REPORT: Wild Winters delivers on cool final day

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The City of Ipswich Winternationals have wrapped up with winners crowned on an action packed and cloud covered final day of eliminations.

Larry Dixon took out Top Fuel in a final round pedalfest against Wayne Newby. Dixon was able to hook up for a 4.91 as Newby eventually stayed out of the throttle and rolled through for a runner up finish that would cost him the championship – taken by team mate Damien Harris.
While Dixon was responsible for Harris’ semi final loss, he was also responsible for Harris’ championship win by defeating Newby in the final round. Dixon explained that it was not a fight he wanted to be involved with.
“I hated being in the middle of two team mates racing off for the championship,” he said. “I’ve been on the winning end of the championships and the losing end so I know how it feels.
“I hurt for Wayne, I know he wanted to win, but the round before I was hurting for Damien because I didn’t want to be the guy who made the difference.”
Newby remained upbeat despite the loss.
“We lost the final but you are losing to a three time world champ, we look up to you guys and it was a pleasure to lose to you,” he said.
The championship was not the only highlight for Harris, as he carded Australia’s fastest ever drag racing speed in the semi finals with a 336.99mph blast.
“I was a little bit surprised when they started yelling out (about the speed). To be honest, the (speed) thing I wasn’t really conscious of. It pulled, it felt really good,” he said.
Pro Alcohol finished with the wildest conclusion of any bracket as John Cannuli crossed lanes and came into contact with Gary Phillips. Cannuli’s left hand tyre shredded on Phillips’ header pipes and destroyed the rear part of the body, while Phillips escaped with just a few minor body scrapes.
Cannuli broke Phillips’ world record earlier in the event, but Phillips did notch up the first alcohol-fuelled 270mph pass in Australia.
“It was a really good weekend, sorta,” he said. It’s a shame what happened in the final, but both of us are okay.”
Presentations proved controversial for the category, with comments from Cannuli about allegations the team was running an illegal blower. Needless to say, the seeds have have been more than sown for an even more intense rivalry between the two quickest alcohol funny cars on the planet.
Pro Slammer came down to Mark Belleri and Ben Bray, with Belleri knocking out a personal best 5.79 to take his first Winternationals victory.
“Once it stuck through first gear in the final we knew it was on a number. I was ready to pedal it, but it stayed and it stuck,” he said.
The championship was already a gimme to John Zappia who had it mathematically wrapped up before the event. It was fortunate for the driver of the Fuchs Monaro who had a tough weekend of engine dramas – with even a brand new blower belt giving up in the burnout.
“It didn’t even last the burnout, I am a bit dumbfounded on that,” he said.
Pro Stock saw Aaron Tremayne earn a third Winternationals title, defeating Wayne Daley in the final round, though he felt for brother Tyronne who had engine problems in the first round cost him the 400 Thunder series.
“It’s the third one under the belt and hopefully more to come,” he said. “We ran pretty good at the end of the day. It was bad luck for my brother, he broke an intake rocker on E1 which put him out of the championship.”
Damian Muscat became a new star of Top Bike with a win against Gavin Spann in a close fought final round and an amazing new personal best of 6.35, just off the Australia nitro Harley record of 6.34. It was a strong comeback from Muscat, who broke a rocker in Friday afternoon qualifying. He said words could not describe the front-wheel carrying pass.
“It was awesome,” he said. “When you have a good run everything just gels and it feels like nothing. When you have an okay run you are struggling to control the bike and it feels like you went fast but you didn’t.”
Pro Bike came down to Glenn Wooster and a returned Daniel Rabnott, with Wooster having the performance edge and using that to his advantage in the final. En route to the final, Wooster ran a personal best 7.19.
“We won the championship, we were top qualifier, the boys have been drilling me through what has actually happened for the weekend,” he said.
“It was really smooth, in the top end a couple of times it woke me up, it was still hooking. It felt really good. There is more potential there, we just need to get on it.”
Pro Radial saw Tim Cross getting a win for the Pro Fab outfit, defeating Matt McCarthy’s Bluebird in the final round of the Chicago shootout style racing, while Factory Xtreme saw Scott Porter earn a holeshot victory, outrunning a quick 6.14 from Rod Harvey.
In the sportsman categories, Shane Seawright took a popular win against Tony Bellert in Comp with the turbocharged altered driving around the six second naturally aspirated dragster.
Wade Moran’s run to the finish line was made easier in Super Stock when opponent Sam Kiprios had big dramas at half track, oil going underneath the tyres of the little Starlet and getting loose.
Blaze Hansen wasn’t even planning on running Comp Bike before the Winternationals but was rewarded with victory against Peter Puznik.
Josh Fletcher won a second straight Winternationals, defeating Jake Donnelly in the final, while the Donnelly family also had to settle for second in the Top Sportsman final as Harry Somer got past Jake’s brother Dan.
Nick Galea has only just started racing this year, but that didn’t stop him earning a Modified title against Katie Cunningham, while Tony Rogers defeated Adam Solomon in the final round of Super Sedan.
Brandon Gosbell was on a rent-a-ride and by the final round of the Winternationals had only accumulated 10 runs on the bike, but still managed a win against Shaun Soboll in Modified Bike.
Matthew McKnight is a name many would be familiar with in Supercharged Outlaws, but with the easier pace of Super Street (though no less tough racing) he was adept too with a win against David McGlinn.
Dale O’Dwyer took out the Super Gas final round over Tom Parry, while Jett Willshire nabbed a popular victory in Junior Dragster against Josh Leonello.

Galleries and more to come. Make sure to look out for issue 18 of Drag News Magazine with our in-depth coverage of the Winternationals including interviews with all the winners.


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