Top Fuel pilot Peter Xiberras had his challenge for the 400 Thunder Top Fuel Title well and truly underway at Gulf Western Oil Nitro Thunder on the weekend, reducing the gap between he and title leader Damien Harris with a round one victory, before a round two incident saw Xiberras hit the wall in his PremiAir Racing dragster.
Now his championship hopes are in tatters.
“The weekend started out really positive for us – we came to Sydney third on the ladder, 20 points shy of second-placed Kelly Bettes and 22 away from the leader, Damien Harris,” Xiberras explained.
“We had our eyes on closing that gap right up, and with a race one win we were on our way to that goal, reducing the gap to Harris to just 16 points with two more races ahead of us for the event.
“Unfortunately, it wasn’t to be. In the second race, we were in the right-hand lane and early in the run the dragster shook the tyres very hard, with the car turning to the left and making contact with the left-hand wall.
“Thankfully, we didn’t make contact with Wayne Newby who was racing in the left-hand lane and I was able to extract myself from the car on my own and walk over to see the ambulance, which took me over to the hospital to be checked out.
“Unfortunately, when they have run a CT scan they have found some spinal fractures which mean I will be in hospital for a couple of weeks. At this stage we are hopeful of avoiding surgery and a MRI tomorrow will give us some more information on whether we will be lucky in that regard.
“It isn’t the news you want of course but I am going to be a-okay, and that is the main thing. The fact that my injuries aren’t worse is a real testament to the safety of these cars. Unfortunately, while I will make a full recovery, I will be missing out on the Gulf Western Oil Winternationals so our championship hopes for this season are well and truly over.
“We will just have to come back next season bigger and better to make up for it.
“In the meantime, I would like to send my thanks to all of the track staff and officials at Sydney Dragway as well as the medical staff who are looking after me, the racers that have checked in with me, to my sponsors, and to all of the fans and supporters who have been sending their well wishes – all of your support is very much appreciated.”