EVENT COVERAGE – Sunny South Coast Raceway shines again – qualifying report

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South Coast Raceway is a favourite among Summit Racing Equipment Sportsman Series racers around the country and it lived up to its reputation as a first class eighth-mile drag strip during qualifying under sunny, blue skies.

The Portland track could see at least two additional eighth-mile National Records added to it’s growing list of achievements as Jim Ioannidis and Jamie Chaisty engaged in a Bullet Cylinder Heads Super Comp shootout to decide the number one qualifier.

South Australia’s Ioannidis, top qualifier at South Coast Raceway in November, pinched pole position from Chaisty by two thousandths of a second in his third and final qualifier going .336 seconds under his National B/MSA index with a 5.843 elapsed time.

Ioannidis said he had to overcome some earlier issues but with the help of his crew the team recovered to make the third and final run really count.

“We just made a few changes to the car and struggled in the first two qualifiers, we’ve got new tyres on it,” said Ioannidis.

“We tamed the car down and put down a reasonable number and just got Chaisty by two thousandths. All credit to my crew, they don’t give up, they keep pushing me and roll on tomorrow.


“The Chaisty name is synonymous in Super Stock and it would be nice to have two MS cars in the final. We’ll see what happens on race day.”

Son of former Super Stock champion Geoff Chaisty and brother of 2014 Super Stock Champion Jake, the younger Chaisty was racing for the very first time outside of Perth and on an eighth-mile track.

“We wanted to get number one but two will do,” said Chaisty. “We were considering whether to go faster on the last run and we thought stuff it we’ll go fast, but we didn’t go fast. We’re still trying figure out why that is.

“The eighth-mile is different, it’s over a bit a quicker and you still get that adrenaline rush but just trying to pull up (to stop) is a little bit harder.”

When asked if his brother Jake had given him any advice on racing the shorter distance the answer was a good natured but resounding no. Even so, Chaisty has taken well to South Coast Raceway with his 5.895-second pass, .334 under his H/MSA index to have a shot of resetting the National H/MSA record previously set by his brother.

Elsewhere in Super Comp, Daniel Camilleri qualified third from Craig Geddes, Kim Fardella, Shane Baxter and Mark Newman.

Adam Murrihy’s tour of the nation continued successfully in Timic Hot Rod Supplies Supercharged Outlaws following his first ever Summit Racing Equipment Sportsman Series victory in Melbourne last month.

He secured top spot by a long way with a 4.185 second ET at 166.08 mph from Ryan Van Dyk with a 4.503 ET and Mildura winner David Thornton in third. Wayne Talbot struggled off the line all day but despite spinning the tyres still managed a four second pass to take fourth. Previous Portland winner Jason Keily took fifth and Paz Kelly qualified sixth.

Darren Saliba wrapped up his second top qualifier in a row following the Rowe Memorial Super Stock Classic in Melbourne last month leading Advanced Engine Reconditioning Top Sportsman with a 4.602 second pass at 142.53 mph.

Winner of the past two events Jason Stares secured second from Paul Russo, the ever-consistent Stuart McBain, Paul Partridge and bracket sponsor Graham Hargrave rounding out the top six of the 10 car field.


Jess Turner will be the one to beat in Victorian Drag Racers Club Modified on Sunday after she produced a 4.562 ET at 147.27 mph to take pole position and set up a solo first round.

That run was good enough to keep the in form Matt Forbes at bay in second position from Simon Barlow, Leanne Braggs, Kenny Stewart and Queenslander Katie Cunningham sixth out of 17.

Vlado Turic leads a long list of Quickfuel Technology Super Sedan racers into race day with his 5.440 ET at 125.62 mph. Top qualifier at Warwick Dragway in November, Kaylene Gourley, is second just two hundredths behind with Glenn Henley third, Chris Theo, Danny Bucella and Ned Karanovic who occupies sixth of a 26 car field.

Nathan Stone qualified first of the two-wheeled warriors in Modified Bike thanks to a 5.531 ET at 121.31 mph in the third and final session. That relegated Greg Sparks back to second with Edgell Mallis third, Ron Adams fourth, points leader Shane Walker fifth and Peter Strudwick sixth. In total 18 bikes will race for glory come Sunday.


In Super Street, one of the stories of the weekend so far is Paul Garbellini who drove his car off the track in Perth following a semi final loss at a local meet last weekend and virtually kept going in the very same vehicle across the Nullabor until he reached Portland to compete in the Summit Racing Equipment Sportsman Series.

Garbellini arrived late Friday afternoon then drove his Holden SSZ to the number one qualifying position with a 7.008 ET at 96.50 mph. Neville Hereen qualified second followed by Joseph Martino, Simon Lazzaro, Tony Barbara and Chris Logan completing the top six of 22 cars.

Another West Aussie, Michael Naylor, qualified first in Summit Racing Equipment Junior Dragster with an 8.022 ET at 81.22 mph from Queenslander Garth Spooner close by with an 8.026 ET.

Winner in Mildura, Bradley Bishop, qualified third from previous Portland victor Kelly Donnelly, Bradley’s sister Natalie Bishop in fourth and Jordan Spencer sixth out of 15 competitors.

That man again, Matt Forbes – a two-time Super Gas Champion and dual Modified/Super Gas winner at both South Coast Raceway in November and Calder Park last month – secured first place in Super Gas with a 6.300 ET at 127.60 mph.

Colin Griffin was not far behind with a 6.307 ET in second place from Warren Smith, Anthony Panetta, current two-time Champion Graeme Spencer, Michael DeRose, Warren Bull, Darryl Stephen and Johnny Ienco.

Eliminations for Round 7 of the Summit Racing Equipment Sportsman Series will commence from 10am on Sunday January 17 at South Coast Raceway in Portland Victoria.


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