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The final round of the 400 Thunder Aeroflow Drag Racing Series had extra prestige for event and championship winners, as it would be the last of its name with the new National Drag Racing Series taking over from next season.

It was a long season as well, starting back in October 2021, the Super Season came to be after COVID and weather disrupted the original calendar.

Into the racing and Super Comp was a race in two for the championship, Darrin Gay and Adrian Vella were locked in battle on maximum points coming into the event. Qualifying saw Steve Sloan in his little 4 cylinder Gemini upset all the heavy hitters with a 8.400 on a 9.00 CC/OM index – that is a monster 0.6 under the record. Michael Buckley made the trek from Perth with his RR/SM rotary powered RX7 to slot into third 7.079 (-.521) ahead of championship contender Vella’s E/GA 8.434 (-.426).

Gay qualified eight in the A/G Oldmobile, but his championship hopes were dashed in round one with a harrowing -.001 red light. Vella knocked up a win over Wade Moran and the championship went to the Victorian. Vella reached the semi finals before he was stopped by Buckley’s tough rotary who went through to the final to face local Jai Schluter and his high stepping Cavalier. Unfortunately we were robbed of a great final when a small oil leak forced the rotor to be shut down, and Schluter ran solo for the Winternationals win.

In the index class for the two wheel fanatics of Performance Bike, Nathan Ward and Jon Mengel had ridden for maximum points over the season, with the previous number one and two plate holders in father and son duo Chris and Ken Collin still in the hunt.

NSW’s Brett Copping aboard Mick Donohue’s DD/CB Hayabusa topped the sheets in qualifying with a 7.961 (-.589), ahead of Nathan Ward B/AB 7.776 (-.174), Ken Collin A/AB 7.678 (-.072), Chris Collin B/AB 7.899 (-.051) and Jon Mengel CC/AB 7.825 (-.025).

All the championship combatants escaped the first round, however Mengel red lit against Ward in round two assuring the title would go to the Hayabusa rider, and Ken defeated son Chris. New champion Ward earnt the bye through to the final and he would face Ken Collin who dispatched Joe Marshall in the semi final. Ward cut the tree down in the final with a .034 light to Collin’s .101, and would not be headed for the event and championship double.

There was no championship awarded in Extreme Bike with not enough rounds completed, so it was all to play for in winning the Winternationals. There was some mechanical carnage with only three bikes making round one. In the end, Dillan Lacey was shut down in the final against Craig Edwards who ran 7.71 on a solo for the win.

Tanya Thompson in her Commodore could not be headed for the Pro Radial championship for the eighth mile warriors.

Jaidyn Seng top qualified with a 4.67 at 153mph, and would find himself against his sibling Caleb in the final. It was Caleb’s first event with his Commodore, and had defeated Judy Pukis and Thompson inroute to the battle against his brother. Unfortunately, a small leak on the start line ended a chance of a dream debut for Caleb and Jaidyn shot off to a 4.70 win light.

Reigning Supercharged Outlaws champion Josh Fletcher would again retain the championship, the Queensland racer in an unbeatable championship position against nearest rival Toby Austin going into the event.

Fletcher was upset in round one against Matthew McKnight’s Willys, and McKnight would fight all the way to the final. Austin would garner some measure of revenge, the young funny car pilot made his way into the final on the back of a semi final win over Bill Fletcher – who had lost nothing after a year out rebuilding his dragster following last Winternational’s accident. For McKnight, the Willys had a wounded driveline an elected just to stage and hope for a lot of luck in the final, the trick shot didn’t come off and Austin took the win with a 6.53 on a 6.50.

Two of Top Sportsman’s heavy hitters, Steven Fowler and Daniel Morris were engaged in the championship battle going into the Winternationals on the maximum. Fowler was upset in round two with a screamer of a race against Matthew Barron, a .019 to .054 advantage at the tree to the Barron Beretta, before he also nailed the stripe with a 8.243 (8.24DI) gave Fowler’s normally great 6.874 (6.87DI) no hope. Morris defeated Steve Somer in round two to win the championship before he eliminated himself in round three by rolling the beams.

Barron continued on his winning ways into the final where he defeated Dave Gauldie with a .018 reacting 8.236 (8.22DI) to 7.414 (7.39DI) from the Gauldie Cutlass.

In Modified there was a three way tussle for the 400 Thunder championship, Gavin List and Dallas Everett were tied on the 400 point cap, and Andy Driver was lurking in his dragster just 15 points behind.

List was upset by Joe Zullo’s little six-banger FED in round one running perfect on his dial in to take the W, and Driver broke out by a bunch trying to run down a holeshot to Craig Davies’ FED. Everett survived the round one carnage beating a red lighting Savos Pandelakis to claim the last 400 Thunder Modified championship.

Everett fought his way to the semi finals where he was stopped by the dragster of Simon Barlow, who would go on to face Zullo, who was having a day out in the FED in the final. A .016 reaction from Barlow tattooed Zullo to the tree in the final, and the six second charged easily ran down the FED covering him to the stripe for the event win.

The championship race in Super Sedan was against Carl ‘Chevy’ Taylor his his big Bubbletop against Daniel List’s Torana. The round one upsets continued, this time it was Taylor’s own doing with a -.012 red light, while List would take the round one win and with it the championship.

As racing shook out across six rounds the final came down to Ace Edwards who had recently stepped off his bike to try a hand with four wheels and Damien Morris. In the final, Edwards left with the start line advantage in the Pontiac Firebird, and kept the nose infront to the stripe with a 10.084 (10.01DI) against the Monaro’s 10.056 (10.04DI).

It was tight at the top in Modified Bike with six riders all in the hunt at the beginning of round one of racing. In the first round we saw Brandon Lacey and Rachel Wilkins end up on the trailer and the title chase was down to four.

Championship leaders Sean Ricketts and Brian Alvisio duked it out in round two, with Ricketts defeating the defending champion 9.536 (9.35DI) to 9.260 (8.88DI) and move on, while another contender in Steven Day also was ousted. Tammy Goldthorpe advanced but at 50 points behind Ricketts she would run out of rounds to close the gap to the new two-time 400 Thunder champion.

Not perturbed by the championship just out of her grasp, Goldthorpe stormed into the final round against Scott Mutch, where she then added yet another winner’s trophy to her ever growing collection with an 8.830 (8.82DI) over a breaking out Mutch.

There were four racers with a realistic shot at the title in Super Street, and as usual the class delivered a tough field of racers. Also, once again the Winternationals turn the tables on the favourites with defending champion Shawn Taskis eliminated in round one thanks to Chris Zammit dumping a .001 light on the points leader. The championship ended up being decided in round two, as Craig Warren and Deano Gorman fell. Both racers need to go one round better than Brett Kelly who also went down in the same round, but had done enough to take home the championship with his big Falcon.

At the end of the day, Tony Harrington was throwing down against Timothy Welsh Pledge in the final. The former Wild Bunch racer in Harrington unfortunately picked off a -.085 cherry with his Commdore in the final handing a Winternationals win to Pledge’s VK.

There was no championship awarded in Real Street, but a good field of tough streeters rocked up to the Winters. Sarah Bourke unluckily dropped a -.007 red light in the final, gifting stress free win to Paul Nielsen with his Falcon. It was still an event to remember for Bourke, who was proposed to on the start line by boyfriend and Modified Bike racer Johnny Lewis during qualifying – she said ‘yes’ for the record.

Dakoda Bray had a challenge to rein in Liezel Gouws for the Junior Dragster championship, and with Gouws breaking out by one-thousandth in round one, Bray had to win the event – however a red light in round three saw Bray’s title charge end.

After beating his sister in the semi final, Nixon Cannuli lined up against Rustie Willshire in the final. Willshire had the start line jump, but was too quick to the strip breaking out with a 7.932 (7.96DI) throwing the win back to Cannuli on his safe 7.966 (7.94DI).

Finally Junior Drag Bike continued its growth. While no championship was on the line James Lowday defeated Alex Redman in the final to claim the first competitive hit out for the fledgling class.

With that, the 400 Thunder era comes to a close and all focus will be on the new National Drag Racing Championship for the new season.

For full round results check out these links:





Aeroflow Performance Parts Catalogue

Drag News Magazine