Champions crowned in Fuchs Winternationals completion

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The never give up attitude was on full display at Willowbank Raceway today as final eliminations were completed for the rain-delayed Fuchs Winternationals.

Both race teams and event staff gave their all to bring the event to completion and allow every category to reach its conclusion.

The Australian Top Fuel championship went down to the wire with Darren Morgan, Damien Harris and Andrew Cowin all having mathematical shots at the title until the final pairing.

If one team has epitomised “never give up” this season it has been Rapisarda Racing. With veteran driver Allan Dobson back behind the wheel the efforts of the NSW-based outfit finally produced a result with top qualifying honours and an event winning 4.64 to defeat Cowin. The team was honoured to receive the “Mickey”, a memorial trophy for Top Fuel team owner Mick Atholwood who passed away recently.

The points fell to Darren Morgan, with bonus points for top speed proving the difference and giving the AEG Powertools team a narrow championship win over Harris.

Top Alcohol’s championship was also a close one with Gary Phillips and the Lucas Oils team coming out narrow victors when Adam Marchant lost in the semi finals to Jamie Noonan.

In a heartbreaking moment for the Marchant team they spun the tyres on the start line and broke a blower belt only to watch Noonan explode his supercharger down track and roll to a six second win.

With the damage to Noonan’s V8 Nights dragsters too severe to repair for the final it was local Steve Reed who made the most of the opportunity, taking the win on a solo in his new Allstar Batteries Pontiac.

Top Doorslammer’s title would be decided in the semi finals to when Peter Kapiris lost a close encounter of the Robin Judd kind, with the retiring driver of the Aeroflow Studebaker producing a 5.88 to 5.89 win that handed the championship to John Zappia for a fifth straight time. The event win went to the Northern Territory’s Andrew Sutton over Judd.

In Pro Stock Michael Ali won his first championship, with the South Australian team showing that a consistent package with good driving is a title combination. The points were decided when Denis Whiting lost in the second round. Shane Tucker’s Monster Energy Pontiac took its second event win for the season by taking the final over Ali.

Chris Matheson made it a clean sweep for the season in Top Bike with a 6.19 in the final knocking out a valiant 6.93 from Chris Porter.

Pro Stock Motorcycle had four riders in the championship hunt but it was Lachy Ireland coming out on top as his Lucas Oils Suzuki survived a first round skirmish with Phil Howard and went on to a runner up. Luke Crowley was perhaps an unexpected event winner as he discovered the hidden potential in his machine, breaking into the 7.3 second zone for the first time and claiming the gold Christmas tree.

Wayne Keys became the Competition champion with his quick Holden Monaro and his fellow Western Australian Alistair McClure took a lucky win in the final when Greg Leahy crossed the centreline.

Jason Simpson took the title in Super Stock with his second round effort proving enough as Omar Sedmak won the final.

Kevin Gummow waited until the last moment to claim his Competition Bike championship with a win in the final giving him enough points to tie Ross Smith, but winning by virtue of his better Fuchs Winternationals performance.

Robert Novak wrapped up the Super Compact title by claiming the event win over Ben Hunt.

In Supercharged Outlaws Matty Watts made the final and that was just enough to tie Luke Marsden and Jack Danaher, again winning by virtue of the better Fuchs Winternationals performance. Matthew McKnight won the event in his 53 Studebaker.

Ken Stewart had a nervous wait in the Modified championship but when Kelly Corbett lost by just .003 in the semi finals he had it all wrapped up. Tony Littlewood won the Fuchs Winternationals against Dave Ferricks.

Steve Fowler doubled up with both a Fuchs Winternationals win and a championship win in Super Sedan. He defeated Rick Smith in the final.

Also hitting the double was Daniel Sekli in Modified Bike, with a victory over Shaun Soboll.

Rob Harrington became Super Street champion but not after a tense few days. He lost in the early rounds and watched as Kylie Tanner reached the finals to gain a shot at the title. Unfortunately for Tanner a red light against event winner Lucas Holz cost her the title.

In Junior Dragster Jake Donnelly became the champion after a big year of chasing the Rocket Allstars Racing Series. Donnelly also earned the honour of the John Storm Memorial Trophy. In an all Western Australian final Matthew Matulovich defeated Bailey McClure, who was unfortunately unable to emulate his father’s efforts in Comp.

In Super Gas Simon Isherwood became the national champion after reaching the semi finals. Michael Stivala earned himself the win over Rick Dudek.

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