REPORT: 2020 New Year’s Thunder

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Wayne Newby wins the first 400 Thunder Top Fuel event of the new decade. Gary Phillips extends his Pro Alcohol winning streak, Tyronne Tremayne and Andrew Badcock collect wins in Pro Stock and Pro Stock Bike respectively at New Year’s Thunder.

Wayne Newby defeated Phil Lamattina twice in the All Run format to race off against team mate Damien Harris in the Top Fuel final. A huge 3.863 holeshot win to the RAI canopy car left Harris’ timing block clipping 3.841 trailing at the stripe anyway in a thrilling race. Tough conditions challenged all racers and crews in the heat and humidity at Willowbank Raceway.

The LTFR team battled hard with no luck, after their first round loss to Newby, Lamattina hit a solid 3.95 but was again bested by Newby with a 3.91 in the other lane, and a final round solo looked to be a quick until a huge engine detonation killed the run. A similar story for Phil Read in ‘Black Mamba’, the team kept taking swings at the track but could not hit a home run. Despite not making the final, Ashley Sanford left the event with a beaming smile after carding her personal best with a 3.827 at 313mph low ET of the event, claiming she could not be any more happier even if she had won the Gold Christmas tree.

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Who can stop Gary Phillips? His win in Pro Alcohol extends his unbeaten record to six events. Phillips was almost perfect, only missing the low ET points in round one when Jake Donnelly’s 5.63 win over Robert Ambruosi was fractionally quicker than Phillips 5.64 defeat of a bucking Greg Clayton altered. Phillips would nail the ET in round two, again over Clayton with a 5.55. Donnelly also won securing a final spot by defeating Brett White 5.62 to 5.81. A 5.59 round two win over John Cannuli left Steven Reed to rue his first round cherry when his funny car pulled through the beams on a long tree costing him a final’s place. Phillips had to work for the final that came down to driving when both cars lit up the tyres off the line, Phillips taking the pedalfest with a 6.58 to a 7.28.

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The conditions wouldn’t effect anybody more than the Pro Stock brigade with the 400 cubers struggling for breath. The Tremayne brothers unluckily faced each other in round one with Tyronne snatching a holeshot 7.067 to 7.053 win over Aaron. Tryonne then would secure a final spot with a 7.02 over Rob Dekert and would face Wayne Daley who racked up wins over Dekert (7.075 to 7.237) and Aaron Tremayne (7.051 to 7.201) en-route to the final. The pair were locked together at half track in the final before the Daley Dodge drifted out of the groove and Tremayne lit up the win light with a 7.004 to Daley’s 7.078.

Ride of the night though went to Jason Hedges, the team were already having a torrid event with a broken wheelie bar destroying a set of slicks, and the replacement slicks were throwing curve-balls at the setup. However in round three, Hedges didn’t have time to lament on his red light that wasted his 7.08 event best run as he fought to keep the JHR GXP upright in the braking area. A late parachute deployment saw the car lock brakes and go into a huge snaking slide down the Willowbank braking area, Hedges miraculously not only kept the car upright, but also off both walls.  

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Glenn Wooster came into the event with all the Pro Stock Bike form points, and with a 7.06 round one win over Luke Crowley (7.20), set himself up as the one to beat. Wooster won round two also over Crowley, this time in a more competitive match up, 7.13 to a 7.16 to sign himself into the final. His opponent would be Andrew Badcock, who came to the final via a round one bye and a 7.42 to 7.61 victory over Daniel Rabnott in round two. On paper it was all Wooster, and that looked to be the case early on in the final until the power went away and Badcock would ride past with a 7.57, collecting a unique win for the Hayabusa powered Pro Stock Bike.

In the 400 Thunder Sportsman Series. Tanya Thompson conquered nightmare conditions for the Pro Radial racers, defeating Graeme Mackinnon in the final 5.16 to 5.34 over the half track distance. Kellie Kidd claimed family bragging rights by out-reacting her dad Phil Bellert in the Modified final pushing him to a breakout. Tammy Goldthorpe kept the ladies winning streak going defeating Chris Collin in the Modified Bike final with a cracking .001 on the tree. Patrick Barron stepped back to Super Gas for this event in his Beretta and continued to rack up wins, this time over Darren Ramsay, 9.958 to a 9.951. Another class jumper for this event in Wade Moran won Super Street over James Notaras. And Jaidyn Seng won Junior Dragster over a red lighting Samuel Perri to close out the 400 Thunder Sportsman Series classes at New Year’s Thunder.




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