Doorslammer Fury – Spring Horsepower Challenge event report

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Calder Park comes alive with the largest drag racing event in Victoria for a decade.

Over 250 racers descended on Calder Park for the running of the Spring Horsepower Challenge, the biggest undertaking from the track to hold a drag racing event since ANDRA racing finished at the venue.

Putting the politics between Bob Jane, ANDRA and the Victorian Government aside for another day, we will concentrate on the event itself which has been purported as a major success by the track management as they begin to plan a series of similar events.

Running an event of this magnitude in a single day would have been a monumental challenge for any experienced track management and officials.  Calder faced this task with virgin track staff and many problems arose no question, for the best part racers expected the event would have some hurdles, accepted them and continued on with enjoying their racing.

Organisational issues were the main problem with long delays in credentials to just the general slowness of running the event with schedule falling behind very quickly causing a lost or qualifying rounds. Delays came down to timing issues, time taken to extract cars from the deep end and general inexperience to running a actual race meet. The odd weather threw another curve ball with temperatures plummeting as the sun went down affecting track conditions dramatically.

The track was scraped bare before the event, and while the start line came up beyond most people expectations the track was green between 80 and 200ft which is where most cars struck wheel spin dramas. As the day went on more rubber went down and areas improved though the baking sun during the day did start to affect the start line area later on, overall racers were reasonably satisfied with the track conditions before the cold moved in
Without drawing too negatively on the issues the event had, the measure will be at the next event to see that there is a concerted effort by management to resolve the tribulations of this event. Racers will expect a vast improvement in the organisation and if this does not come about then it would greatly harm the possibility of success for future races.


We received two sets of crowd figures for the event, one at 16900 and another over 20000, though on ground estimates taken put it around 7000-8000, and image never showed more than half the seats filled. Saying that the event was up against the V8 Supercars running locally and it’s a crowd any track would take at the moment.

Despite the delays the racing starved crowd seemingly enjoyed the action, standing and applauding wildly for a half track Top Fuel pass indicates how ravenous the Mexicans are for some serious drag racing. The event did feel more like a drag racing exhibition than an actual competition meeting, but the crowd were treated to some wild racing. The Doorslammers provided their own spectacle as only they can, Pro Stock back up their blown counterparts, support categories boasted plenty of supercharged cars along with Pro Street wheels up antics. As a special treat Darren Difilippo made a couple of laps in his Top Fuel dragster and Peter Russo returned to the track in Australia with his Nitro Funny Car.

Unfortunately one of the issues was with inability to acquire any detailed results and information on the sportsman racing, hopefully this will be rectified at the next meeting.


There were 16 Doorslammers on site which had would have a familiarisation pass before a single qualifying shot at the track before moving into eliminations.

Sean Mifsud cranked out a off the trailer 4.190 @ 171 MPH in the practice session giving confidence to others that the track was there.

Beside him, Stephen Dupond layed down his own 4.199 @ 167 MPH which would be his best run of the day.

Peter Kapiris unveiled the new colours for his Saratoga and headed the pack at the time with a 4.18 @ 178

The Archbold team have repaired the Mustang after Reece Melenewycz excursion into  the sand in Sydney but was shut down after the burnout.

Running a Lenco Drive setup Matt Abel is trying to sort out the new Chev, sparkes fly as the headers hit the concrete from some violent shake.

Ben Bray was the last car out in the session and stomped down a 4.14 @ 185 MPH

The second session was a compulsory qualifier and the times would count for first round seeding

Ben Bray conducting a master class before the compulsory qualifier maybe?

More violent shake from Abel

Tony De Felice went into several power wheelstands on his 4.98

Mr 10.5 Frank Mamone was wild trying to get some bite in the heat.

While Deno Brijeski made his first pass of the event striking the tyres 60ft out.

Victor Bray was in his new Sidchrome colours but could get the ’57 hooked up

Scott Maclean returned after his accident at the Winternationals and ran a respectable 4.28 @ 176.

Also returning after needing some repair work was Maurice Fabietti’s Monaro, a 4.23 @ 176 MPH had him set in third

Brett Gillespie went on a crossed up run when the wheelie bar broke, Gillespie was lucky to keep the 34 Chev off the wall and he withdrew from the event

Also pulling out of the event was Peter Blake when the statesman was shut with a major fuel leak on top of the injector hat.

Mifsud gapped the field in the session with a 4.10 @ 178

Qualifying Order
Sean Mifsud    4.107    178.24
Peter Kapiris    4.199    165.33
Maurice Fabietti    4.231    176.47
Steve Dupond    4.280    163.53
Scott Maclean    4.283    176.24
Ben Bray    4.306    146.38
Gary Phillips    4.383    184.09
Matt Abel    4.732    139.46
Phil Glendenning    4.949    152.73
Brett Gillespie    4.951    120.35
Tony De Felice    4.987    115.01
Deno Brijeski    5.118    119.93
Frank Mammone    5.694    126.18
Victor Bray    5.899    129.11
Peter Blake    Broke   
Reece Melenewycz    NTR   

The next round would be a elimination round with the four quickest winners going to the semi finals.

Brijeski trounced Dupond 4.23 to a 4.32

Mamone’s pedalling 4.45 was downed by Fabietti’s 4.34 but the run would not be quick enough to make the semi.

Phillip Glendenning has only been running a Supercharged Outlaws tune up and his 4.38 should have been enough to take Ben Brays 4.53 if it wasn’t for a sleepy reaction

Abel had major transmission trouble having to be pushed into stage as Phillips charged through for a 4.25 @ 180 MPH

Victor Bray 4.23 @ 182 would have been more than enough to make the semi’s expect that Kapiris goes 4.07 @ 180 in the other lane

A 4.26 @ 172 from Maclean defeated De Felice’s 4.42 @ 153

Mifsud with a solo struggled to a 4.32 @ 173 meaning he would miss the semi’s

By the time the semi’s rolled around the air temperature was in the single digits.

Phillips got in trouble early in the run battling Deno who cleaned up the finish line reflectors. Kapiris who was on a solo when Maclean was shut with a oil leak had no such problem with a 4.15 @ 175

Phillips withdrew from the final when he didn’t think he had adequate turnaround time as well as major concerns over the track temperature, this left Kapiris to run a on and off 5.57 @ 88 MPH.

Pro Stock

Pro Stock had nine on the entries, Anthony Selva did not compete and Jason Grima lunched an engine at the test and tune the night before.

US Pro tuner Tommy Lane was involved with the Bektash operation this weekend

Richard Caval debuted the ex Andriopolous Dodge Avenger

The MPS cars of Arthur Kolaroff and Joe Polito ran even 7.34’s against each other in the first session.

Most of the teams struggled in this session with their first look at the track for the day as qualifying looked like this.

Lee Bektash    7.201    191.78
Andrew Stavroulakis    7.238    173.72
Arthur Kolaroff    7.341    188.04
Joe Polito    7.346    186.98
Ian Brown    7.398    183.24
Bill Perdikaris    7.417    162.47
Richard Caval    8.483    119.87

Between rounds Lee Bektash messes around with Pro Street racer Joe Gauci who dropped jaws with his performance at the event

As track conditions were predicted to plummet and the schedule blown out organisers could not confirm when a following round of racing would be run. So the Pro Stock teams decided this next session would be their last hit out and winner would be based on a points system.

Caval rolled the beams for a NTR

Lee Bektash ripped down a track record 7.10 @ 12 over Polito’s 7.28 @ 186 MPH

Andrew Stavroulakis in the Con Sideris Dodge wasn’t far off the pace with his own 7.16 @ 184 MPH a best for the car while defeating Kolaroff’s 7.39 @ 187 MPH

Bill Perdikaris rounded off eliminations with 7.25 @ 190 MPH win over Ian Brown

Points were awarded on qualifying position, wins along with speed and ET points.

When the sums were completed it was determined Lee Bektash was winner over Andrew Stavroulakis.

“It’s great to be a part of an event like this. I believe that all concerned are taking the right steps to try and get Drag Racing back in Victoria and in saying that, we can only expect bigger and better things to come,” commented Bektash

“On the win, it’s been a long time coming. We have worked extremely hard for this and to be able to do it in-front of a home town crowd is even more satisfying.”

The Pro Stock Owners Association were equally happy with a return to racing in the southern state.

“I’m extremely pleased to hear that the event was a success. I had no reason to think that this wasn’t going to be the case when we first agreed that 10 cars were going to contest the event. Melbourne is home to some of Australia’s most avid Drag Racing fans and to be able to give them a good show is of benefit to all concerned,” said Paul Porter, PSOA President.


There was some exhibition nitro action as well.

Darren DiFilippo made two half track passes in his Fueller to a rapturous response from the crowd.

Peter Russo has not turned a wheel in Australia for a decade in his Nitro Funnycar and chose this event to mark a comeback. Running the older body until to find his groove again he ran a picture perfect half pass, there was something special seeing a Nitro Funnycar back running at Calder Park.

There was also a jet van in attendance, the RX7 Jet car that was also there had starting troubles.

Go to the next page for the sportsman wrap


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