Read to be more aggressive at Willowbank

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Multiple Australian Top Fuel drag race champion, Steve Read’s preparation for this weekend’s Castrol EDGE Winternationals at Willowbank Raceway will be a lot different to the last time he raced at Willowbank.




At that event in April, Read, affectionately known as ‘The Pom’, married long-time partner Heather at Willowbank Raceway on the Saturday morning prior to qualifying for the Top Fuel championship series round five.


At the Winternationals, the popular Brisbane-based English couple will not be pre-occupied organising their wedding and can concentrate of preparing the Read Speed Racing (RSR) Dragster for Australia’s biggest drag race event.


With five different winners from five Australian National Drag Racing Association (ANDRA) Pro Series Top Fuel championship events so far this season, Read is looking to finish in the same fashion he started the season – a winner.  


Read, who won Top Fuel at the 2001 Winternationals, is looking to be the first multiple Top Fuel championship series event winner after winning the season-opening Australian Nationals at Sydney Dragway last September.


“I have never had an event like we had that weekend (in April) in my 40 years of drag racing. It was so frustrating, the wedding was brilliant, but the event was a disaster. I think we took our eye off the ball, which resulted in a lack of attention to detail,” Read said.


“We wanted to do so well for the many fans that came to the event to wish us well and for our hard-working crew. It was just little things that put us behind the eight-ball all weekend.   


“The clutch malfunctioned in the first qualifier that was easily fixed. The weather caught everybody out in the second qualifier. We dropped a valve in the third qualifier and the engine was down on horsepower, which resulted in the clutch locking-up in the first round (eliminations) of racing.


“We also had an electrical wiring problem, which short-circuited two spark boxes, a coil and magneto.


“All we needed was another hour before the start of racing on the Sunday and we would have found all the problems.” 


Read said despite the problems at the last event, he believes RSR will performed much better at the Winternationals.


“We have struggled at Willowbank over the years and we have to change our tune-up pretty dramatically.


“At Willowbank we have to be more aggressive with our tune-up because the traction is first class and while we can get away with a certain level of horsepower at Sydney (Dragway), which suits our car, we just have to be more aggressive at Willowbank.


“We tested at Willowbank in January, which taught us a lot and was the best we have ever run there and despite what happened in April, we learnt a lot and I think that will stand us in real good stead for the Winternationals,” Read said.  



Steve Read quick facts

  • Quickest-ever pass: 4.687sec at Sydney Dragway, September 12, 2009.
  • Fastest pass: 303mph at Sydney Dragway, February 16, 2008
  • Has recorded 44 four-second Top Fuel passes.
  • Has recorded 2 300mph Top Fuel passes.
  • The third member of the Australian four-second club: 4.966sec at Eastern Creek, June 25, 1995.
  • The 11th member of the Australian 300mph club: 302.08mph, Sydney Dragway, May 4, 2007.
  • Inducted into the British Drag Racing Hall of Fame in 2008.
  •  Events won:

2009 Australian Nationals – Top Fuel

2007 Summernationals – Top Fuel

2002 Australian Nationals – Top Fuel 

2001 Australian Nationals – Top Fuel

2001 Winternationals – Top Fuel

1996 Australian Nationals – Top Fuel

1995 Australian Nationals – Top Alcohol 

1992 Australian Nationals – Top Alcohol

  • Runner-up:

2008 Summernationals – Top Fuel

2007 Nitro Champs – Top Fuel

2005 East Coast Nationals – Top Fuel

2005 Winternationals – Top Fuel

2005 Nitro Champs – Top Fuel

2005 Willowbank Top Fuel round

2004 Nationals – Top Fuel

2003 Nationals – Top Fuel

  • Titles won: 

                  2001/02 Australian Top Fuel Championship

                        2000/01 Australian Top Fuel Championship               

                        1993/94 Australia Top Alcohol Championship


Plus the following championships in Europe:

Norwegian championship, 1983

British Championship, 1984, ’85, ’87, ’88, ’90 and ’92

European Championship, 1984, ’85, ’87, ’88 and ’91

Swedish Championship, 1984, ’86 and ’89

Nordic Championship, 1986

German Championship, 1987, ’88 and ’90

Austrian Championship, 1988 and ’90


Pic|Terry Andrews


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