GALLERY AND REPORT: 2019 Nitro Night at Perth Motorplex

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Nitro Night was one of the more dramatic events this season at Perth Motorplex, but while a single spectacular race dominated the headlines the rest of the competition was second to none.

We’ve written about the Anthony Begley vs Matt Abel double banger earlier this week, but thankfully the rest of the event’s nitro racing was somewhat more subdued, highlighted by the arrival of two new nitro drivers.

Kyle Putland and Tracey de Jager both begun their licensing, adapting quickly to the high horsepower world of nitro. Putland impressed with a quick 5.88sec. on his final run for the night, leaving his team with plenty of confidence. Putland is running the ex-Michael Brooks ‘Nitro Madness’ Camaro (video below).

“At the start of the week the car was nothing but a bare chassis, but with help from a lot of people we got the car out there,” Putland said.

De Jager has put a nitro motor in the Ford Crown Victoria formerly owned by Russell Mills and was ecstatic to hit the track in a car that has been rebranded ‘Nitro Nan’.

“The second of February goes down in my history book as the most scary, exciting, stomach churning and emotional day in my drag racing so far,” she said. 

The Northern Territory’s Adam Murrihy defeated local favourite Andrew Katavatis out of the remaining Funny Cars, with a 5.86sec. run in the final driving Rory Taylor’s Nitro Thunder car. Katavatis overcame an electrical problem the team had been chasing but with more power on board they didn’t have enough runs to adjust their tune up.

Trent Morrison scored victory in Top Comp, defeating Sam Treasure in the final round. Morrison was able to overcome an average performance in qualifying.

“This was our second event back for the year after making some changes to the car in the off season,” he said.

“We broke a supercharger belt in the compulsory qualifying round which placed us in the bottom half of the field, costing us lane choice in the first round. But we’ve made the final for two events in a row now and walked away with the win on Saturday night.

“There is still more power left in the engine and with a bit more fine tuning we should see some quicker times.”

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Modified saw a first time winner with Cory Treasure defeating Neil Gannaway in the final when Gannaway was unable to fire his motor for the decider.

Treasure is new to racing this season but follows in the footsteps of cousin Sam who races in Top Comp and uncle Ray who manages drag racing at Perth Motorplex.

“I was speechless to take a win,” Cory said. “Over the last two years my Dad and I were building the car we were talking mainly about time and speed goals. “The car has a lot of history, dating back to Ravenswood Raceway. I was going to build a Super Sedan but I was was guided into Modified and I’m stoked with how the car turned out. It’s so fun to drive.”

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Kyle Higgins racked his second ever win in Super Sedan, defeating Nick Panagopoulos in the final. Higgins said he battled the strong wind during the day to find consistency. “I guess a bit of luck finally came my way this weekend,” he said.

“We had a bit of a hiccup in the first round of qualifying with the car not performing how it usually does, losing power half way down the track, but apart from that the day was smooth sailing.”

Higgins’ win was made all the sweeter with a perfect .000 reaction time in the final!

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In other results, John Zappia claimed the win in the Summer Slam, getting by Daniel Gregorini in the final with a 5.70sec. pass. The final was controversial with Gregorini getting a red light before moving, but the result was upheld at a tribunal.

Times proved exceptional for the whole Summer Slam field, with Gregorini running a new personal best of 5.78sec. during the event while Stu Moresby broke through for his first ‘five’ with a 5.99sec. clocking in the Dananni Hotshots Studebaker.

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Errol Quartermaine defeated Nicholas Puglia in Super Comp, while Phill Paton took out Graeme Goldsworthy in Competition Bike. Jodie Mellitt and Alan Mahkoph again went toe to toe in the Supercharged Outlaws final, with Mellitt emerging victorious, while Chris Roe (above) went to his fifth straight final round and won in Top Sportsman against Alby Bakranich. Chris Moore rode to the Modified Bike win against Budgie Jones and Paul Garbellini took advantage of a red light from Graham Smith to take home the Super Street winner’s trophy.

Drag racing returns to Perth Motorplex on February 16 for Round Six of the WA Drag Racing Championships.

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