It was all about the locals at Willowbank Raceway’s Top Fuel Championships this evening; with two of the three ANDRA Pro Series categories – Top Fuel and Pro Stock Bike – coming down to state-pride battles between locals and Victorians, while the third, Top Bike, saw two Brisbanites battle for the win.
In Top Fuel, Raceview’s Steve Read took on championship leader Darren Morgan (of Mildura), while in Pro Stock Motorcycle defending champion Andrew Badcock, who recently moved back home to South East Queensland from Tasmania, took on Victoria’s (Hoppers Crossing) Locky Ireland in the final for Pro Stock Motorcycle. In Top Bike, reigning champion and title leader Chris Matheson of Indooroopilly fronted up against Brisbane’s Troy McLean.
While Read was thwarted by mechanical issues, Morgan didn’t have a clear run through to the win, with a shattered fuel line seeing him blow the manifold off his AEG Powertools Top Fuel dragster on his way to the finish line.
“It is always easy to be wise afterwards, we had some issues on the hit of the throttle and we smoked it up, I saw Darren break with his problems but I made the decision not to pedal the car to chase him, as I didn’t want to run the risk of hurting another engine,” said Read.
“It was Darren’s weekend, he was the best all weekend and it was his, that is just how it goes!”
Tonight’s result sees TAFE teacher Morgan establish a commanding lead in the Top Fuel Championship with just two rounds remaining including the season-finale, the Castrol EDGE Winternationals, at Willowbank Raceway (June 10-13).
Morgan progressed to the final stand tonight after taking on fellow Mildura resident Phil Lamattina in the semi-final after disposing of Terry Sainty – who will fly to the US on Wednesday to participate in the Las Vegas NHRA Full Throttle Series – in the first round.
“The dragster just ran flawlessly all weekend right up to the final, where we shattered a fuel line and blew off the manifold,” said Morgan.
“My crew, who are all volunteers, did an absolutely outstanding job all weekend, and I am so happy to have won the meeting, be leading the championship with a good margin and to be getting some exposure for our sponsors, for our crew, for Mildura, and for everyone else that has put faith in us.
“The track was outstanding, the best I have raced on in a long time and the conditions we ran in this weekend I think were the best we have had in over 12 months, it was a pleasure all weekend, and it’s a nice birthday present for my wife Nat, who celebrates her birthday on Tuesday!”
In Top Bike, it was local versus local with defending champ and current title leader Matheson taking on last-round winner and title chaser McLean. The pair faced off each other after Matheson took wins over Alan Herriman and Marc Ryder in the first and semi rounds, while McLean defeated Geoff Redgrave in the semi final after taking the win from Mick Murray in a wheel-standing first round.
In a spirited final, Matheson took the win with a 6.337 second pass at 180.84 miles per hour (291.03kmh) which allowed him to extend his championship lead over McLean, who punched in a final performance of 7.466 second pass at 183.22mph (294.87kmh).
“This was important for the championship, to extend that gap to McLean (who is second in the title chase), last season were were able to lead the whole way through and that is what we want to do again this year, it is so far so good,” said Matheson.
“This weekend means we have been able to claim the low elapsed time, the top speed and the top qualifier spot for each round this season, and we are really pumped for the rest of the seaon including the big finale at the Winternationals back here at Willowbank Raceway.”
In Pro Stock Motorcycle, defending champion Badcock of Daisy Hill took on Ireland, with a 7.307 second pass at 183.92 miles per hour (295.99kmh) seeing him take the spoils over Ireland’s 7.728 second pass at 181.62mph (292.29kmh).
“We have had a difficult season so far with bad luck, but this result has seen that turn around, and put us right back in championship contention which is great news!” said Badcock.
“The bike has been really quick this weekend, going faster every pass, and it ran the best mile per hour (184mph) it has ever run – to get some points back this weekend and to be back on our way to defending our championship, we are pretty happy with that!”
In other racing this weekend, taking wins were Craig Geddes (Lifestyle Floor Coverings Competition), Tim Sizmur (Lifestyle Floor Coverings Super Stock), Craig Dyson (Super Compact), Rowan Lind (Competition Bike), Matty Watts (All Star Batteries Supercharged Outlaws), Andrew Loy (Knijff Earthmoving Modified), Paul Doeblien (Powercruise Super Sedan), Rob Harrington (Speed Elec/Prime Signs Super Street), Denis Ryan (Modified Bike), Mathew Loy(Donnelly Blasting Services Junior Dragster) and Roy Romeo (Super Gas).
For full results from the Top Fuel Championships please click here.
While March has been busy for Queensland’s premier drag racing facility, the action continues with the all-new Shannons Queensland Auto Spectacular hitting the track on Sunday April 10, with more than 1000 display cars, utes and bikes, club displays, trade sites, a car sales corral, kids amusements, timed test n tune quarter-mile drags, a wheel changing competition, picnic area and free public parking, plus a VIP car park. General admission tickets are just $10 with children 14 and under gaining free entry, visit www.willowbankraceway.com.au or www.queenslandautospectacular.com.au for more information.
Soon after, the season-ending Castrol EDGE Winternationals, the largest drag racing event outside of the US, will come to Ipswich on the Queen’s birthday weekend, kicking off on FRIDAY JUNE 10 running through to MONDAY JUNE 13. Featuring all of the ANDRA Pro Series brackets as well as the Rocket All Stars Racing Series making their final fights for their championships, fans are guaranteed non-stop action.
Willowbank Raceway’s official website – www.willowbankraceway.com.au is the place to go for more information on ticketing and upcoming events.