Willowbank Raceway in Queensland has seen many a milestone broken in Australian drag racing. One that comes to mind was when the legendary Jim Read broke the 300 mph barrier.
Read went into the Australian Drag Racing history books when he pushed the Gregory’s Automotive Top Fuel dragster to a 301.40 mph pass on September 30th, 2000.
Today the Read name is still active in the sport. In 2017 Jim was inducted into the CAMS Hall of Fame, while sons Bruce and Phil continue the Read legacy on the drag strip.
After a few years away from the sport, the Read family returned to the track earlier this year for the Santo’s Nitro Thunder and were competitive from the moment the green light flashed at Sydney Dragway. In fact, the dragster stunned everyone by setting the quickest 60-foot ET in the world in .808 of a second!
In a few weeks time, the Jim Read Transporter will hit the road to Queensland for the Santo’s Super Thunder event. The last time the “Black Mamba” dragster appeared at Willowbank Raceway was at the 2014 Winternationals!
“We have experienced many wonderful moments in Queensland, from racing at the old Surfers Paradise Raceway to one of the best drag strips in the world – Willowbank Raceway,” said crew chief Bruce Read.
“We are pretty pumped at the moment. We’ve been itching to get back out on the track and after our last outing in Sydney; the “Black Mamba” has shown it has the performance.
“We have been basically testing at our last two outings because we had completely changed our combination. As such, we are sneaking up on it and trying not to hurt parts, which is always a good thing. The original plan was to remain racing in Sydney, however, we are very encouraged by our performance so made the decision to go to Willowbank.
“I’m really impressed with our new team. You could almost say that this is version two of Jim Read Racing,” grinned Bruce. We have a younger team and they are performing extremely well considering we have only contested two championship rounds this season.
During the 2 ½ years not racing and putting the Jim Read dragster back together, I got my hands dirty by helping out Santo Rapisarda and his two boys Santo Jnr and Santino. During our rebuild, they have gone above and beyond what you would expect from an opposition team to assist us back on the track.
“I also need to thank Jim Oberhofer and Troy Fasching from Kalitta Motorsports. Our family has enjoyed a long friendship with the Kalitta family and team, and the help, advice and support they have provided to get us back on the track has been nothing short of overwhelming.
In addition, I want to acknowledge the support we have received from our fellow Top Fuel team owners. They have offered anything we needed to get us back on the track.
“Overall it’s been a humbling few years,” said Read. Right now our family, crew and sponsors are over the moon and looking forward to getting back in the mix, putting on the best show we can for the fans and hopefully bring home a Gold Christmas tree in the near future.
“Top Fuel racing in Australia is looking its strongest in years. We are a united group with the formation of Top Fuel Australia and the racing from all the teams has been competitive, impressive and fast.
“The fans are packing the stands and loving the new 400 Thunder “All Run” format. Today it is all about the show and giving the spectators the chance to see all the teams out on the track. From what I’ve seen its working for our sport and that’s a good thing”.
Jim Read Racing wishes to thank the following sponsors - McDonalds, Kalitta Motorsports, Valvoline, Premier Hire, Odyssey Batteries, North Vic Engines, Pacific Pools, Snap-On and Premium Motorsport Products in the USA.