Round 5 of the Summit Racing Equipment Sportsman Series presented by Mildura Rural City Council came to a close today with a trio of first time winners.
Enlisting the help of Champion Top Fuel Crew Chief Ben Patterson, hometown hero David Thornton secured his first ever ANDRA Christmas Tree trophy in The Race Shop Supercharged Outlaws defeating Northern Territory’s Adam Murrihy.
Murrihy ran quicker than his nominated dial in of 4.20 by just .002 seconds handing the win to a hard charging Thornton with a 4.668 second pass on a 4.66 dial in.
“Winning the first Christmas tree is awesome, said Thornton. “We came close two weeks ago in Portland, we just missed out and I thought that would be my only chance to win one but here we are, one in the bank.”
Thornton earlier defeated Mark Kuhn and Wayne Talbot on his way to the final.
Cory Dyson won his first ever Christmas tree in Mildura Plumbtec Modified beating the form man Matt Forbes who fouled at the start line.
Forbes’ red light proved fortuitous for Dyson who pushed his dragster quicker than his nominated dial in of 4.72 with a 4.701 second victory lap.
“It’s a very surreal feeling,” said Dyson. “All the thanks goes to the crew, they’ve done a hard job today. The track staff did really well (in the hot conditions) so it was a great day.
“I’d like to thank my sponsors Mobil1 and all the other people, they know who they are. Big thanks to the crew, the family and Mobil.”
Dyson eliminated two former Modified Champions in Craig Baker and Shane Wynd either side of a victory over Derek Wills and a solo pass in Round 3.
The spoils in LRT/VCT Refrigerated Transport Top Sportsman went to Jason Stares who picked up his very first ANDRA Christmas Tree against Paul Russo.
Stares crossed the line first in a close one with a 4.780 second pass on a 4.77 dial in from Russo’s 4.892 and 4.87 dial in.
“I can’t explain how it feels, it’s unbelievable,” said an emotional Stares. “So many years, Super Sedan, Top Sportsman all for this and finally we’ve done it.
“I’ve got to thank my uncle Bob, my father in law Michael, my wife and kids who usually come with us and great sponsors, we can’t do it without them. VPW, Pro Flow, Lucas Oil Sunoco race fuel, they make it so much easier.”
Stares defeated Julian Carafa and Phil Yfantidis to set up his winning run.
Coming off two wins from two this season, Craig Geddes was the man to beat in Mildura Gateway Tavern Super Comp but reigning Super Stock Champion Steve Norman had other ideas in a Patterson Racing versus Bob Book Enterprises showdown.
Norman reacted in .003 seconds at the start line to record a 5.092 second pass on a 5.24 index from Geddes who was pasted to the tree followed by a 4.665 elapsed time on a 4.95 index.
“All of the boys out here are tough, there’s no doubt about that but Craig is always up there,” said Norman.
“It was a good win in really trying conditions. All the crew and staff out here (at Mildura Sunset Strip), the volunteers, everybody has done an outstanding job. It’s been excellent.”
Norman had to do it the hard way first defeating Raymond Oxley before a tight win against Daniel Camilleri in the semi final.
Camilleri at least found some consolation resetting the DD/GA eighth-mile National Record for elapsed time and speed with a 4.853 ET and 143.20 mph. Runner up Geddes reset the E/D National Records for ET and speed with a 4.628 second pass and 146.58 mph.
Reigning three-time Champion John Kapiris added another trophy to his collection in Mildura Ice Works Super Sedan defeating fellow South Aussie Danny Bucella in the final. Kapiris recorded a 6.264 ET on a 6.24 dial in from a 5.697 break out ET on a 5.70 dial in.
Also in Super Sedan, Vlado Turic and his VT Racing Team were awarded the Gridstar by YBI Best Presented Award. They take home the Best Presented Trophy, six Best Presented Caps and a $50 Summit Racing Equipment voucher.
Shane Walker won his second consecutive event in Sunset Cycles Modified Bike following his recent win in Portland. Walker beat Bryan Finn to the stripe with a 7.087 ET on a 6.95 dial in from a 6.115 ET and 6.04 dial in.
Harry Harris picked up his third event win on the trot in Nickz Automotive Super Street defeating Garth O’Hehir with a 7.475 ET on a 7.41 dial in to a 7.079 ET with a 7.02 dial in.
Summit Racing Equipment Junior Dragster pitted brother versus sister when Bradley Bishop chalked one up against his big sister Natalie. The younger sibling crossed the line first with an 8.050 second pass on an 8.05 from an 8.119 ET on an 8.03 dial in.
No one was able to touch The Bulk Butcher Super Gas top qualifier Colin Griffin this weekend who made up for a final loss in Portland to take out the event win over Jeff Romeo. Griffin posted a 6.309 ET from a 6.318 second pass in the opposite lane.
For full results from the Summit Racing Equipment Sportsman Series presented by Mildura Rural City Council at Mildura Sunset Strip, please click here.
ANDRA would like to thank the Sunraysia Drag Racing Association for the tireless efforts of their volunteers and the Mildura Rural City Council for throwing their support behind the event.
The Summit Racing Equipment Sportsman Series next moves onto Calder Park Raceway for Round 6 on Saturday 27 December.
Final elimination results: