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At the recent ANDRA Grand Finals, held as part of the 52nd Westernationals at the Perth Motorplex across March 4 and 5, four new national records were set across the 1320ft distance:

• Michael Buckley – RR/SM – 6.892 seconds
• Michael Buckley – RR/SM – 201.01 miles per hour
• Troy Thompson – CC/AB – 186.03 miles per hour
• Steve Norman – A/MPA – 8.117 seconds

These three record-setting racers each also went all the way to the finals in their respective brackets at the event, with Buckley taking out the Competition victory while Norman and Thompson were the runners-up in the Super Stock and Competition Bike brackets respectively.

“My head is still spinning a bit; I certainly didn’t expect to win against Craig Geddes. I had to go for gold as such to get around Geddes, the record is a by-product of that,” Buckley explained.

“It felt great to get around him, by the time I was just about ready to go into third gear or coming out of third gear, he sort of just disappeared from my line of sight to the left of me and I sort of gave myself half a chance from there on. It was good.

“I was certainly gifted two solos into the final, but I will take that any day that I can. It was a really good final, a great race.

“100 percent it was unexpected, generally I am just there making up the numbers. The car performed first run off the trailer, which I was surprised about as I had changed quite a few things on the tune-up side of things.

“It went seven-one straight off at 196, where I thought it was going to run like a nine with the amount of change we had made. We had gone in there not knowing where it would be tune-up wise, and after the first run we just made a couple of tiny little changes to the tune-up and then didn’t touch it for the rest of the weekend.

“To win my first ANDRA Gold Christmas Tree is fantastic, totally unexpected, and with the two solos into the final I sort of went in with a clear head and no expectations – I knew the car was performing reasonably well but usually when I am under the pump in a final like that I will do something stupid like red light or fall asleep on the tree, but I managed to fluke it, so that was good.

“Thank you to my crew, Lawrence, Sean, Dave, and to Todd Stacy – a massive thank you to him, and also my sponsors Last Man Standing, Johnex Explosives, Boardwalk Pools, Billet Inc and Haltech.”
For Troy Thompson, the record was well and truly intentional.

“Ever since I built the bike and knew we would fit in the CC Altered Bike bracket I have wanted both ends of the record,” Thompson said.

“We were chasing both ends, but we just couldn’t get the bike off the line to accelerate enough to get the ET, so we were just lucky enough to get the MPH. But both records is something I really want – we are half way there I guess now.

“I wish it had been faster, but it just wasn’t to be that weekend. I was getting blown around by the wind a bit, I am not exactly a small guy so the wind was affecting me a bit.

“We are over the moon to get the MPH, and my brother was the first one to give me a big hug and a smile and be excited – we both built the bike basically between the two of us with a bit of help from others, so it was definitely good for us to come out of the weekend with a record.

“When it came to the racing, we were lucky enough to get a solo in the first round because the competitor couldn’t make it out – I was kind of upset about that because I love to race. Getting a solo is great, but I prefer to earn my wins.

“So, we got that, and then in the second round we had a good friend in Rob Wasley and managed to get around him. Then in the third round we got a solo. We tried to hop the bike up to chase both ends, but we couldn’t get out of the hole quick enough to do that.

“In the final, that was my first time going to a Westernationals final, and I have always wanted a ANDRA Gold Christmas Tree. I think the pressure got to me a bit, and I red lit, then the wind pushed me out of the groove so I just backed off and rolled through. For my part of the final, that was a bit disappointing red lighting and then getting pushed out of the groove in the wind which made the bike spin up – we had given it a really spicey tune up to try and chase Daniel (Natalotto) down, who was really quick and consistent all weekend.

“Thank you first of all to my crew, my brother Hank, my two kids Jahzara and Deakin, and Chantelle. Thank you also to my sponsors Dicker’s Speed Shop, Adrenalin Performance, RBP, Atomic Hydrographics and Pace Motorsports.

“Thank you also to Ross Smith who does the motor – he has set many national records and has been bragging that it is the engine builder who gets credit for the MPH records, apparently the rider only deserves ET records!” he laughed.

For Norman, his record-setting and runner-up getting performance came less than two weeks after damaging his motor at the penultimate round of the championship, the Twilight Nationals.

“We did nothing as far as the points were concerned this year, but when I did the numbers we knew we had no show at the championship but if we could make it through to the final and set both ends of the record, we could get runner-up in the championship.

“That didn’t happen though, as even though I got runner-up for the event and the ET record, we didn’t set the MPH record as I didn’t want to hurt the record that much, so on a couple of the passes I had gotten off it.

“In the final, it was such a really good race and I knew I would have to give it the whole lot to get around Adrian, but I still didn’t have enough. Obviously I ran well and truly over the MPH in that run, but I couldn’t back it up as I had backed off the two passes before it.

“It is always a bit of a dilemma, but I would sooner have a good race and run it out the back door. I didn’t really want to go that fast with it but I thought I might have a chance to catch Adrian and win the meeting, if not the championship.

“It was an excellent meeting, the track was really good, the weather was perfect, and there was a fantastic crowd both nights as well.

“We were always going to go to the Westerns, but I hurt the engine in Mildura the fortnight before. So I definitely have to say a big thank you to Reg and Ryan Lee, as without them, we wouldn’t have been there – we didn’t have an engine, then 10 days later we did. It was definitely an outstanding effort by those guys, with so many hours going into it – they not only got it sorted, but it went fast when we got over here.”

To see the updated 1320ft records following the 2023 ANDRA Grand Finals, please click here or go to the ‘Series’ tab of the

ANDRA thanks the Perth Motorplex and all of its volunteers and sponsors for an outstanding race track and a well-run event.

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