REPORT: Atura NSW Championship crowns champions

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A season of furious bracket racing for the right to be called Sydney Dragway track champion has come to a close with the running of the final Atura NSW Championship Series round.

The eight round strong series has wrapped up and once again many of the bracket weren’t decided until well into eliminations at the final event of the season.

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One bracket that was decided going in was Supercharged Outlaws, with Anthony Bool light years ahead of the rest of the field. The bracket struggling for numbers during the season again was low on competitors in the final round but did feature a few new names including Darren Hubbard and Joseph Murina. In the final it was Murina – who now owns the former Jeff Wilson Corvette Top Doorslammer has just finished his licensing process – taking on Bool. The Falcon of Bool was consistent as always going 7.54 on a 7.50 to take another win in the series ahead of Murina’s 6.83 on a 6.50.

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Top Sportsman was a much tighter affair with defending champion Neil Constantinou holding a ten point lead over Thomas Leake going into the final event. Leake ended up being upset in round one by Steve Horvat, and in round two Constantinou was left vulnerable when his his Ford Mustang was shut down on the line with an apparent leak, meaning, if Anthony Hrvatin could win the event in the ‘Moby Dick’ Ford he would poach the championship. The nervous wait for Constantinou was short lived after Hrvatin was also eliminated later in the round, narrowly via a double breakout race by just one thousandth, crowning Constantinou as champion once again.

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Brett O’Connor came through the pack to clinch the event win over Horvat in the final and leap into second place in the championship overall.

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The finish to the season could not of been any closer in Modified, with Peter Brown trying to defend his championship lead of 30 points when eliminations started only to be on the trailer after round one with a loss to Chelsea Leahy. Flack moved his altered through the rounds defeating Jeremy Paine and Peter Ilsley eating back the points that saw him needing to win his round three race against Paul Linnett’s altered to square the points and take the title. Flack was on his game with a .029 reaction and a 8.399 on a 8.39 at the strip to knock off Linnett and win the title. 

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Flack’s run ended in the semi final against Mark Bool, who went on to holeshot Chelsea Leahy in the final with a .003 light to take the event win. 

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Robert Chapman was also defending his Super Sedan crown and also came into the event with a 30 point lead to nearest rival Michael Little. Chapman had the Torana dialled in, defeating Trent Carberry, Jason Field and Lou Palumbo – with a perfect 9.340 on a 9.34 – to reach the semi final before losing to Brian Mortensen. Little however was upset by a near perfect package from Larry Etcell in round one, and the championship was secured by Chapman for successive years.

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Jim Denaro went the distance in his Cortina securing the event win over Brian Mortensen’s EH ute, Mortensen also leaped Little in the points to earn second place.

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In Modified Bike, Robert Simmonds was in the box seat going into the event to earn his sixth track championship title. Joe Khoury was the only rider with a shot of stopping the Simmonater, and he did all he could by winning the event over Ian Smith, but Simmonds reached the semi final and it was enough points to become a six time champ. 

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After the dramas of the weather affected last round, Stan Nikitaras found himself chasing Mike Walsh going into the final event, with Luke Griffith’s keeping them both on their toes also in the mix. Nikitaras was still in the hunt – despite throwing the crank out of his Capri – when rained ended the last event after the first round of racing, and managed to piece together a new engine for this event. 

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Two of the combatants met in round two with Griffiths nailing the win over a breakout from Walsh, setting up a round three dual between Nikitaras and Griffiths, which would now effectively be for the championship if the Capri could get the win over Griffith’s big Plymouth. There was no quarter given as both racers drove it out the back to a double breakout race, Nikitaras went under his dial in by the least to take home another Super Street title. To ram home the point, Nikitaras went on to win the event defeating a red lighting Steven Price in the final.

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Joe Catanzariti had the Super Gas field by the throat and only needed to survive round one to win the championship. He did that with comfortably over Bob Reischl’s roadster, and went on to close out the event with another win defeating Vince Panetta in the final with a dual 9.88 to 9.87 break out, and finish the season with three wins from the last three completed events.

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Junior Dragster was the closest of all the eliminators going into the event with three racers level on points at the start of the day. It all came to a head in round two when Lachlan MacCaskell red lit to Joshua Bertenshaw, and James Hazzard could not defeat Jackson Perri, so with Antonio Panetta’s win against Charlie Boskovich in the same round, he would be instilled as champion. Panetta couldn’t go past round three, also being beat by champion contender killer Perri, but the final was relative rookie Bertenshaw and Allirah Kardum up from Victoria in her only appearance in the series this season. Kardum dropped a .018 reaction at the tree and held off the chase from Bertenshaw who broke out trying to make up the start jump.

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David Jennings already had three Street Fighter wins from four final round showings coming into the event and his points lead was insurmountable once he ran a qualifier. But Jennings wouldn’t cap off the season with another win, going out in round two to Wayne Smith. The final came down to Mark Roberts’ Falcon and Glen Garlick’s Commodore, but the Ford versus Holden battle was short lived with Roberts going red on the tree handing the win to Garlick.

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Street Bike was a little closer with Colin Northcott holding on to a 20 point lead over Guido Falgiatori at the start of eliminations. With only three rounds of racing in a smallish field, Northcott only needed to advance past round one, which he did over Sharona Reddy for a the championship win. Northcott went on to the final and finished the championship off in style winning over first timer Chris Hocking in a double breakout battle.

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Ezio Cacciotti cleaned up the HAMBster championship by just having to show up. The final though of the round robin format HAMBsters race under was between Peter Grant and James Minas who had borrowed James Rodriquez’s steed for the event. Unfortunately Minas was too keen at the tree, dropping the clutch early and picking off a cherry giving Grant the win.

Video of the finals by Madman Productions



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