GALLERY AND REPORT: 2019 Sportsman Thunder at Willowbank Raceway

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The second round of the 2019/2020 400 Thunder Sportsman Championship was held at Willowbank Raceway on October 5, 2019, bringing title chasers from several states as well as some pro testing.

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Super Comp (a mix of Comp and Super Stock, not to be confused with the 8.90 index class of the USA) went to Sam Kiprios’ tiny Starlet, knocking out a DD/GA 7.725 on an 8.07 record to defeat Jason Simpson’s very tough G/GA Capri, which was out of the gas early. Kiprios earlier ran a new personal best of 7.62 in the Toyota 2RZ-powered hatch.

Performance Bike (the new name for Competition Bike) was another Collin family benefit, with Chris Collin taking out father Ken, who top qualified earlier in the day. Chris’ B/AB run of 8.31 on an 8.29 record defeated an A/AB 8.63 on an 8.19 from Ken.

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After all the excitement of the Kenda Radial Riot one might have expected more Pro Radial teams at this event, but just seven teams appeared for racing. Tanya Thompson ran the quickest pass of the day with a 5.26 on the eighth mile and took home the win.

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Paul Doeblien took out Top Sportsman in a magnificent final, his .044-reacted 8.553 on an 8.55 dial in convincing Jason Stares to take the stripe with a 7.22 breakout on a 7.23 after a .030 reaction time.

Modified was a tough bracket with close racing all day, with the final decided by a Kellie Kidd red light, giving Phil Bellert’s dragster the win.

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Patrick Barron laid claim to Super Sedan, with a tight .022 and 9.742 on a 9.74 dial in putting Michael Milasiewicz on the trailer a round earlier than he would have liked.

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Gary Kittle took home the gold Christmas tree in Modified Bike with a snappy 9.241 on a 9.24 dial in, with Craig Banks paying the price for a sleepy .170 reaction time in the final.

Shaun Doeblien made it a family double by taking victory in Super Street against Josh Fletcher. This was another brilliant final, with a Fletcher getting the early jump .020 to .023. The pair were side by side at the stripe for a double breakout where Doeblien’s 10.543 on a 10.55 survived by just one thousandth over Fletcher’s 10.972 on a 10.98.

Junior Dragster went to Kyle Magner thanks to an 8.73 on an 8.69 in the final, eliminating Darci Everett for the trophy.

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There were plenty of tough performances among the pro teams testing. Steve Ham was running a new set up utilising a FuelTech system, and hit a 5.681 at 256.99mph, leaving the team very happy.


Jake Donnelly is continuing to refine his Pro Alcohol Funny Car. The stunning looking car recorded a much improved 5.60/230mph.

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While not figuring in the final results, one car that drew a lot of interest was Colin Lloyd’s Pontiac, now powered by a Toyota 1.5JZ with a centrifugal supercharger and mechanical injection. The unusual combination has plenty of potential for the future!

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We also have to give big ups to Chris Diggles, who reset the 28 year old C/MA record to a 10.02. Diggles featured in a recent issue of Drag News Magazine and its a great story, showing how a budget build can still chase records.

Check out the full gallery below thanks to Drag Photos, who have some great deals on right now for prints and high resolutions images. They have even more images of the event available.

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