, current points leader Paul Mouhayet and Greg “Mauler” Tsakaridis in his turbocharged Ford Mustang, one of the fastest turbo doorslammers in the world.
Supercharged Outlaws sees a strong field and for the first time in several years has more open cars than sedans. Reigning ATURA Series champion Norm McCormack will be looking for back-to-back titles in what will be a tough category.
Top Sportsman will see five rounds of eliminations on Saturday thanks to a huge 19 car entry list. The man who dominated the championship last season, Neil Constantinou, will be part of a two-pronged team attack on the title alongside Andrew Constantinou. With the runner up in the 2017 series Anthony Hvratin no longer a rookie, expect a tight title chase right to the end.
Timic Hot Rod Supplies Modified has 27 entries in what is one of the largest ATURA NSW Championship fields in recent memory. Picking a winner will be left to the brave, with multiple former NSW champions in the running, the reigning champ Martin Borg and former national champion Shane Wynd also set to do battle.
Twenty six cars will front for Super Sedan in what was the tightest class in the 2017 ATURA series - decided between Robert Chapman and Dave Gruber in the final at the last round of the series! On that night, it was Chapman who emerged victorious but it will be extremely tough to repeat the feat in 2018.
Bikereview.com.au Modified Bike will again be the battle of US iron and multi-cylinder technology with a smattering of Harley Destroyers and V-Rods set to take on a squadron of Suzuki Hayabusas, with some Kawasakis and Yamahas thrown in as well. The back-to-back champion Robert Simmonds will have stiff competition – this time from his wife Bobbie-Jo who is fresh from her all-conquering campaign in the Street Bike class in 2017, winning the ATURA NSW Title as well as the Coral Dyer Memorial Trophy for the highest point-scoring female across the season.
Super Street is the largest of any of the ATURA Series classes with a whopping 32 car field meaning the victor will have to outlast five rounds of racing to hoist the trophy come Saturday evening. 2017 champion Tex Griffiths will not have it all his own way, with Danny Stadlemaier stepping into the category after back-to-back championships in Street Fighter, and tough local racers like 2017 runner-up Mick Walsh and Sydney Dragway stalwart Joe Sorbello entered for the event.
J & C Mowers Junior Dragster is certainly healthy with 22 dragsters set to start this weekend. Reigning champion Joel Burns is taking advantage of his fast dwindling time in the category as he ages out of juniors, but with a host of new and experienced faces J & C Mowers Junior Dragster will go down to the wire with some of the best racing offered throughout the season.
Super Gas has a strong six car field with former and current champions sprinkled throughout. Joe Catanzariti, Roy Romeo, the Panetta family and John ”JB” Somoracz are set to battle it out in the 9.90 fixed index category.
HAMBster will see the return of the 2017 champion, Ezio Cacciotti and the runner up Peter Grant to go head-to-head once more. With Anthony Mastromauro and young gun James Rodriquez also in the field, experience will certainly challenge youthful exuberance throughout the 2018 season.
Spectator gates open at 8.30 am Saturday with racing beginning at 9am with early qualifying. Free entry for all spectators means a great day out with the family to take in some of the best sportsman drag racing that Australia has to offer.
For more information please visit www.sydneydragway.com.au or look up Sydney Dragway on Facebook.