The Aeroflow Nitro Hot Rods lived up to their wild reputation with a series of close fought rounds and loose runs at Perth Motorplex on Saturday night.
New Zealand’s Morice McMillin took victory with three wins from three rounds in the ‘Spooky’ car.
While Sydney’s Rick Gauci was the performance leader early with a run of 5.98sec. in ‘Chuckys Toy’, McMillin got the upper hand in a messier final where a 6.33sec. at 354kmh proved enough to cover a 6.40sec.
“To get the win in what I am told was a pretty entertaining final was pretty cool,” McMillin said. “These cars are about entertainment and between the side by side races and the wild runs I hope the Perth crowd were happy.”
McMillin had much to celebrate with the birth of his first child Lochie on Monday with wife Monique.
“It was tough to leave them Friday to come racing but I reckon this was worth it,” he said.
The nitro action wasn’t restricted to the Aeroflow Nitro Hot Rods with Outlaw Nitro Funny Cars also on track. Andrew Katavatis took three wins from three rounds of match racing against Matt Abel, setting a new personal best time of 5.56sec.
“Running one of these nitro cars is a tough deal and to run a 5.56sec. is just incredible,” Katavatis said. “This places us as the third quickest Outlaw Nitro Funny Car in Australia and the quickest in WA which is a big achievement for our small, family-based team. 5.4sec. could be around the corner for the ‘Beach Bomb.’”
Mark Sheehan and Michael Brookes also matched up in their front engine Top Fuel Dragsters, with Sheehan recording his first 5sec. run in the ‘Black Widow’ car.
Ryan Moresby’s hot streak in the final event for the Direct Mining and Industrial Summer Slam season continued with another event win, bringing him to second in the points standings. Moresby was back in the five second zone in the Dananni Hotshots Ford Falcon with a 5.96sec. blast in the elimination round. The final was unusual with opponent Wayne Keys not appearing due to a braking issue while Moresby’s car had an electrical problem.
“In the final the car shook the tyres and a plug came undone on the Electrimotion unit which shut the car down early,” he explained.
The win went to Moresby but the championship would go to Kelvin Lyle, whose consistently strong performance figures during the season delivered the result he was after.
Greg Durack scored the win in the Nitro Bikes, taking enough points to claim the championship series on the night as well.
Russell Ladbrook had a smile return to his face, earning the win in Top Comp after an extremely unlucky Westernationals several weeks ago. Ladbrook looked to be one of the hot chances at that event win until his tyres delaminated and he was unable to find suitable replacements.
There were no such issues this time, with a 5.70sec. run to defeat Nigel Johnson’s 5.76sec. in the final round. While the turnaround in form was no doubt appreciated, it may be too little too late for Ladbrook’s championship hunt, with points leader Stuart Moresby only having to make a qualifying run at the season-ending Powerpalooza on April 7 to wrap up the Top Comp state title.
In contrast, Super Comp’s championship looks set to end on a thrilling note at the same event with Jamie Chaisty overtaking reigning champion Ralph Lewis in the points following a win against Graeme Simms in the final round on Saturday. Chaisty has been on a strong run in recent events with a runner up at the Westernationals, where he also set a national record for his class.
The to and fro between Phill Paton and Wayne Patterson in Competition Bike continued with Paton striking the latest blow. Paton defeated Justin Townson in the A Final while Patterson was resigned to a win in the B Final, allowing Paton to leapfrog into the lead of the points series.
“We were having some trouble getting the bike to stick to the track bit still managed to fluke a few good numbers,” Paton said. “Unfortunately Justin had a nitrous backfire which ended his run early. I had no idea Justin’s bike was hurt so I just stayed head down and bum up which landed me a nice run for the win. With the season drawing to a close, we really need the points.”
The points for Supercharged Outlaws are now a foregone conclusion, with Jodie Mellitt to put her name in the history books as the first female Supercharged Outlaws state champion in history. Mellitt took the win over Greg James in the final round and now has a large enough lead to guarantee the title.
A superb final round run by Chris Roe in Top Sportsman went unneeded against Alby Bakranich, who red lit (foul started) himself out of contention by just eight thousandths of a second. Roe would have been tough to beat regardless, leaving the start line .016sec. after the green light and running a 7.851sec. time on his 7.84sec. handicap.
Erin Healy denied Ralph Italiano his first Modified win in a tight final round. Italiano had the holeshot early but Healy’s closer time to his handicap, a 7.495sec. run on a 7.47sec. dial in, snatched the victory.
Martin Mirco might not have won the Super Sedan division like he has the previous two events, but yet another final round appearance has given his state championship hopes a massive boost. Mirco was bested in the final by Mick Fenton, but is a near certainty to win the title with an 80 point lead ahead of the last event of the season.
Troy Thompson might have only appeared at a couple of events for the season but the quick Suzuki Hayabusa made an impact with a win against Trent Anthony. In an unusual event for the championship, many of the front runners went out in early rounds, creating one of the largest pools of potential series winners of any category ahead of the final round of the season. In total five riders will go have a mathematical chance including Paul Nieuwhof, Bruce Jones, Luke Seaton, Zoe Nieuwhof and Chris Moore.
Darran Bakranich did his championship hopes no damage with a win against Marcina Begg. Like Modified Bike, the Super Street points are a wide open affair with five drivers – Ashleigh Wroe, Steph Gullotto, Robert Stone, Graham Smith and Bakranich – all in with a chance for the title.
The final round of the WA drag racing season will be Powerpalooza on April 7, a massive event featuring not just drag racing but also speedway, burnouts and a demolition derby.