2022/2023 SRESS roars into action in Darwin

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The new 2022/2023 Summit Racing Equipment Sportsman Series season has burst into life at the Hidden Valley Drag Strip, with the first qualifying passes of the Top End Nationals event completed.

At the close of the day’s action, Leith Darrach (Modified Bike), Sarah-Mae Bates (Super Street), Tony Miskelly (Super Sedan), Greg Damiani (Top Sportsman) and Alan Mahnkoph (Supercharged Outlaws) are topping the qualifying sheets for their respective brackets.

Each bracket has one more session of qualifying to run which will be held tomorrow (Saturday 16 July) from 5.00pm ahead of eliminations racing from 6.30pm, with the finals scheduled from 10.15pm.

In Modified Bike, last year’s winner Allan Henry had a hold on the top qualifying spot for the first two sessions, before it was snatched first by Dale Smith (Q3) and then by Leith Darrach (Q4) – who has been through the ringer getting ready for this event.

“Getting to the race track was the best part of the day, it has been mayhem leading up as we have been putting in long hours and only just got parts on Monday – we have been building non-stop to get here today. The effort has been herculean really,” Darrach said.

“At the last event we overheated the motor, so we basically had to build a whole new motorcycle after the last round. We only got to run the second heat cycle on it this morning, changed the braking oil, and then came to the race track.

“I am really happy – it is a PB for me on the bike in Australia; I have been chasing to get back to the glory of what it used to run, so I am really happy.

“I am really hoping I can back it up tomorrow, I am feeling positive and I am looking forward to getting out there and having a good go.

“We might see if we can knock a couple more tenths off it if we can, but I would be happy to just keep it the same and keep it consistent – having two passes within two thousandths of a second of each other in this style is pretty good, so we are tempted to just leave well enough alone,” he grinned.

“I want to send a big shout out to my wife for her patience this week as it has been pretty trying, and also to Hi-Tec Oils, EB Speed for all the support and the advice, Ape Racing for helping me out with the engine parts – they have been amazing – and also Pure Performance Motorsports.

“I am looking forward to seeing how we pull up tomorrow; I am going out there to run some numbers, and hopefully set some PBs.”

Sarah-Mae Bates has had a successful start to her Top End Nationals campaign, topping all three sessions of qualifying for the Super Street category.

“We changed a couple of things with the car, we had a bit of a plan in place for tonight and everything definitely went to plan,” Bates said.

“We are feeling good heading into tomorrow. All we can do is stick to the plan and see what happens, and focus on good reaction times and our dial-ins.

“I want to say thanks to my dad, I wouldn’t be able to do this without him – he does everything behind the scenes, I pretty much just get in and do the rest. I definitely wouldn’t be here without him. And thanks also to the guys that help out, Bridgestone, and dad’s mate Crossy, they give us a hand here and there.

“Good luck to everyone for Saturday – stay safe and enjoy the night!”

The Top End Nationals racing will conclude Saturday 16 July, from 5.00pm. For full event information including entry lists and event schedules, go to www.hiddenvalleydrags.com.au

For more from ANDRA, visit www.andra.com.au

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