Determined Judd has unfinished business

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Perth-based Robin Judd has unfinished business after finishing runner-up in the Australian National Drag Racing Association Pro Series Top Doorslammer championship for the second season in a row.


 And for the second year in a row, Judd was also runner-up at the recent season-ending Castrol EDGE Winternationals at Willowbank Raceway, Ipswich, Queensland.


Judd was also runner-up in the inaugural $20,000 three-event – Westernationals, Perth, Nitro Champs, Sydney and Winternationals – Karcher Shootout.


However, unlike last season, which saw fellow Perth racer John Zappia lock-up the championship series prior to the Winternationals, this season’s championship was not decided until the Winternationals’ Top Doorslammer final, the very last race of the 2009-2010 series.


Going into the Winternationals, Judd held a slender nine-point lead over archrival Zappia, but lost the championship by 16 points, the narrowest winning margin in the 11-year history of the Top Doorslammer championship series, after Zappia won the Winternationals’ final. 


After the first Winternationals qualifying session, Judd (5.914sec at 246.98mph) was second behind Zappia, and then a 6.093/242.76 second qualifier didn’t alter his position.


The third qualifying session saw Judd’s William Buck K & B Exclusive ’59 Studebaker over-power the track, dropping him to third place behind Zappia and Maurice Fabietti.


Series runner up Judd has unfinished business
After making some clutch adjustments, the fourth and final session saw Judd (5.828/249.21) record his quickest-ever time in a championship event, to move back into second place behind Zappia (5.810/247.02) and ahead of Fabietti (5.893/252.71).


That fourth qualifying session pass, with Mark Belleri (6.080/249.07) in the other lane, was the fastest side-by-side (terminal speed) Top Doorslammer pass ever recorded in Australia.


“The setup was a little soft in the first qualifier and in the second (qualifying) session I had to peddle because of tyre shake. The track was tight so we changed the gear box for the third qualifying session, but we were too aggressive and smoked the tyres off the start line,” Judd said. 


“We then took some clutch out for the last qualifier, running a 5.82(second), our quickest pass in competition. That run built our confidence and took a bit of pressure off. In second position behind Zap (Zappia) we knew the elimination format meant we could only meet him in the final.” 


In the first round of eliminations, Judd (5.842/246.93) was again paired against (and beat) Mark Belleri (5.935/245.32) in Australia’s third quickest-ever side-by-side Top Doorslammer pass. 


Judd (6.073/242.84) overcame traction issues, in the semi final, to account for Peter Kapiris (6.392/212.36) and advance to his fourth final for the season.


For the third time this season, Judd faced Zappia in a final and a must win race for the championship. Unfortunately Judd (8.506/109.64) lost traction from the start, denying him any chance to run down Zappia (5.817/246.93).


“The track changed a little bit during the day and we didn’t have the right setup for the final. The Willowbank track can be very tricky, but we keep learning,” Judd said.


Judd finished the season with 615 points to Zappia’s 631pts. He has now finished runner-up three times – 1999/2000, 2008-2009 and 2009-2010 seasons – in the Top Doorslammer series and is more determined than ever to win the 2010-2011 championship.


“We (the William Buck K & B Exclusive team) did everything we possibly could to win the championship.


“While we won the most actual rounds of racing, Zap picked up valuable bonus points, mainly for low ET (elapse time). Our car was generally faster, but Maurice (Fabietti) took most of the speed bonus points. Over the season, Zap won 41 bonus points to my five, but my extra round win (worth 20 points) wasn’t enough to clinch the title. To make it more interesting next season we will also be earning points for qualifying. 


“We will work on the William Buck K & B Exclusive Studebaker during the off season to try and make it quicker and more consistent. My crew is the best and we as a team have the capability to keep improving. I personally want to have another crack at winning the championship as we have unfinished business,” Judd said.

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