The quickest ever field in Top Doorslammer was one of the highlights of an action packed first day at the 40th annual Westernationals at Perth Motorplex.
Sessions two and three provided thrilling drama as cars bumped each other out and made the runs they needed to get into the field.
The first session saw no big numbers with John Zappia the earlier leader with a 6.00. A 6.05 from Daniel Gregorini was a new personal best, the Scratch and Match Camaro running in AA/AP legal trim. A 6.14 from the Sidchrome Monaro of Ben Bray placed him into a provisional third.
But it was in the second session that things really began to light up.
Series leader Mark Belleri stepped up first with a 6.02 in dad Lucky’s Camaro, while local Murray O’Connor followed in those classy footsteps with a 6.10 from his XM Falcon, a new personal best. It got hotter at the top as Robin Judd took the Aeroflow Studebaker to a 6.12 and Marty Dack brought the Auto One Falcon home with a 6.13, a massive personal best. Tony Defelice showed a handle on the Camaro at least with a nice 6.01 run while Peter Kapiris got his Saratoga down Perth Motorplex for the first time (representatively) with a 6.07. But it was left to Zappia to shock and awe as he pounded down a 5.82 to totally assert his performance authority. The powerstand was just incredible. This left Dack’s 6.13 on the bump as conditions only got better.
The third session provided the same kind of edge of your seat entertainment. Dave Simpson’s Mustang got picked up by the parachutes and rubbed the wall in the braking area, almost a very nasty moment. Stu Bishop emerged and put down a 6.12 that put him ahead of Judd and bumped Dack. Kapiris ran a 6.08 but that would not improve his place in the field. Then things really started to move. Matt Abel produced a stunning 5.99 from his Chev to move into second place followed by Judd improving to a 6.04 to make his place stronger. Murray O’Connor nailed a 6.09 to improve just a little, but then found himself on the outside looking in when Maurice Fabietti’s Monaro produced a 5.89 and Dack hit another PB, a 6.06 to set a new record bump spot.
In Top Bike Chris Matheson led the way with a third session 6.23 to well and truly have the top of the field covered. Jay Upton followed on with a tyre smoking 6.67, there was plenty of power aboard the Honda. Troy McLean had a new best on the new orange bike with a 6.76 coming up on the boards for third. Mark Drew couldn’t repeat his quickest form but a 6.83 was good for fourth, a later pass that was two tenths quicker to half track was disallowed when he hit the timing beams. From there Chris Porter hit a 7.27 for fifth, Dennis Grant finally got a clean run in and ran a 7.28, Marc Ryder rode to a 7.41 and Terry Burnett sailed to a lucky 7.54 on the bump, with Mick Murray the lone unfortunate rider on the outside looking in with a 7.55.
Group Two didn’t see any of the pace let up.
Competition was led by Brian Robinson, a name many people might not be familiar with. His Dodge Stratus BB/FC has only raced in Outlaws until now but with a new blower on board he produced a 6.44 with be .81 under the index. Andrew Minogue went .79 under with a 7.18 but the scary thing is his CC/GA Falcon still has plenty left in it. Jeff Clarke ran a .68 under 5.78 in his BB/D while George Separovich really came out of nowhere with the CC/GA Torana, stepping up in a big way with a 7.30 to be .68 under also. Wayne Keys was getting some tips from tuning legend Camp Stanley and it showed with the bucks down team running a 6.08, the quickest AA/AP pass ever, which put him in fifth! Adam Marchant was the first of the non-record beating qualifiers with a .59 under 5.75. Shane Weston was just behind, also in AA/D, with a 5.76. A .57 under 6.79 from Alistair McClure put him into number eight and with the favourable seeding spot could be one to watch. Bumping the field was Debbie O’Rourke with a 5.83 in TA/FC. We all thought she was out on the night but results updated overnight show John Napier’s class as TA/FC instead of AA/FC now so his 5.92 was bumped out.
Super Stock saw Jim Ioannidis and Tony Caroscio beating up on C/MSA all day long. A 9.99 from Ioannidis was .83 under the index and just held off a 10.02 from Caroscio’s Pontiac. Nino Cavallo’s .55 under 7.93 in C/AP seemed positively sedate, but was also under the national record. Mick Frossos ran a .52 under 7.35 in A/GA to establish his credentials as a tough local runner while Allen Puglia went .47 under with a 7.29 in the B/AP Ford Probe. Steve Flynn, driving for Frank Salvo, took sixth spot with a .41 under 7.77 in B/G while also .41 under was Nick Karantonis with an 8.45 in G/GA. Steve Norman took the prized number eight spot with a .41 under 7.46 in A/GA and he will face bump sitter Ralph Lewis who went -.04 in round one today. A big surprise was Graeme Simms missing the field.
Kevin Gummow was the only rider sub record in Competition Bike with a -.503 7.85 in CC/CB. Neil Anderson followed on with a 9.07 to be .49 under the B/SB index as Sean Arthur rode to an improving 7.90 in CC/CB, .45 under with the nitrous assisted Suzuki. Ross Smith’s .37 under 8.91 was a good mark for A/SB while Shayne Homes was the first of the interstaters in the field at a .31 under 10.25. Mick Donohue’s 8.69 was .20 under in DD/CBI and seemed to be a popular run. There may however be one more qualifying session today as the one last night was cancelled due to the event running late. Currently on the outside looking in are David Gajsek, Bruce Nunn, Ryan Learmonth and Terry Jongen.
Top qualifiers across Group Three currently include Kelvin Lyle with a 6.59 in Supercharged Outlaws, Michelle Osborn with a 7.14 in Modified, Greg Carter with a 6.97 in Super Sedan, Joe Bertolini with an 8.63 in Modified Bike, Chris Head with an 11.16 in Super Street and Brandon Gosbell with a very precise 8.000 in the huge 53 car Junior Dragster field. As usual DNA will bring you more detail from these brackets in a major report following the event, but for now I need to take off to the track!
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