The Atura NSW Championship Series at Sydney Dragway became the last drag racing event in the country to be somewhat completed before the world was put in a holding pattern.
Already running in a very limited capacity by being held behind closed doors, round two of the Atura NSW Championship Series saw reduced brackets to limit the gathering below 500 people. This meant the Junior Dragster portion of the event would be held the following weekend at a scheduled test and tune. Unfortunately that event never went ahead and we are all where we are currently with this terrible global pandemic.
So to the racing, and Top Sportsman was bolstered by a number of entries from abolished classes like Super Comp which saw the likes of Clint George running his Pro Stock Grand Am in the class. The final came down to a pair of Pauls, with Paul Crocker and his little Escort taking on Paul Clarke’s Mustang that hasn’t seen much racing in recent times. The battle of the Pauls was over at the tree with Crocker going red by a bunch leaving Clarke to collect the win and what should be a good lead in the championship after a semi final result in the previous event.
In Extreme Bike, Leonard Azzopardi was aboard Alex Borg’s ‘Busa for the event and shot into a final against Brad Mannix as the best performers in the three round format. With almost identical reactions, the power of the Azzopardi Racing bike was far too great, streaking away for a 7.31/202mph win over a 8.79.
Modified saw a drop in entries before race day with what is going on in the world and just 10 cars made round one. Nevertheless racing was still hard fought, and the final was to be a real tortoise and the hare affair with Gary Durrington’s little six cylinder FED, the slowest car in the field, taking on one of the quickest in Chris Manks’ six-second altered. With a wait of nearly four seconds, the holeshot went to Manks, but a perfect 10.300 on a 10.30 from Durrington was too good for Manks to adjust to causing a 6.932 on a 6.94 break out. There was also a good result for Craig Davies with a semi final showing that saw him take the points lead after winning the last event.
Joe Zammit returned to his winning ways in Super Sedan, taking the win in his VL Commodore over Jason Field’s Telstar. A solid .029 to .040 reaction time advantage saw Zammit cap the win at the stripe with a 10.174 on a 10.16 to Field’s 9.055 on a 9.07.
Modified Bike qualifying is now also based on reaction times like Modified, and top qualifier bragging rights fell to Chris Costello with a .002 aboard his street Harley, ahead of Michael Borg’s Kawasaki’s .019. As fate would have it, both riders would keep up their form to face off against each other in the final. With both reactions off however in the final, Costello had .07 up his sleeve, but could not hit his 11.00 dial in with an off-pace 11.283 that saw Borg’s 10.83 on a 10.63 pip the Harley at the stripe for the win.
Pat Firriolo stepped up from his semi final showing in round one of the championship with a win at this event. The Holden one-tonner was on song in the final with a 10.371 on a 10.37 to cover James Barnes’ Falcon’s 10.598 on a 10.58. The race win will see an early championship lead for Firriolo.
Street Fighter was an all Zammit family war with brothers Don – the defending Street Fighter champion – and last start winner Chris ‘Budda’ Zammit fighting it out to see who would join other brother Joe who took out Super Sedan with winner’s trophy out of the event. It was all but a over at the green, with Don taking a sizeable reaction time advantage, and the champ covered Chris’ fast closing 14.719 on a 14.70 with a tidy 18.045 on a 18.03 to take a step closer to defending the title.
Street Bike wasn’t quite as dramatic, Brian Vernon took back-back event wins to command the championship after opponent Stefan Stivala knocked off a cherry in the final.
Check out some videos from the event courtesy of Madman Productions.
Next round of the championship is anyone’s guess, so stay safe and self isolate until then.