The 52nd annual Gulf Western Oil Winternationals are underway at Willowbank Raceway, with the nation’s best sportsman drag racers taking advantage of near ideal conditions on opening day.
Nowhere more was this seen than in the Super Stock class, with six teams running underneath their national records in the day’s single qualifying session.
Jason Payne’s turbocharged Nissan Skyline scorched to a 7.188, over a tenth of a second underneath the 7.30 national record for the DD/APIA class. But he was hotly trailed by Steve Sloan (-0.086 in CC/OM), Clint George (-0.062 in B/APA), Omar Sedmak (-0.056 in A/APA), Jason Simpson (-0.033 in G/GA) and Craig Urquhart (-0.015 in B/GA).
The quickest run of the day overall was carded by New South Wales’ Greg Tsakiridis, whose 5.678 at 255.53mph (411.22kph) leads the Pro Extreme class.
The diversity of the category was on show with Collin Willshire’s four cylinder Mitsubishi Eclipse hitting a 6.341, while Archie Kajewski’s screaming rotary-powered Mazda 6 got down the strip in 6.438 seconds.
The eighth mile exploits of Pro Radial saw James Horan guide his wild mini truck to a pedalling 4.424/169.15mph for the early number one position, while Shaun Soboll leads Extreme Bike following a 7.337 second run on his Suzuki Hayabusa.
The remainder of the official 400 Thunder sportsman championship classes delivered some seriously quick runs also, with many racers taking advantage of Mother Nature’s kindness.
In Competition, Tony Bellert went two hundredths of a second underneath the national record in his A/DA-classed dragster with a 6.770 run, keeping Gulf Western Oil Nitro Thunder runner up Rolinia Tremayne in second place with her 7.078, only just off her recently set 6.99 B/DA national record.
Craig Edwards was doing double duty in Competition Bike and Extreme Bike, with the former treating him well as he ran a 7.258 aboard his CC/CBI for the early lead, almost two tenths of a second underneath the 7.44 national record in a crushing pass.
Supercharged Outlaws initially looked like it was going Peter Gratz’s way with a 6.291 pass, but a disqualification for leaving the parachute pins in during the burnout saw Matthew McKnight’s 6.357 instead elevated to the number one sport.
Queensland’s Simon Isherwood leads the massive Top Sportsman field following a 7.013, but has Darren Saliba hot on his heels with a 7.089.
Jess Turner’s tow up from Victoria has been rewarding so far, taking her nitrous-assisted dragster to a 6.889 to take number one so far in Modified, while Patrick Barron’s 8.530 currently commands Super Sedan.
Michael Beaton hot footed to an 8.308 in Modified Bike, with Super Street’s honours currently resting with Brett Ogden on a 10.055 after two qualifying sessions.
Vince Panetta went 9.911 in the pursuit of the Super Gas 9.90 index and Ricki-Lee Dransfield is going to be tough to knock from number one in Junior Dragster with her 8.009.
Sportsman qualifying will wrap up today before the pros, including the Top Fuel dragsters and Pro Slammers, commence their first qualifying session from 3pm.