Nitro Night saw a collection of Top Fuel Dragsters, Nitro Bikes the Direct Mining and Industrial Summer Slam entertain a decent crowd at Perth Motorplex on February 17, 2018.
Top Fuel featured Mark Sheehan in the Nitro Madman and Anthony Begley in Chemical Warfare, as well as Michael Brooks' Nitro Mayhem FED up against Sheehan's Black Widow.
Sheehan got an early start, testing Nitro Madman during the day on what looked like a tough pass until the transition to concrete saw the car go up in smoke.
The first round for the rear engine cars saw Begley throw a blower belt while Sheehan again overpowered the track at the transition.
A scintillating 4.67sec. run in the second round was the quickest pass seen in Western Australia since 2016 and helped Sheehan go 2-0 against Begley. Unfortunately that would be the last we saw of the Chemical Warfare car for the night, with Sheehan returning one last time but going up in flames around half track.
As far as the FEDs went, Brooks pinched Sheehan in the first round with a holeshot 6.52 to 6.38 win, but much of the action came in the braking area where Sheehan was bouncing to a stop after his parachutes failed to deploy.
Brooks also claimed round two, but both cars were off the throttle early. Round three was unfortunately scrapped as the event ran into the 11pm curfew.
Brothers Ryan and Stuart Moresby celebrated dual wins, taking victories in the Top Doorslammer and Top Comp divisions respectively.
Ryan enjoyed a career night in the Hotshots Racing Ford Falcon Top Doorslammer, defeating Australian champion John Zappia in the final round with a personal best time of 5.90.
While Ryan was relieved to finally break through for his first five, Zappia was left to rue a decision to put on new tyres before the final round, acknowledging the move as a gamble that did not pay off.
Stuart’s win came over Russell Ladbrook in their final round for Top Comp, with a dew-covered track proving challenging for both teams. Ladbrook spun his tyres early in the race to hand the trophy to Stuart, who extended his points lead in the championship series.
The Nitro Bikes saw some spectacular racing with Jay Upton in particular deserving mention as he returned to some full track form. A very strong run in the elimination round would likely have put a 6.3 or 6.4 on the boards despite an early shut off, but no time was recorded as Upton took too long to come into stage after opponent Les Holden.
A later 6.50 clocking in the B Final gave a hint as to what the bike may be capable of.
The win for the night would go to Benny Stevens though, running a series of low sevens and defeating Holden in the final.
Two divisions saw championship leads change hands with three rounds remaining for the season.
Ralph Lewis took over the Super Comp series, taking a win against Kyle Putland. With former championship leader Jamie Chaisty going out in the first round of Nitro Night and second placed Errol Quartermaine crashing his car at the last event, Lewis had the way cleared to make serious inroads into a second Super Comp championship.
In Modified Bike, Paul Nieuwhof won his second straight event with a red light (foul start) from Paul McNamara deciding the final round’s result. The victory moved Nieuwhof ahead of former leader Bruce Jones.
Wayne Patterson didn’t quite take the lead of Competition Bike, but he did edge ever closer with a win against current leader Phill Paton – the two turbocharged bikes setting up a classic finish to the season.
Outlaw Radial had a wild day, with massive wheelstands from Josh Lopreiato and Phil Purser during qualifying. Lopreiato’s unfortunately ended in a wall scrape that put the pretty Torana out of the day’s racing, while Purser went through to the final round to meet Jeff Johnson. There Johnson took no prisoners in an 8.10 to 8.56 match up.
Darren White won his second event in a row in Supercharged Outlaws, defeating Greg James in their final round confrontation, while Johnny Brecich extended his championship lead in Top Sportsman with a tight race against Paul Downe.
Modified continues to be unpredictable, with John Althuizen scoring the victory in his first event back this season – a feat also performed by Jim Duffy and Michelle Katavatis in the last two rounds of the series. Althuizen one-upped Damion Le-Cocq for the win.
Super Sedan points leaders Martin Mirco and Nick Panagopoulos both reached the final round where Mirco closed the gap to Panagopoulos to just ten points thanks to victory.
Finally in Super Street, Lisa Garbellini was able to turn around what has been a tough season so far with a win against Graham Smith.
Make sure to check out our full gallery from Nitro Night!
The championship drag racing action recommences at Perth Motorplex in just under two weeks at the MacTrack Westernationals on March 3 and 4, where the national 400 Thunder Series and Summit Sportsman Series roll into town for the year’s biggest drag racing event.