When Andrew Katavatis and the Beach Bomb Outlaw Nitro Funny Car thunder down the Perth Motorplex drag strip, you might have seen a very enthusiastic supporter watching from behind and cheering on its driver.
That would be Michelle Katavatis, not just the loving wife of Andrew but also a capable drag racer in her own right. In fact, she was junior drag racing before she was even in high school, going on to compete in the Modified category with a quick dragster imported from the USA.
While the family’s efforts have been concentrated on the nitro car, Michelle said she has been getting itchy to be back in the driver’s seat herself and will finally get to make some noise at the Night of Fire tonight at Perth Motorplex.
“I have sat on the sidelines and watched the success of Andrew and been really proud of him but I am very excited to be back in my own dragster,” she said. “Andrew asked me before Christmas if I wanted to race the dragster again and I said that would be great fun. I am fighting fit and ready to go.”
Michelle last raced at the Westernationals in March, where she was doing double duties by commentating for ANDRA TV as well as racing – reaching the semi finals.
While it has been some nine months since her last 270kmh journey down the track, Michelle said she will get back into the groove by concentrating on her own race.
“It is really important to focus on the consistency of your car as well as the consistency of your reaction times, as long as I am focused in the race seat about my own race, that gives me the best opportunity to win,” she said.
The timing is great for Michelle to get back into Modified, with a rejuvenated field of nine cars to take part in the bracket.
“I was pleasantly surprised to see the amount of Modified cars entered and really excited to see some familiar names to come up against. I’m really looking forward to the competition.”
While she is enjoying the experience of racing right now, Michelle still has a ‘for sale’ sign on the side of the car, with some bigger drag racing plans in the future.
“I want to see the car go to somebody that is as passionate about drag racing as we are and would love to race the car across the season,” she said. “We are dedicated to other things in drag racing, so it would be nice to see it go to another lovely lady racer, or anyone really, to open the doors to different opportunities in drag racing.”
Michelle Katavatis will be racing alongside 120 other teams as part of the Night of Fire, which incorporates a massive show of Jet Dragsters, freestyle motocross and a monster fireworks show, plus the fourth round of the WA Drag Racing Championships featuring the Summer Slam Top Doorslammers, Top Comp, Supercharged Outlaws and much more.
Qualifying starts from 12.15pm with the feature program from 6pm.
– Perth Motorplex Media Release, image by Phil Luyer.