Top Fuel rookie Kelly Bettes showed the way to the experienced veterans of the class on night one of the Santo’s Summer Thunder at Sydney Dragway.
The first run of the evening for Bettes saw the young Queenslander make the quickest pass of the night with a 3.87 at over 494kmh in sweltering conditions. Winner of the last event, Peter Xiberras, recorded a 3.98 at 498 kmh, with the reigning national champion Wayne Newby in third with a 4.02. American Ashley Sanford claimed the number five position, just behind her Rapisarda Autosport International teammate Damien Harris. Fan favourite Terry Sainty recorded the team’s first full run on their new car, a 4.205 that placed them in 6th. Multi-time former national champ Phil Read rounded out the 7-car field with 2 early shut offs, besting in a 4.99.
Bettes was on track for a similar pass later in the night until the blower belt departed from the dragster, which is again carrying the ‘My Little Anita’ livery in memory of Junior Dragster racer Anita Board.
In Pro Slammer, the early pace was set by Paul Mouhayet before a plethora of 5-second runs fell in one of the most exciting sessions seen this season. John Zappia bested the field with a 5.65 at 408 kmh, with Ben Bray, Mouhayet, Scott MacLean, Mark Belleri and Sam Fenech all recording 5-second runs. Michelle Davies also recorded her personal best with a 6.02, showing that she is coming to grips with her new Mustang following a successful showing in Queensland recently as well.
Chris Matheson set the pace in Top Bike with a very early shut off 6.45, with West Aussie Mark Drew second with a 6.67. Not all went to plan with Drew’s Nitro Harley however, check out the picture below!
The nitrous bikes of Rod Barchet (7.00) and Michael Dwinger (7.83) placed third and fourth respectively, with Chris Porter and Adam Layton rounding out the field in fifth and sixth.
Pro Alcohol had the returning Wayne Price atop the standings with a 5.79, with current championship leader Steve Reed in second with an early shut off 5.97. Price’s run was the only full pass of either Pro Alcohol session, with most racers electing to launch the cars to half track to gain valuable data for race day on Saturday. The field was rounded out by Russell Mills, Brett White, Rob Ambruosi and Chris Hargrave.
Day 2 of the Santo’s Summer Thunder continues today, January 20, 2018 at Sydney Dragway. The event will feature kids’ entertainment including a meet and greet with Chase and Marshall from Nick Jnr’s Paw Patrol, jumping castles and autograph sessions.
Tickets are available at the gate.