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In the penultimate round of Perth Motorplex’s local nitro series, Nitro Max, there was some international influence with NHRA star Tommy Johnson Jr in the house running the Speed Torque funny car. Te event also hosted the final round of the local Top Doorslammer and Top Fuel Motorcycle Summer Slam Series.

TJ Jr created plenty of buzz around the venue driving Rory Taylor’s Nitro Thunder Trans Am, unfortunately on track the car didn’t reach its potential during the night, but TJ’s presence was still a hit with the fans and racers.

The fuel altered battle between Shannon Taylor and James Kemp was the highlight of round one with side by side fives, 5.70 to 5.73. But fuel altereds do what fuel altereds do and Kemp gave the wall a solid slap on the way to his personal best, it produced a spectacular spark show into the braking area as he wrangled the altered to a stop to not go into the sand. Unfortunately this left Kemp out for the rest of the event.

Beach Bomb steered by Andrew Katavatis kicked off round two with a sensational 5.52 defeating TJ Jr and Taylor was also on song again with a 5.61 win against George Separovic nitro FED.

The final was as good as it gets, Katavatis driving around Taylor’s holeshot 5.68 with a 5.49 to steal the win.

John Zappia wrapped up the Top Doorslammer Summer Slam title, but not exactly in style. The starter-motor died on the qualifying run and in the haste to make the start line thing went awry.

“We were rushing around to swap batteries and the starter motor and then I was so flustered about getting into stage that I got on the two-step without realising that Jaydee Dack in the other lane hadn’t even gone into stage yet. I was out of my routine and panicking, but the main thing was that we qualified,” said Zappia.

Maurice Brennan stuck the Commodore on poll with a 5.89 showing the team are really getting back on top of the tune up. Brennan improved on that with a 5.807 in the first round, but the competition still proved too tough for that run to be good enough for the final. Zappia clocked a 5.72 and Gregorini a 5.68 in their wins and would face off in the A Final.

Brennan defeated Jaydee Dack in the B-Final with a consistent showing 5.82. The A Final was ugly with Zappia still managing to win over Gregorini after a mid track backfire silenced Zap’s Rat early.

“We were going nice and straight with strong increments and then — boom! The car backfired the supercharger with a big flame and I was coasting. I kept waiting to see Daniel’s Camaro fly past but he had shut off after the shake, and so our 6.285 took an unlikely win,” said Zappia.

Benny Stevens wrapped up the local Top Fuel Motorcycle series with a wild final when he banged the wall on his nitro Harley handing the win to team mate Aaron Deery as he rode over the centreline moments later.

“The big girl took off strong and I believe was on a solid number. The bike veered right, I had ripped her back in line then just before half track went hard right again, smashing the wall hard,” said Stevens.

“It put a crack in my carbon fibre leg, and when that happens, it’s usually a hard hit. Deery crossed the centreline right after me, but as I did it first it handed the win to him.

“Not how finals laps should be run, but hey, sometimes these things happen – we are in Top Fuel Motorcycle.”

Connor McClure kept the roll going in Top Comp with a victory over Nigel Johnson in the A Final. McClure had the Slime Time 3 Torana on-point with a 6.420 against a 6.58 index in the final holding off a flying 5.62 on a 5.57 index from the Top Alcohol Dragster.

Daniel Natalotto didn’t top qualify in Competition Bike for a change, the honour went to Michael Holister who sent his BB/AB ZX14 to a 7.42 well under the 8.10 index. Natalotto finished the night holding the winner’s trophy however out-running Rebecca Archer in the final.

In Supercharged Outlaws Peter Appleby nabbed the win over the usual all-conquering Kasey McClure after she broke out by a mere 5-thou in final. Alby Bakranich had his easiest win in Top Sportman of the season with a solo when Roger Moorhouse unfortunately could not take the light. The Torana of Nathan Jehu did the duty and won Outlaw Radial over Brian Hicks with a 7.50 to 8.16 race. In Modified Michelle Morrison put her pink altered in the winner’s circle assisted by a red lighting Darren Griffin in the final. Another Super Sedan win went to Glenn Sterkenburg and his purple VR Ute, upsetting Martin Mirco’s Camaro in a double breakout final. Fresh off a win at the Westernationals Paul Nieuwhof kept the streak going with another win in Modified Bike after Paul Seaton plucked a cherry in the final. Steph Gullotto raced to her second Super Street win of the season running smack on her 10.06 dial in with a 10.062 to barely take down Cindy Thompson’s 10.634 on a 10.63. Finally Blake Taylor ran away with the Junior Dragster final putting away Tahlia Martin in the final.


It was a rough event for a few competitors. Yvette Gregg’s wheelstands have been a staple sight at the Perth Motorplex for sometime, sadly the nitrous XE misbehaved on this day and met the wall with heavy contact, hopefully the nitrous XE can be rebuilt quickly and we can return to normal programming of seeing Gregg up on the bumper once again.

Madison Brown experienced the highs and lows of drag racing in quick succession. After winning the B-Final in Top Comp with a 6.37 PB in her Boston Strangler 3 funny car, her chutes became tangled in the wheelie bar sending her into the sand trap catch net at 4.5Gs. Brown spend a day in hospital in a neck brace and after a battery of test was given the all-clear, the car would be repaired and ready for the season ending event in a month’s time.

Kasey McClure doubled up with now back to back Perth Track Championships in Supercharged Outlaws, the first female to achieve that feat at the venue. McClure just 19-years-old McClure wrapped up the title with still one event to go adding to and amazing tally that includes three straight Goldenstates Championship wins and two straight Westernationals!

Thanks to Phil Reeve for the gallery from the event.

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