EVENT COVERAGE – ANDRA Grand Finals qualifying

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John Zappia is a nine-time ANDRA Top Doorslammer champion following the completion of qualifying for the ANDRA Championship Grand Final in front of a huge 9000 strong crowd at Adelaide International Raceway.

The West Aussie’s ninth title in a row came on a new 1000ft track record of 4.839 at 227.49 mph to top qualify and ensure he is mathematically out of reach. Zappia is just a whisker away from the 1000ft Top Doorslammer National Record of 4.81 seconds and could surpass that mark when Melbourne Sports Med & Anti Ageing Top Doorslammer gets underway on Sunday.

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“We ran a 4.83 (in the first qualifier) and a 4.84 in our third, the last time I was here we ran a 4.88,” said Zappia.

“The National Record is a 4.81 and we’ve run 4.79 at quarter mile tracks so we know we’re not far off. We tried for it on the second run and I hung on through tyre shake a bit too long. On the third we backed it off and it went through.

“No (there won’t be any celebrations yet), we’ll get the meeting over and done with and we’ll celebrate later.

“But nine Championships is fantastic. The Fuchs Monaro has been great and thanks to all the sponsors that have supported us down the years, it’s paid off.

“We’re wrapped with the crowd. A qualifying crowd, I don’t think you need three round formats to get a crowd – that ain’t gonna fix the sport. The sport is fine we just need to have the right attitude, all turn up at the same place at the same time and the sport will be fine.”

Grant O’Rourke also dipped under five seconds with a first round pass of 4.970 to secure second place on race day followed by Mark Belleri, Rob Taylor, Marty Dack, Scott Ferguson, Wayne Keys and Pat Carbone.


Chris Porter edged further ahead in the ANDRA Top Fuel Motorcycle Championship after qualifying first with his nearest rival Chris Matheson in fourth after a troubled day.

A first round 5.921 at 166.09 mph over the 1000ft distance was enough for Porter to secure the number one from Mark Drew with a 6.099 second pass and Rob Cassar in third on a 6.187. Matheson qualified fourth with a stuttering 6.974-second pass to set up a first round match up with Porter for the title.

“No pressure!” said Porter.

“I’m still worried about Chris, I think he’s getting pretty close (in the Championship).

“The crowd has been fantastic. The race meeting is going off. All in all we haven’t hurt any parts and I’ve got two guys that aren’t my crew – my son and a guy called Adam Leighton who just bought a fuel bike, I’m licensing him next week. He’s here to help because I don’t have my usual crew and we’re kicking a goal.”


In THR Developments Top Alcohol local South Aussie Gary Bucsh qualified first, his first ever in the bracket, with a 4.975 second pass over 1000ft at 203.48 mph after just two qualifiers. Busch was the only racer to go under five seconds in the four car field.

“We’re happy with how the car went, we’ve still got some clutch issues but we’re happy with the way it went,” said Busch.

“It’s the first time we top qualified in Top Alcohol, obviously we haven’t got the big heavy hitters here but everyone is pretty close and it’s a good field, it will bea good race.”

Jason Maggs qualified second with a 5.006 but detonated an engine punching a hole on either side as a result of a suspected oil pump seizure. Craig Russo qualified third with a 5.104 elapsed time and Brian Lockman is fourth on a 5.714.

The big Adelaide crowd was also treated to some exhibition VP Racing Fuels Top Fuel action with Darren Morgan and Wayne Newby splitting wins over two passes with a best of three decider slated for Sunday.

Newby took the first match race with a 4.209 at 256.52 mph from Morgan’s 4.521 at 108.08 mph. The second went Morgan’s way as he improved on a 4.119 second run at 275.79 mph from Newby running in 4.209 seconds at 265.52 mph.

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There are some intriguing Championship battles set to play out on the last day of the 2015/2016 ANDRA Championship Season with titles to be decided in all 10 of the 12 Sportsman brackets on show.

Championship contender Jim Ioannidis has fired the first shot at his rivals in ULX110 Custom Blend Oil Super Stock running under his C/MSA National Index by .527 seconds with a 9.902 second pass.

Les Heintz qualified second running .514 under his B/MP index with an 8.375 followed by Jamie Chaisty on a 9.259 to go .500 under his H/MSA index. Looking for his first Super Stock Championship, Kim Fardella qualified fourth with defending Champ Steve Norman in fifth.

Also in Group Two, Matt Lisle heads the Pro GTR Motorsport Super Compact field putting him in a virtually unassailable lead in the Super Compact Championship. Lisle went .128 under the AA/OM index with a 7.931 to lead from Mark Tischendorf in second. Andrew Dyson qualified third from Tony Grgich, Andrew Sanders and David Clark.

Looking to cap a huge season of travel by winning the Supercharged Outlaws title, the Territory’s Adam Murrihy top qualified in Zauch Transport Supercharged Outlaws with a 5.408 second pass over the 1000ft distance.

Shane Kramer qualified second while 2014 Champion Doina Day looked strong in her bid to reclaim the crown with a third placing. The third of the trio vying for the Championship, David Thornton, qualified in ninth position.


Darren Saliba wrapped up his sixth top qualifier in a row in Old Skool Speed Shop Top Sportsman with a 7.109 to keep his Championship rivals Jason Stares and Paul Russo at bay in second and third. Stuart McBain qualified seventh and Jason Arbery 11th.

Saliba is yet to convert a top qualifying position to an event win while Jason Stares and Paul Russo each have two wins this season. McBain and Arbery are both capable of springing a surprise despite their qualifying position making the Top Sportsman title anyone’s game.

Following on her from her Australian Nationals success, Jess Turner once again topped the Denso Spark Plugs Modified field posting a 7.156 elapsed time. Split by only hundredth of a second, Championship chasers Matt Forbes and Simon Barlow qualified in second and third respectively.

Other Championship hopefuls Kenny Stewart qualified fifth, Cory Dyson secured sixth, Craig Baker qualified ninth and Neil Dyson 12th ensuring the Championship will go down to the wire.

Greg Damiani set the standard in Pro Towing Super Sedan with an 8.550 second time to top qualify from Roc Puccini while a title chase involving five racers at all ends of the spectrum will play out Sunday.

Danny Bucella is the highest placed of the pack in eighth with Enio Marrocco in 20th, three-times defending Champ John Kapiris qualifyied 27th, George Tipouikidis 32nd and Graeme Cooper 39th.


Ballistic Performance Parts Modified Bike top qualifier goes to Greg Sparkes thanks to an 8.978 second pass in Q2 followed by Wally Hosta getting his Championship bid off to a great start to qualify second.

The two riders on the 300 points cap, Gavin Dohnt and Shane Walker, qualified in third and fourth to keep the pressure on while outside chances Gordon Crawford and Brian Moore qualified fifth and 13th.

Garth O’Hehir topped EPS Super Street qualifying with an 11.012 second time followed by Vince Cavallo close behind with an 11.013. The two racers battling it out for the Super Street Championship, Harry Harris and Kylie Tanner, find themselves in 36th and 40th position.

Summit Racing Equipment Junior Dragster top qualifying honours went to Kelly Donnelly giving her a boost in her bid for the Junior Dragster title with an 8.005 second pass. Fellow contenders Michael Naylor qualified second, Bradley Bishop fourth, Natalie Bishop sixth, Daniel Carranza ninth and Josh Baker 16th.

Australian Nationals Supercharged Outlaws winner Peter Datson topped Safe Site Traffic Solutions Super Gas with a 9.904 second time from perennial contender Matt Forbes in second place.

Forbes is searching for his third Super Gas Championship in four years but he has Graeme Spencer breathing down his neck after qualifying third. The other drivers alongside Forbes on 300 points, Colin Griffin and Darryl Stephen qualified fifth and 10th.

Eliminations for the Summit Racing Equipment Sportsman Series commence from 9am on Sunday April 10.

For more information please visit: www.adelaideraceway.com.au

For final qualifying results from the ANDRA Championship Grand Final please click here.


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