REPORT: Willowbank Jamboree

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We have dragged the chain a little on results from the Willowbank Jamboree – but here are all the winners, plus plenty of photo and video footage of the action.

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The big guns of Factory Extreme were the headline act for the Jamboree, and while entry numbers could of been better, the racing is always hard. Rod Harvey scorched the field off the trailer with a 6.20 at 245mph in the Celica to take qualifying honours.

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Into racing and the struggle was with the track, Scott Porter’s 6.91 against Frank Cannistra was the best of round one in the three round format. Porter was handed the win in round two after Harvey streaked away but headed over the centre line, though Harvey avenged that loss in round three defeating the 350Z of Porter with a 7.13.

The result for Porter was still good enough to see him through the final facing Sydneysider Frank Cannistra who was pedalling Porter’s older Infinity Factory Extreme car, Cannistra hadn’t laid down a clean run but still notched enough wins over Jerry Kehl and Archie Kajewski to seem him through to the final.

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Conditions though were against the racers and in the interest of safety the teams decided to compete the final over the eighth mile distance. Cannistra danced his way to a 4.37 in the final and the J trophy win ahead of Porter’s aborted run.

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Pro Turbo got off to a wild start when Jason Payne slid his Skyline all over the top end of the racetrack when his car dumped water under the slicks, fortunately for Payne the Skyline remained right way up. Alex Cirtoski turned the screws on the Birrong Automotive Skyline to top qualifying with a new PB of 7.15 at 199mph.

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Sam Preece threw down the challenge to Cirtoski in racing with his “Barradore”, the unusual combination of a Ford Barra powered Commodore smashed out a 7.25 at 187mph in round three – the quickest ever pass out of a Barra powerplant anywhere.

The pair would meet in the final where Cirtoski would take the cash with a 7.65 against a off pace run from Preece.

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Pro Compact starred this year’s Jamboree import, Makoto Watanabe from Japan. The Japanese rotary record holder tested during the week to a PB and off the trailer went 7.42 for a new PB in qualifying, mixing it up with the toughest bunch of Pro Compact racers around. The likes of Kelly Bettes and Steven Barnett were chasing their long time goals of a first six second time card for extra spice in the bracket, however it was Michael Baghdadi who scooped up the top qualifiers prize with a 7.09 in his 200SX.

Bettes edged closer to the sixes through racing lighting up the boards with a 7.03 twice in her little Dato ute, but it was Barnett who became the talk of the event setting history for the first six second 13B pass in Australia – 6.998 at 198mph. It has been a mark a number of racers have been chasing for some time.

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With the barrier broken, Barnett unleashed a 6.93 in the final round of racing and would square off against Bettes in the final. Bettes launched out of the hole with a huge holeshot but the little Dato started to wander and Bettes lifted off the power only to have the RX3 storm past on a 7.05 for the win.

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In Extreme where just about anything goes that does not fit into the other classes, Ben Diggles fired a 6.849 from his FJ20 powered dragster to head the qualifying time sheets.

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On the other end of the spectrum with a twin turbo V8, Shane Seawright cranked out a 6.44 from the altered – that you can read about in Issue #18 of Drag News Magazine – to open round one, but did not appear in subsequent rounds. As too Gerry Sarafoglou who was dropping six second bombs on the field in qualifying but Australia’s quickest LS1 powered car had a problematic round one and withdrew from racing.

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At finals time it was Darryl Marsh in his twin turbo 2JZ altered taking on Roxanne Thomas who has had her front wheels dangling during the day way higher than any dragster should. Marsh had the advantage at green and pulled the pin on his run with the track conditions catching the altered out and coasted to a 10 second run, Thomas was still no where to be seen with her own dramas when Marsh crossed the stripe first.

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J275 gives those radial crazies a shot in a field featuring anything from four bangers to twin turbo V8 animals.

Joe Gauci tore up qualifying with a 6.903 out of his Cortina to easily stay ahead of the rest of the field in qualifying. The class is then split with the quickest cars going in to an eliminator and the rest into a round robin battle. Gauci continued to terrorise the “Pro” elimination field capping the Jamboree off with an event low 6.85 at 213mph against Doug Day’s VK Commodore in the final, while after three rounds of Chicago Shootout, Anthony Briggs contested the other J275 final in his TF Cortina by himself.

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The tyre size restricted classes continued with Modified 10.5 and Mitch Roselund had his 2JZ motivated and very neat Dato ute haul itself to a 7.76 to top qualify. Roselund kept the ute on song and undefeated through the racing rounds eventually dispatching Matthew Kelly in the final.

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In the last of the tyre classes, Street 289, which is always hotly contested, Kevin Aouad chalked up a top qualifying nod to Pac Performance with a 8.306 from his RX8.

Qualifying though was marred by Mick McGregor’s very tidy Datsun getting banged up – fortunately McGregor was unharmed if not a little sore.

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Errol Brittain survived four rounds of racing in his Suburu Brumby – one of the more unique race cars getting around, defeating Andrew Meyers in the final.

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No introduction needs to be made about Sport Compact icon Vince Rigoli, the scene’s stayer qualified on top in Modified Compact driving the Karam Racing Mazda 323 with a 7.983.

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A .001 red light ended the Rigoli campaign in round however and it was Naomi Van Der Togt and David Richardson in the final. Richardson had been wowing fans with great front wheel hiking launches in his VW buggy while still continuing to turn on the win lights. The final was no different with Richardson easily staying in front of Van Der Togt’s Nissan S15 in the final courtesy of a gigantic holeshot.

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There was not a turbo charger or nitrous bottle within sight in All Motor. The best of the all aspirated beasts in qualifying was Jason Frost in his VW Beetle with a 11.117, Frost was sent to trailer in the semis by fellow VW racer Matt Berry. In the final Brendon Burnett dropped a tough 13.02 on a 13.00 dial on Berry to take the All Motor win.

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And finally in the well populated Street Compact class Jeremy Bartrim rose to the top of the sheets with a 10.587 in qualifying out of his Camry. But bashing her way through eliminations to the event win was Christine Thompson, defeating Sebastian Najder in the final.

Jamboree video highlights.

Check out the gallery courtesy of Drag Photos.

Videos by Drag Racing Times, Drag Photos, Drag Import Media and Drag News.


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