The Aeroflow Sportsman Drag Racing Championship continued its tour of regional tracks with Benarby Raceway hosting round eight of the series, the first time the venue has held a championship round.
Th raceway has undergone significant upgrades to bring the track up to the standard required to run the event, though Super Comp and Supercharged Outlaws were still restricted to the eighth mile with the short shut down.
Super Stock and Competition were combined again as Super Comp totaling up a nine car field.
Rob Coleman’s B/GA Muzzy has found some form and top qualified with a 4.56 (-.415) ahead of Jason Simpson’s Capri with a G/GA 5.57 (-0.339) and Greg Clayton rounded out the top three with a BB/A 4.15 (-.333).
Clayton started of eliminations with a easy win over a sleepy Shane Moran super stocker, Mark Slater red lit himself out of contention against Peter Zelow’s dragster and Coleman had a solo. Continuing on in round one Danny Tuelstrup also picked off a cherry against Rob Nunn’s B/AP Cobalt and rounding out the first round, Super Stock National Champion Simpson took the single when Kevin Magner in the Pontiac could not take start.
Clayton rocketed to a 3.99 in round two over Zelow, Coleman went well under the index with a 4.71 unnecessarily when Nunn left a red light on the tree by just five thousandths and Simpson took the bye into the semi finals.
Coleman set the B/GA National Record at 4.52 (4.84) against Simpson but it was not enough to catch the Capri’s record setting 5.22 (5.57) while Clayton took a easy bye to the final.
Clayton let it all rip in the final setting the BB/A National mark at 3.97 and 176.47MPH chasing down Coleman to secure the win and surpass the 300 point maximum in the championship.
There were nine cars in Supercharged Outlaws as well with top qualifier Luke Marsden still looking to do all the points blocking he can.
The odd field size left Marsden with the first round bye, Christine Steffens plucked a cherry against Les Rodgie’s flopper and Grant Fraser looking to hit the maximum championship points defeated Matthew McKnight’s Studebaker. Chris “The Hof” Van’thof also went red against Leigh Ryan’s truck and Matt Watts again missed out on a valuable point haul falling too Rodney Hansen’s altered.
In round two Rodgie advanced to the semi final with a bye, Hansen was disqualified against Ryan and Fraser could not make the start line against Marsden.
Marsden snuck into another final by just a few thousandths over Rodgie in an all funny car fight where he would meet Ryan whom had the single.
The final was decided at the tree with Ryan going red by a bunch gifting Marsden his fourth win this season along with a points advantage still over his nearest rivals and a solid lead in the John Storm Memorial.
Modified were competing back over the full distance, Shane Seawright blistered the track in the competition debut of his twin turbo dragster easily top qualifying with a 6.51 at 204MPH.
The story of round one was Rob Harrington bowing out with a break out to Rob Millet, the upset putting a dent in his championship hopes, while Seawright went even quicker with a 6.49 on a single.
Millet fell to Katie Cunningham in round two, championship leader Tony Littlewood ended Seawrights run and John Smith defeated Terry Roney.
Cunningham with a single to the final would face Littlewood’s dragster when Smith couldn’t accept the tree in the other semi.
Cunningham was too eager by 12/1000ths in the final making the win easy for Littlewood, his first for the season. The win pushes Littlewood over the maximum and to the top of the Modified championship.
No one has been dominating the Super Sedan championship, and the only entrant that could make a move was John Kapiris, but that became unstuck with a round two exit against Jim Kahler still leaving a cluster of racers at the top of the points ladder.
Kahler would reach the semi finals before breaking out to Rick Nielsen’s Falcon and NSW’s Mark Harding scored a solo into the final.
Nielsen’s 10.53 (10.52) was enough to hold back the Capri of Harding 9.60 (9.55) in the final, the outcome moves Harding significantly up in the points even further condensing the championship chase.
No Modified Bike championship contenders were in the pits leaving the possibility of a late season charge for someone if they are good enough. Daniel Sekli top qualified with a 8.69 but the reigning champion was on the trailer in round two at the hand of Mick Mundey leaving virtually no chance of continuing a title defense.
Mundey continued to the final aboard his Hayabusa were he faced off with David Butlers Destroyer. A 10.607 (10.61) from Mundey was a breakout by the narrowest of margins leaving Butler to pick up the spoils.
NSW’s Mark Phillips was the only Super Street contender in the field and a win would of seen the Torana driver have a substantial lead, but Phillips stumped himself in the first round with a red light though will remain in the championship lead by 20 points.
The final was fought out by Laurie Bonato and Brandon Sabine, the fight was short lived with Sabine leaving a light year early.
A 9.903 left current champion in Super Gas Simon Isherwood on top of the six car field after qualifying.
In the first round Barry Moore beat the Torana of Tom Parry, Isherwood was lucky with a holeshot win over Kev Weir and Dave Gauldie put Stuart McLaughlin on the trailer.
Isherwood in the Commodore pushed the tree with a red light on a solo in the semi and Gauldie won a tight tussle with Moore.
Isherwood again took a shot at the tree in the final and was too quick by a heart breaking one thousandth of a second, Gauldie in the Cutlass was sharp on the lights as well with a .007 light winning his first round this season. Isherwood still leads the championship with a comfortable 60 points over Gauldie and Oberauer.
A good roll up of Junior Dragsters from all over the place went head to head with the championship being hotly contested.
By semi finals time it was championship leader Toby Austin matching up against Brock Hodgson, a break out from Austin shot Kiwi Hodgson into the final. He would face Eden Ward who strapped a holeshot courtesy of a .005 light on Matt Matulovich in the other semi.
Hodgson picked up his first win on Australian soil with tenth jump at the start, Ward broke out 8.044 (8.05) trying to hold off Hodgson’s 8.099 (8.02).
Next round of the Aeroflow Sportsman Championship will be at Adelaide Raceway on September 20-21.
Photos by Tanya Catasti|TGC Photography.