The Night of Fire at Perth Motorplex threw a couple of jet dragsters into the mix of local championship brackets on Saturday, February 1, 2020.
The fourth round of the WA Summer Slam Series saw a heart-stopping finish as veteran racer John Zappia’s parachutes failed at over 400kmh.
Zappia was competing in a strange final round against Daniel Gregorini which was to see the winner decided using two solo runs, after one lane of the track was oiled by a previous run. Zappia was first out on track but the incident resulted in the meeting being called due to the noise curfew and the final round was left ultimately undecided.
The Summer Slam was surprisingly tough with the top five cars qualified in the five second zone. Zappia positioned himself strongly early with a 5.64, following by Daniel Gregorini’s 5.70, Steve Aldridge’s 5.90, Marty Dack’s 5.96 and Mark Chapman’s 5.98. Stuart Moresby’s repaired Studebaker was only just outside the fives with a 6.02.
Racing did not see the pace ease up. Steve Aldridge won over a power standing Matt Abel, though he did not receive an elapsed time. Chapman used another 5.98 to defeat Stuart Moresby’s 6.21, Gregorini clocked a 5.68 to outrun Kelvin Lyle’s 5.80, Pino Priolo soloed to a 6.50 when Dack had problems, while Zappia went 5.63 to get by a red lighting Ryan Moresby.
In the B Final, Chapman demolished a diff, oiling the track and causing the delays that would eventually result in the two-solo final.
The two jet cars present on the night were Pieter De Wit in Iron Horse and Ian Wood’s Banshee. Unfortunately they were not paired up as Wood was still in his licensing stages. De Wit clocked the quickest time for the night, a 5.97/262mph. The Night of Fire has been a successful event for the Motorplex in the past, so we hope to see it get back to its former glory in future seasons, perhaps with some more jet cars and wheelstanders brought in to fill out the show.
The Nitro Bike class saw Greg Durack run a new personal best time of 6.77sec. aboard his turbocharged Kawasaki, defeating Les Holden in the final round.
Other winners for the night included Russell Ladbrook (Top Comp), Jake Chaisty (Super Comp), Justin Townson (Competition Bike), Jodie Mellitt (Supercharged Outlaws), Alby Bakranich (Top Sportsman), Kevin Boulton (Outlaw Radial), Nicholas Wroe (Modified), Mick Fenton (Super Sedan), Ian Read (Modified Bike), Joel Trotman (Super Street) and Brodie Zappia (Junior Dragster).
Drag racing returns to Perth Motorplex on February 15 with the WA Super Sportsman Showdown.