Judd back in championship race

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Perth drag racer, Robin Judd fell just two-hundredths of a second shy of winning last weekend’s (March 3-4) 41st annual Westernationals and taking the Australian Top Doorslammer championship lead at Perth Motorplex, Kwinana Beach.

Judd needed and got a good result at the Westernationals, West Australia’s largest and prestigious drag racing event, to get back get back into the (Australian National Drag Racing Association) ANDRA Top Doorslammer championship series race. 

With the Westernationals carrying 50 percent bonus points to entice interstate teams to travel to Perth for ANDRA Pro Series championship rounds, Judd took the maximum 12 qualifying points when he top qualified and then earned the maximum 15 bonus points on offer after recording the Top Doorslammer quickest elapse time and fastest speed of the event.

Judd was not in the eight-car field after the first qualifying session, but moved to the top of the qualifying list with a 5.861-second at 250.00mph (402.33km/h), a new Top Doorslammer track speed record, in the second session.

“The car shook pretty hard about 50 metres out from the start line and moved sideways towards the (safety) wall then back across the centre line in that first session. When we got back to the pits, we discovered a crack in the diff housing, which had to be repaired before the next session.

“My crew thrashed really hard to get our Aeroflow/William Buck Studebaker back for the second session. We made it (the session) with not much time to spare,” Judd said.    

Unable to improve on his second-session time in the third qualifying session (6.062/245.90), Judd (5.861/250.00) remained the top qualifier after the third session, ahead of arch-rivals John Zappia (5.866/245.90) and Peter Kapiris (5.867/241.28).

However, the Top Qualifier position came at a cost with car damage needing to be repaired over night prior to eliminations.

“The car had pretty bad tyre shake in qualifier three, causing breaks and cracks in the chassis and rear wing and mounts. The crack in the diff housing also opened up again.

“The (crew) guys worked really hard over night to make sure the car was right to race in eliminations. (Group Two racer) Wayne Keys’ welding skills were invaluable and I would like to thank him for his help,” Judd said. 

Looking to capitalise on his qualifying points and keep his championship chances alive, Judd deposed of Gary Phillips in round one of eliminations, which saw both competitors over-power the track.

Judd (5.922/247.25) then made the final, defeating Mark Belleri (6.035/230.17) in the semi-final.

In the final a slower starting Judd (5.878/249.30) just lost to Zappia (5.866/245.90) in the fourth quickest and fastest side-by-side Top Doorslammer pass recorded in Australia.

Going into the Westernationals, Judd was in third place in the championship with 187.5 points, 92 points behind then championship leader Kapiris (279.5pts). Zappia was in second place with 209.5pts.

While still in third place on the championship table with 334.5pts, Judd is now 33.5pts behind championship leader Zappia (370pts) and only 14pts behind Kapiris (348.5) with three events still to run.

“We really needed the Westernationals to be our championship game-breaker. The Aeroflow/William Buck team worked hard and did a fantastic job all weekend and while we are disappointed we did not win the event, we were able to bank a swag of points to be back in the championship hunt, which is what we set out to do,” Judd said.

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