Queensland drag racer Josh Fletcher and father Bill got to live out a dream during the 51st annual Gulf Western Oil Winternationals at Willowbank Raceway last weekend, taking a 400 Thunder championship one-two in the Supercharged Outlaws division.
The pair enjoyed a season of great performances, entering the event on maximum points. The very first round of racing would prove the critical moment, with Josh advancing to the next round while Bill lost in his Gulf Western Oil-supported dragster – virtually handing Josh the championship trophy.
“There is always a rivalry and we both want to win but we are team mates,” Josh said. “After I won the first round I got back to the grandstands to watch Dad's race and when he lost I was devastated. It took me a few seconds to realise that his loss meant I had won the Supercharged Outlaws championship.”
The Fletcher family are prolific at the race track. In addition to Josh and Bill's dragsters, Josh's stepmother Susanne also races a Holden Torana while Josh's brother Dan is also no stranger to the drag strip.
“We are all loving racing as a team and as a family, it is why we go racing,” Josh said. “I have raced for almost 20 years from Junior Dragsters to the M7 Air Tools Supercharged Outlaws Dragster and it has always been with family. There is no better feeling than being on the start line and looking over to see your dad against you or your brother.”
Those years have resulted in plenty of success and the family's mantelpiece must be groaning under the trophy collection by now.
“We worked out we have around 16 Willowbank Raceway track championships between us all,” Josh said.
While the Gulf Western Oil Winternationals may have seemed like a dream run for Josh, who would go on to win the event in addition to the championship, he said the perfectionist in him would have liked to have seen success across two divisions.
“I was also running in the Super Street class and any time you hit the start line you want to be the winner. But unfortunately I lost in the first round there. Perhaps that let me focus more on the dragster though, because everything went very smoothly there.”
Smooth seems to have been a theme for the Fletcher family's season, which has seen them travel interstate to pursue the 400 Thunder Supercharged Outlaws championship.
“Aside from one washed out event I made the finals at every event in the series that we attended,” Josh said. “I even got to race Dad in a final round in January, but he beat me there! Once I was on the points cap we concentrated on Dad's car and he was able to max out in Sydney at Gulf Western Oil Nitro Thunder.”
The Gulf Western Oil Winternationals was a highly successful event for Willowbank Raceway, with over 500 race teams watched by tens of thousands of spectators across the four days.