Duelling in the Desert – Supercharge Batteries Desert Nationals wrap

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The expanded Aeroflow Sportsman Championship took to the Red Centre for the first time with Alice Springs International Dragway hosting round seven of the series.


Over 80 racers from all over the country made the trek into the desert chasing valuable series points in the hope to reach the 300 point series maximum or block others from it.

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Group Two had to combine Super Stock and Competition into Super Comp due to numbers and was the only index based eliminator to be run. Racing over eighth mile Mario Barbon was the only car during qualifying to run under the index in his D/G VL with a 5.50 (-.093) earning a round one bye.

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Wayne Cartledge the highest point scorer in attendance had a round one scare against Territorian Mark Probst’s Top Alky altered, it was only the B/DA’s drivers better reaction that saved him from a early exit. Wayne Keys had a nightmare of traction problems during qualifying but had the Monaro hooked up in round one against Daniel Hodgin’s AA/FC only to have a .001 dumped on him by the funny car putting the West Aussie on the trailer.

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Cartledge had a easy bye into the final except for a monster wheelstand while Barbon went under the index over Hodgins.



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Barbon and Cartledge left nothing on the table in the final, both left with .08 reactions, Cartledge’s -.074 under 4.69 nipping the VL’s 5.48 (-.045). The result takes both racers over their 300 series point maximums.

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Supercharged Outlaws had all travelers looking for points to catch Luke Marsden who was also there in a blocking role. Darryl Walfords Thunderbird funny car ousted current national champ Matty Watts in round one. Paul Stephen put his altered through over Grant Frasers cherry picking dragster, Marsden finished Shaun Kerkman and Chris Vanthof placed the Corvette into the semi’s defeating Shane Kramer.

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Marsden won a battle of the funny cars against Walford in the first semi , Vanthof red lit away his chances of facing his team mate in the final against Stephen.

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There is some rivalry between finalist Stephen and Marsden following a washed out Winternationals championship deciding final a couple of years ago.Stephen pushed to hard here though breaking out against Marsden who successfully limited as much collateral points damage as possible with no other racer yet to reach the maximum.

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Leanne Braggs traveled from Victoria looking to eat into championship leader Craig Bakers points leads. The altered racer kicked off to a good start with a win over a breaking out Darren Piddington and moved into the final with a solo. She would face Chris Zauch’s hot rod after he defeated Andrew Armistead and Kristy Cunningham en-route to the final.

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The final was over at the tree, Zauch punching a -.033 red light and Braggs moving to 270 championship points.

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Super Sedan started off with a race within a race during qualifying, a very generous sponsor putting up $10000 for an eight car shoot out with combatants drawn randomly from a hat. The final was a clash between a pair of Torana’s with the $7000 prize going to Neville Beyer after Joe Ridenti illuminated that red bulb but still claimed a cool $3000. Ridenti would reach the semi finals during eliminations proper before being sidelined by Colin Farrell’s Gemini. The other semi final saw Super Gas regular Colin Griffin stop John Kapiris.

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Like the shootout the final also was determined on a red light, Griffin going red therefore awarding the win to fellow Mexican Farrell.

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Gavin Dohnt is really on a tear in Modifed Bike with a couple of Christmas Trees in the cabinet already in a short competition career. Dohnt was unstoppable again in the desert claiming the victory over Tasmaniac Shane Walker with another tight package .013 RT 6.356 (6.35) and is a chance for the John Storm Memorial with Marsden and Geddes the other contenders.

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Kylie Tanner is looking to go one step better in the Super Street championship this season after missing it by a bee’s whatsit last season. Tanner snapped up the Super Street event win over Rodney Kerr in yet another final decided by a red light. The championship though is still open slather with no racer yet to take any major points advantage.

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Junior Dragster has solid representation from most states, Luke Cartledge was looking to avenge the rained out Winternationals final but the red light disease struck again handing off the win to Queenslander Hayley Mackay. Toby Austin who Cartledge defeated in the semi final was playing blocker this event is still the only racer over the maximum in the championship.

Next round of the Aeroflow Sportsman Champion will be held at Benaraby Raceway July 20-21


Photos By Dave Murray (T.A.D Photography)



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