Night of Fire delivers fast racing

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The Night of Fire at Perth Motorplex was something of a new concept to the track as they added some exhibitions to track championship racing to bring in some new fans.

It seemed to work fairly well with the stands looking quite full through the night. They were entertained by Nigel Benson’s Aussie Bandit wheelstander clocking a 12.08 at 170kmh for the quarter mile, burnout demonstrations and a fireworks show.
This type of event is not always readily accepted by purists, but if done well can be used to gain new fans.
Benson did well at putting on a show. Perhaps with a few more features to go with the night like some jet cars or stunt bikes the event will evolve to be even more successful and find the balance between pure racing and “motortainment”.
Now as I get underway with this report, apologies for there being some brackets a little short. That’s because your writer made it to the finals in Modified Bike! You can send your fan mail to…

Top Comp

Adam Croker’s big crash in qualifying was an unfortunate lowlight. Croker had just clocked a 6.32 at 348kmh in his Top Doorslammer Camaro when he turned right after the finish line and hit the barrier hard, rolling the car on to its roof and sliding down the braking area. Croker was taken to hospital but found not to have any broken bones, just some torn muscles.

The car looks like being sent back to the US for some repairs. Croker put the blame on tyre shake breaking a spindle in the diff which sent the car left on to the centreline.

Shane Weston top qualified with a 5.77 in the K Trans AA/D but dropped valves and melted pistons in the elimination round meant a big repair bill.

Clocking a 6.10 in AA/AP trim in the elimination round, Daniel Gregorini’s Camaro is really stepping up its performances. He made it to the A Final which was not run due to an oildown late in the night, the event reaching curfew.

Andrew Minogue sprayed a fine mist of oil on this early run which meant a big clean up early in the night. It got worse later on, as he chucked the rods out on a 7.14 pass in the elimination round.

Daniel Marchant dropped a massive holeshot on Rob Pilkington and claimed an upset win. Not even a sub record 5.68 from Pilkington could stop the dragster.

Aaron Deery was testing some US overdrive in his Top Alcohol dragster so was not involved in competition. He hit a 5.57 at 258mph with the extra oomph onboard. Below however is a slightly errant qualifying pass.

Super Comp

Rick Johns broke a run of bad luck with a win. He has been breaking gearboxes throughout the season but this time the box lasted and he took home the trophy.

Rob Gaikhorst ran a sub record 8.34 in the G/GA Nissan 200SX but aborted his run early in the final for a runner up spot.

Stirring up a few people was Allen Puglia. With his Ford Probe still in transit after the cancellation of the Willowbank ANDRA Pro Series event, he brought “Heavyhitter” to the track to claim some valuable championship points.

Competition Bike

Kevin Gummow blasted out a 7.71, well under the CC/CB record in the final of Competition Bike to take the win against Neil Anderson.

Anderson hurt his index in eliminations when he ran flat out against Gordon Crawford, who had stalled on the line.

Crawford had his fair share of dramas in qualifying after winning the last event, locking up the back wheel on this failed pass.

Supercharged Outlaws

Don Freind won a close A Final race with Mark Mackay decided by about three hundredths of a second. Freind tows all the way from Dowerin so it is always good to see him have some success.

Mark Mackay had a wild run in qualifying after setting the wheelie bars a bit higher, but with them restored to the old height he was back in his normal consistent mode, claiming runner up.

It must have been this warm up by your writer that helped him to success!

Vince Belladonna ran his first six second pass, a 6.98 in eliminations, but in the B Final left some oil on the track.


Michelle Osborn ran a very quick 7.09 during eliminations and made it to the final but was another racer to be caught out by that late oildown. (file photo)

Andrew Frost was to be Osborn’s opponent but he too had to settle for splitting the prizemoney and points. (file photo)

Sean McDonald debuted a blown combination running in AA/MD, carding some eight second laps.

Super Sedan

Paul Downe reached another final in the Blackmarket Commodore but was one of the drivers who did not get to race following the oil down. He was to face Peter Giles.

Lindsay Szep put his Ford on the bumper in qualifying.

Modified Bike

Paul Nieuwhof returned to racing for the first time in a while and promptly top qualified with an 8.57 from his Kawasaki. He then knocked out the points leader in round one before a round two red light, here’s that race from onboard.

Todd Patterson is a classy rider on his Ducati, with consistent times any wheelie bar bike would be proud of. This is what it looks like from the front wheel of the Modified Bike winner.

Taking the runner up (drum roll please) was Luke Nieuwhof, who after a .060 to .140 holeshot broke out by just four thousandths of a second. Still, a personal best 9.50 in qualifying and my first trophy for Modified Bike saw me leaving the Motorplex with a smile on my face.

Super Street

Ethan Hort is showing that his Junior Dragster skills have transferred well to Super Street, taking his second win this season. A .005 reaction time in the final put Adam Thompson on the ropes early.

Junior Dragster

Sam Butler couldn’t score a win this time around but retained his points lead.

Jake Higgins gets some last minute tuning on the start line.

George Gerritsen lost her first round against Jemima Croker, who would withdraw from eliminations following dad Adam’s crash.

Matthew Matulovich took the win for the event with an 8.04 on an 8.00 dial in in the final.

Phil Stewart had runner up honours to his name.

Junior Dragster Rookie

Brock Treloar coming into stage. He top qualified with a .048 reaction time.

Kane Higgins took the win when Shannon Hodgson red lit herself out of contention in the final.

Click next below to see the full photo gallery!

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