Local racers dominate Queensland Summit round

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Dieter Herrmann

Local racers have dominated at Willowbank Raceway’s round of the national Summit Racing Equipment Sportsman Series on Saturday 11 April, with all but two of the final contenders hailing from the host state.

More than 180 racers came to the event from all over the country, including New South Wales, Victoria, South Australia, the Northern Territory, Tasmania and Queensland.

Taking victory this evening were Beenleigh’s Neil Maxwell (Top Sportsman), Palm Beach’s Chris Tait (Super Comp), Toowoomba’s Dale O’Dwyer (Super Gas), Redbank Plain’s Matthew McKnight (Supercharged Outlaws), Brassall’s Paul Doeblien (Super Sedan), Raceview’s Mark Allan (Modified), Marsden’s Bill Henry (Super Street), Rochedale’s Daryn Schuster (Competition Bike), Anstead’s Chris Collin (Modified Bike) and New Beith’s Eden Ward (Junior Dragster).

Claiming runners-up honours were New South Wales’ Steve Fowler (Top Sportsman), Kallangur’s David Gauldie (Super Gas), Cotswold Hill’s Rodney Hansen (Supercharged Outlaws), Crowley Vale’s Max Carpenter (Super Sedan), Laidley’s Kevin Morton (Modified), Burpengary’s Ben Dreyer (Super Street), Coombabah’s Blair Pennington (Competition Bike), Parkhurst’s Ace Edwards (Modified Bike) and New South Wales’ Toby Austin (Junior Dragster).

Also drawing applause from the crowd were record-breaking passes from the Northern Territory’s Dieter Herrmann (quickest and fastest aspirated racer in Australia), and the Gold Coast’s Tait (world’s quickest 3RZ-powered vehicle) – see further in this report for more details.

A full day and night of racing yielded plenty of on-track excitement for race fans, with all 10 brackets delivering competitive racing.

The Top Sportsman class – newly introduced to the Summit Equipment Racing Series in 2015 – certainly impressed, with the Top Qualifier Herrmann becoming the quickest and fastest aspirated racer in Australia in his Pontiac GTO with a 6.36 second/220.91mph effort in qualifying before going further in the first round of eliminations with a 6.32 second result at 222.03 miles per hour.

Hermann was in the running for event victory until the semi-finals, where he fell to South Australian Paul Russo and his 1957 Chev Bel Air – the recipient of the Best Presented Team Award presented by Gridstar by YBI Creative and Summit Racing Equipment – who was defeated by eventual runner-up Steve Fowler (NSW), who faced off against the Gold Coast’s Neil Maxwell who walked away with the big trophy.

“I would like to thank Willowbank Raceway, ANDRA and Summit Racing Equipment, but most of all I would like to thank all of the other racers who have supported this Top Sportsman bracket. I have been waiting for this bracket and I am so proud to take the win at its first running here in Queensland,” said Maxwell.

The SuperComp class also laid claim to a record breaking performance – this time on the world stage with the Nissan 200SX of Tait becoming the quickest 3RZ-powered vehicle in the world thanks to his 6.741 second effort at 206.95 miles per hour in the second round of eliminations against Wade Moran, who on his way to the loss also ran under the national record (7.00s/197.42mph).

The Palm Beach racer moved on to the semi-finals where with a win over Toowoomba’s Bob Frawley he earned his ticket to the finals and the event win following a bad day at the office for his would-be opponent Rob Nunn where what started out as a blistering semi-final solo pass from the right hand lane ended with Nunn’s Chev Cobalt glancing the left hand wall, with the damage seeing him unable to front for the final.

“To take the win and become the world’s fastest four cylinder Toyota is real good,” said Tait. “The car is still a bit loose, so there is a bit more in it to come. We ran a six second pass a few weeks ago so now to come out here and run some consistent passes is really good and we are happy with that.”

In Super Gas, Dale O’Dwyer took the win from David Gauldie in the final after the pair respectively dispatched top qualifier Graeme Spencer and Kerry Boyde in the semi-finals; while in Supercharged Outlaws, Matthew McKnight prevailed over Rodney Hansen in the battle for event glory with a very close finals performance between the pair.

“That was a cracking final right there, when it comes to final time you have always got to be tight, you have got to hit the tree, and you have got to dial in tight as well and both Rodney and I showed that – we both had great lights and we both ran right on our dial-ins as well. A big thank you has to go to Summit Racing Equipment as an international company that is supporting our drag racing in this country, and also to Jason and Hayley Donnelly from Donnelly Blasting Services for getting behind our bracket, as well as my family and my crew – this is our swansong year as a family racing together and I am going to be doing my very best to bring home a gold Christmas tree trophy in June at the Winternationals for them – they deserve it,” said McKnight.

An all-Ford final in Super Sedan saw the victory go to Paul Doeblien from Max Carpenter, with this the first national event win for Doeblien after 14 years of attempts in his BF Cobra. Doeblien had earlier faced off against Greenbank’s David Foreman in the semi-final, while Carpenter had enjoyed a bye run.

“I have had my Super Sedan car for 14 years, and this is the first national win I have ever had in that car. I have won plenty of things, but never a national event. It feels unbelievable, I have been runner-up probably four or five times, but never actually got the win so I am absolutely wrapped, I could not be happier,” said Doeblien.

In Modified, Mark Allan took on his best friend and engine builder Kevin Morton in the final and won, despite an injury to his knee following a dislocation the week before.

“Kevin is my best mate as well as my engine builder and we raced in the final and we were still talking tactics which is always fun! A big thanks has to go to the Willowbank Raceway staff, officials and commentary team, and also to all the other modified competitors and Knijff Earthmoving,” said Allan.

Super Street saw victory go to Bill Henry over Ben Dreyer, while in Junior Dragster it was Eden Ward who took the win from top qualifier Toby Austin. Competition Bike saw plenty of fierce competition, with the victory ultimately falling to Daryn Schuster from Blair Pennington – his crew chief and good friend.

“Blair does all the work on the bikes, but even so when we line up against each other it is a race – its going to go to whoever gets to the end first and its good luck to each of us and off we go. I am definitely happy with the result, it was a great race and Blair wouldn’t have it be anything less, he always makes sure both bikes are 100% and its awesome,” said Schuster.

More two-wheeled action was on show for the fans with Modified Bike, with an amazing final seeing Chris Collin taking the win from Ace Edwards, with Edwards coming off his bike after the finish line. Soon after the run, the dislodged rider was seen walking down the strip to retrieve his bike from its stopping place further down the braking area. After being taken to the hospital for precautionary checks, his father Craig Edwards stated that his son “has come off but done no real damage to himself (aside from) a bit of gravel rash and so on, but (that he is) fine and he sends his thanks to everyone for all the well wishes, and to the staff at the end of the track that helped him.”

Through his father, Ace also sent his congratulations to the other competitors, including winner Chris Collin.

“I would like to thank my parents first and foremost, without them I wouldn’t be here. Thanks also to the track, it was a great meeting with a great turnout. My commiserations to Ace, it was a great race but that happens, and I would like to see him out here again soon,” said Collin.


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