The Top Alcohol, Top Bike and Pro Stock Motorcycle Pro Series accompanied by the Aeroflow Sportsman series rolled into Adelaide International Raceway for a two wide war. It was the first time in over ten years a ANDRA Sportsman series event has been held at the venue and it would be a testing feat for everyone with furnace temperatures reached over the weekend.
Disappointingly the crowd at the event was at best would be described as poor, whether it was the heat turning them away or other factors, it leaves a rough road for event promoter Rino D’Alfonso who has poured his heart and bank account into the venue to bring racing back to Adelaide, racers need to support the venue for it to have a future.
With AIR’s short run off the event was contested over the 1000ft distance for some classes, and this would be a first for the Sportsman racers to become accustomed too.
It was round three for Top Alcohol and the championship is still anyone’s, Top Alcohol did compete at the venue last season and any data could be valuable on a still relatively green track. Gary Phillips nailed the setup off the trailer with a 4.905 in the heat which would stand as top qualifier.
Steve Reed with a last session 4.929 bumped him up to second followed by last years Adelaide event winner John Cannuli with a 4.970. Wayne Price was a fraction behind with a 4.979, a 5.128 had Gary Busch in fifth with a sweet looking new wrap on the funny car.
Wayne Newby’s last Adelaide event ended the long career of the teams dragster after a huge impact with the wall in final. Newby is now back in a flopper looking for vengeance sitting in sixth after qualifying with a 5.14 as they gather more information for the short wheelbase ride.
Yak Probst in the only active Top Alky altered grabbed seventh with a 5.26 and the only dragster in the field, Frank Intini would make the first round just nabbing the bump spot with a 5.28. Unlucky only non qualifier was Rick Gauci who could not get the funny car hooked up cleanly despite some solid testing with a 5.34 best.
Round one kicked off with a rematch of the dramatic last final at the track, the tables were turned this time when Newby holeshot Cannuli 5.066 to a 5.065 in a cracker first race. Reed easily held off Probst altered though no times were recorded in Reed’s lane. Phillips slammed down another 4.90 to trailer the return of Intini and Busch just staged on a solo after Price wounded the engine during the warm up.
Reed was out on Newby in the first semi before ignition failure silenced the funny car and Newby clocks a 5.00. Phillips looking dominant bags Busch 4.98 to a 5.09 in the other semi.
Final time and Newby again gets the jump off the line this time on Phillips, the Lucas Oils funny car hits 300ft and is all out of shape allowing Newby to rocket to redemption with a 5.10, slaying the demons from last time.
Top Bike featured six entries, Chris Matheson is in the unusual position of being behind in the championship following supercharged disasters in Perth. Qualifying though put engine fears to rest easily topping the sheets with a 5.37. Porter lead the Harley charge with a 5.99 for second followed by an improving Phil Parker 6.15, Dennis Grant 6.16, Graeme Morell 6.58 and Mark Drew unable to get the countries quickest Harley hooked up with a 6.61.
Matheson dodged what could have been a championship deciding bullet in round one, the bike smoked the tyres for most of the 1000 feet crossing the centreline fortunately just after the finish line ahead of Drew 5.69 to a 6.62. Porter like Matheson smoked the tyres and battled the centreline just staying ahead of Morell 6.42 to 6.61. Parker picked up a round win over Grant who has not race for two years, Grants bike went nowhere and Parkers exploded in a fireball across the line as a conrod exited stage left.
The damage left Porter with a solo in the semi and clicked it with a 6.08, Matheson had the bye but ran it through for a 5.77.
In a repeat of last years Adelaide final Porters bike pumped smoke out at the twist of the throttle falling off the pace as Matheson resumed his winning ways with a near perfect looking 5.42. Porter hangs on to a narrow lead in the championship.
Six entries also in Pro Stock Motorcycle, Luke Crowley, the form favourite on the back of two straight wins headed the field after qualifying with a last shot 7.37, the current champ Locky Ireland nipping at the fender with a 7.40. Scott White continues to have ups and downs on the Birrell team bike with a 7.50, Maurice Allen with a brand new bike was fourth with a 7.66 even after beaching the bike during qualifying. Glenn Wooster followed with a 7.75 and Mark Hancock rounded out the the field with a 8.02.
Crowley when straight down the middle in round one against Hancock 7.38 to a 7.82, Ireland straps a big holeshot on Wooster who could not peg back what should have been a side by side race 7.53 to a 7.56. White does not leave the line as Allen lifts early with a 7.70.
Crowley benefits from a bye in the first semi but still runs a 7.52 and Allen defeats the champ in the other semi 7.42 to Ireland’s 7.47.
Crowley has been having trouble reacting to the lights with bad reaction times all event. The final was no different, a .324 light from Crowley was decimated by Allens .071 taking a gigantic holeshot win 7.55 to a 7.34.
The Aeroflow Sportsman Series would be contested over a mixture of 1000ft and quarter mile racing depending of the class.
Competition Eliminator was running 1000ft for the first time, new indexes were created by ANDRA to reflect the distance, familiar faces though were still on top after qualifying.
Craig Geddes E/AA 6.268 6.70 -0.432
Shane Baxter CC/AA 5.673 6.09 -0.417
Jason Maggs BB/AP 5.677 5.98 -0.303
Wayne Cartledge B/DA 6.058 6.35 -0.292
Robert Coleman BB/GA 6.333 6.25 0.083
Geoff Kelly CC/AA 6.182 6.09 0.092
Simon Miller CC/DA 7.216 6.01 1.206
It was a Victorian dominated field in Competition with Maggs and Cartledge on the losing side in the semi finals against Geddes and Baxter respectively.
Geddes would go back to back in event wins as the top qualifiers faced off in the final, the little altered shot to the win over fellow Victorian Baxter after the blown altered goes straight for the wall and shuts off.
Geddes now is approaching the 300 point maximum in the championship ahead of Cartledge.
Super Stock qualifying saw the unique turbo VL of Daniel Camilleri furthest under the index.
Daniel Camilleri DD/GA 7.859 8.35 -0.491
Mario Barbon D/G 8.380 8.83 -0.450
Steve Norman B/APA 7.621 7.95 -0.329
Les Heintz B/MP 8.733 8.98 -0.247
Louis Svingos B/MS 9.804 10.02 -0.216
Dimos Stefanopoulos B/MPA 9.194 9.16 0.034
Jim Ioannidis B/MSA 10.533 9.75 0.783
Barbon moved into the final over Norman 8.43 (8.72) to the Cobalt’s 7.70 (8.87) in the first semi, he would be joined by the turbo VL of Camilleri who had a bye. The final hosted two VL’s with very different power plants, Camilleri still can be inconsistent in getting the turbo RB30 off the line and again it showed with a half second reaction, no matter how quick you are you will not overcome that deficit in Super Stock. Barbon the easy winner with 8.39 (8.63) to a 7.65 (8.16), Camilleri will still go home with the points lead of 25 over Barbon.
Competition Bike had a field of six entries lead by the V Twins.
Corey Buttigieg V/CB 8.706 9.43 -0.724
Paul Harrison V/CB 9.191 9.43 -0.239
Joseph Bernard A/SB 9.45 9.19 0.26
Lionel Linn A/SB 9.511 9.19 0.321
Robert Cassar BB/CB 10.629 7.94 2.689
Howard Laing Smith CC/CB 11.98 7.94 4.04
Well traveled West Aussie Paul Harrison held off the street bike of Bernard 9.37 (9.43) to a 9.34 (9.37) in the semis. Corey Buttigieg just staged the bike on a solo to also advance.
Harrison is rewarded for his mileage over recent seasons with a win 9.47 (9.43), Buttigieg rocked out of stage bringing on the red light. Harrison also has a solid points lead of 70 points over Corey Scholes.
Supercharged Outlaws whom also competing over 1000 feet had a quality entry list of 21, Tasmanian Mike Evans TQ’d with a 5.53. Last start winner Luke Marsden faced off with Chris Hargrave in the semi final, Hargrave was already having a unforgettable event for the wrong reason after the front wheel parted company at 170MPH during qualifying. Fortunately little damage was sustained allowing the altered to move to the semi finals, Marsden though had little racing remorse nailing the altered to the tree with a holeshot win 5.88 (5.80) to a 6.15 (6.15). Matty Watts had a solo to set up an all Queensland final.
Watts in his new altered leads Marsden slightly at the tree in the final, but the funny car drives around for the win with a 5.85 (5.80) to a 6.12 (6.02). Marsden has a commanding points lead of 120 over Mike Watkins.
Leanne Braggs headed a small Modified field of eight cars with her gorgeous altered. Current champion Kenny Stewart met Paul Utting in the semi finals, both dragsters go red at the tree with Utting being the first. Simon Barlow met Jess Turner in the next semi contest in a good race for the pair of dragsters, it was Barlow too good however at both ends of the track 7.81 (7.77) to young Jess’s 8.32 (8.40).
.003 light in the final for Stewart left Barlow pushing to stay in front, the result was a double breakout win to Stewart 7.78 (7.80) to a 7.74 (7.78), that is also two wins in a row for the Fuchs dragster taking the lead in the championship over Craig Baker.
A monster 45 car Super Sedan field was familiarly headed by the GXP of Greg Fowler with a 7.01. Once we reached the semis Angelo Musolino in the wheelstanding XR was blessed with a bye. National champ Steve Fowler ended John Kapris’ run in typical Fowler style, 0.19 on the tree complemented by a 7.77 (7.76).
Fowler again killer on the tree in the final with a .014, it was all too much for Musolino breaking out with a 10.53 (10.55) as Fowler wins comfortably with a 7.79 (7.76). The championship is wide open for anyone with Brett Mathew still leading on only 120 points.
Modified Bike had Tony Frost top qualify by a bunch with a 8.84 over the traditional distance, Frost also coming off a round win at Portland would also still be alive in the semis taking on Shane Walker, the Kwaka would go to be final bound after Walker pulls a cherry. The other semi was a battle of the Destroyers as Dave Argent’s 10.00 (9.95) is good enough to defeat Matt Thompsons 9.79 (9.70).
In the final Argent denies Frost consecutive event wins with a 9.99 (9.95) to a 8.96 (8.93) for a holeshot, Frost will still lead the points going to Perth on 220 streaking Gavin Dohnt who fell in the early rounds.
Johnny Ienco’s 9.915 held up in Super Gas as the benchmark after qualifying. Ienco’s HK Monaro would fall victim though to Kym Oberauer’s Camira in the first semi 9.94 to a 10.01. Renee Cockerill won a double breakout race against Danny Buccella to make up the other half of the final 9.88 to 9.84.
Cockerill’s .025 light in the final made to look slow against Oberauer’s .002 and across the finish it was a double breakout 9.89 for the Camira of Oberauer to a 9.85 of Cockerill. Another back to back event winner for the day and leaves Oberauer with the points lead.
The Super Street sheet was topped by Rod Kerr’s Torana with a 11.01. Once the solid 28 car field was whittled down to the semi finals we saw Joe Jurkovic doing it for the Mopar fans eliminating the iconic Bricklayer of Graeme Cooper 11.52 (11.18) to 13.47 (11.45). On the other side of the ladder we had NSW’s Mark Phillips barely hang on to the win with a 12.13 (12.12) after opponent Tony Romeo broke out by five thousandths.
Big holeshot from the Dodge of Jurkovic in the final that Phillips could not close down, so it was the Mopar winning with a 11.21 (11.18) over the Torana’s breaking out 12.09 (12.12). Consolation for Phillips is he is leaving Adelaide with the championship lead.
In Junior Dragster Toby Austin top qualified with a 8.01. Fellow NSW racer David Roberts won the Nationals and would be heading to another final this season with a near perfect 8.224 (8.22) over Dylan Argent 8.06 (8.00). Kelly Donnelly missed the tree completely in the other semi with 1.12 light leaving her a probable winning 9.80 (9.65) pass being beaten on a holeshot by Brodie Tedesco’s 10.85 (10.50).
Slow lights on both sides of the tree in the final, Roberts breaks out 8.16 (8.20) trying to chase the winner Tedesco’s 10.64 (10.50). Roberts still will lead the national championship 60 points clear of Austin.
Photos by Mark Cuffe