The 2014 NT Titles presented by 7Mate was a high for some but a sad weekend for others, with a mixture of personal bests and unfortunate crashes splattered across the two nights of racing at Hidden Valley Drag Strip.
Friday night saw the running of the annual NT Titles burnout competition where Matthew Harding took out first place in his black VX Commodore, only 4 points clear of second place Sam Locke. The pint sized V8 Datsun of Greg Reed rounded out the podium finishers after showing solid crowd appeal.
Friday also saw the return of Butch Morrison in his supercharged XP Falcon but he came to grief near the finish line after a transmission leak caused his car to turn left and impact with the wall. Morrison walked away uninjured and with a mad dash overnight he was able to return to racing on Saturday. He unfortunately failed to fire, only recording a single win in round one on a bye.
Dwight Brieffies suffered a similar incident on Saturday when his Fairlane colliding with the wall at the 330ft mark after reportedly breaking an axle. Brieffies also walked away but the car suffered substantial damage.
Todd Knight repeated his first round victory against the supercharged altered of Adam Murrihy in the Outlaw class finals with 7.132 second pass on a 7.12 dialin. Murrihy was off his usual performance, rolling through for a 7.036 on a 6.8 dialin. The Outlaw class is definitely heating up with the majority of the field now running into the high 6 seconds. Craig Davis also joined the 200mph club, running a 7.609 at 204.54mph during Friday’s qualifying sessions.
Darcy Muller and Bob Czerniawski made it two from two after they both took out their second win of the season in their respective brackets. Muller defeated Aidan Abel in the Toyworld Junior Dragster bracket after Abel broke out, while Bob Czerniawski took a holeshot win against Gary Baker, winning by only 0.003 seconds in Street Car.
In Top Sportsman, Alice Springs based Andrew Armistead failed to defend his NT Titles crown. Instead it was an all Darwin affair with Grant Radcliffe taking out the win with a slowing 10.452 second pass on an 8.7 dialin after Brad Hagen failed to accept the tree. This was a great step up for Radcliffe who finished second in the 2013 NT Titles.
It was a fitting farewell for Daniel Foreman who took out the win in his last ever pass at Hidden Valley. Foreman’s 0.007sec reaction and 9.94 second pass on a 9.89 dialin was enough to hold off rookie Ashley Smith who ran through with a 9.402 on a 9.35 dialin. Foreman is moving to Queensland due to work commitments in coming weeks.
Modified Bike was a complete shake up with current series leader, Clive Mainland breaking his motor early in the night, leaving the flood gates open for Brandt McGlade to go through to the finals against Dale Smith. Smith unfortunately handed the win away after he red lit, allowing McGlade to take out first place with a 10.062 on a 9.7 dialin.
Super Street saw a first time podium finish for rookie Paul Cook defeating Tim Bryan who broke out with an 11.099 on an 11.1 dialin. Cook ran through with a solid 11.402 on an 11.35 dialin.
After five of the 12 Street Bike competitors all ran too fast in round one, it was going to be a battle to see get a handle on their new personal bests and it was the skill and experience of Mark Tattingham who emerged victorious against David Doolan, running a 10.747 on a 10.6 dialin against Doolan’s 14.638.
In the Exhibition class a number of stout runs were achieved with Scott Maclean running a 5.688 second pass at 252.57mph on Friday night. He later bettered his speed on Saturday with a 254.42mph pass, only 0.1mph slower than the current track record.
Matt Abel also ran extremely consistently with two 6.0sec passes followed by a 5.917 at 244.60mph in his Top Doorslammer while young Nathan Coles rattled off a 6.646 at 166.97mph in his Funny Car while licensing.
Beat the Heat Off Street racing returns on Friday 30 May with the national ANDRA Drag Racing Series featuring Top Alcohol, Top Fuel Motorcycle and Top Doorslammer on 11-12 July.
Photos supplied by Jeremy Horvath, Ed Forman and Mike ONeill – www.highrpm.com.au