The Grand Opening for the nine-round Perth Motorplex track championship saw two days of smooth racing at the Kwinana venue with some good race day conditions providing the means to run some sizzling times.
The event saw Friday qualifying run for the first time for sportsman racers, Junior Dragster to Modified. While plenty of racers on track, the terraces were very bare. The cold and wind may have had something to do with it, but hopefully there are a few more people in the stands in the future. An option like free entry for Friday if you buy a Saturday ticket may be needed to encourage a few more people through the gates.
But as usual the local racers turned on a quality show for a decent race day crowd.
Jeffrey Clarke in the Hogs Breath Racing dragster made not one but two 5.76 runs in qualifying to be number one, .70 under the index. He was also above the speed record with a 244mph blast.
Shane Weston moved his K-Trans racing dragster into second with a 5.68 time in AA/D trim, a new best for the 18 year old driver.
Rob Pilkington moved into third with a 5.85 in AA/FC while a 6.74 in BB/FC from Alistair McClure (above) put him into fourth. Both were underneath the record. The new look for Hillbilly Delux came after last season’s McClure v Gregorini braking area incident.
Pino Priolo continued licensing in his new Top Doorslammer but could not put in a full power pass and would not race in eliminations.
Also continuing licensing was Marty Dack, improving with a 6.7 pass but also needing to find full throttle still.
George Separovich was driving Brett Merendino’s new Mustang. He ran a 6.95 in qualifying but then had this scary turn in eliminations, barely missing the tree as the car spun up off the line. Separovich’s driving skills were put to the test as he managed to bring the sedan back under control.
Eliminations saw Adam Croker win over McClure, Adam Marchant solo to a win but not run far enough under the index to make the final in his AA/D, Maurice Brennan run a 6.28 to beat a tyre smoking John Zappia who earlier carded a 5.82 in qualifying, Rob Pilkington take out Robin Judd, Clarke beat Wayne Keys, Daniel Gregorini get loose and pedal on a solo after South Aussie Gary Busch could not make the line and Weston shut down on the start line to give an automatic win to Separovich.
Adam Croker put in a lot of six-teen passes in his Camaro, showing some consistency that has been absent in the pass. He made the B Final where he ran a 6.13 in the now PSI-charged slammer.
This was the beginning of the end for Clarke’s night as he spun the tyres and could not recover. “I didn’t expect to come out today and go 5.76sec., the racing has been good, I had a ball. I’ll get Pilko next time,” he said.
It was Rob Pilkington who took out the victory with a 5.95. His 5.70/252 in the elimination round was his quickest and fastest past of the day. “It might have looked a bit easy but it was a hard night for us with a bit of damage along the way,” he said. “The boys put in the hard yards and we made the final and pulled out the numbers we had to.”
Super Comp’s reigning champion Allen Puglia got his season off to the right start with a win over Colin Mortimore in the final. Puglia ran as quick as 7.18 in A/G trim to take out the event. “We’ve done it with a broken diff and a 12 year old clutch so it was a good night,” he said. It was a successful night for the Puglia family as his son Nicholas won in Junior Dragster as well. Puglia was carrying new support from Big Rock Toyota on the Probe.
Colin Mortimore’s Oldsmobile was super consistent, not leaving the 8.5 second zone all weekend. It was that consistency and some good lights that saw him advance to the final, taking out number two qualifier Rocco Salvo along the way.
Mark Atkin’s colourful B/GA truck looks gorgeous on track but we hear he had some pretty bad engine damage later in the event.
Rocco Salvo was driving brother Frank’s Camaro and was running under the B/G national record. Frank said Steve Flynn would be returning to the driver’s seat next meeting.
Jamie Marshall suffered a frustrating end to his racing day with a dead battery before round one.
After dominating last season, Neil Anderson opened his 2010/11 account with another win in Competition Bike. In qualifying Anderson ran the first ever eight second time in B/SB, an 8.97. It’s an astonishing achievement for a stock wheelbase, naturally aspirated Kawasaki ZX10R. He defeated Justin Townson, Gary Arthur and Ryan Learmonth on the night to take victory. When asked if winning was getting boring, he simply said: “Not from where I’m standing.”
Here’s a different photograph to what you might normally see. This is what 240kmh on the back of Ryan Learmonth’s Suzuki looks like.
Alan Gerritsen has brought his Kawasaki back home for the first time in a few years. The CC/CBI bike had a hard time keeping the front wheel on the ground, the back wheel actually came off the ground here too.
Wayne Barrett licensed his nitro Harley, besting with a 7.38.
Justin Townson was running in Competition Bike for the first time, with the Trikework Kawasaki looking a treat.
Supercharged Outlaws ending up being a battle of attrition as car after car fell to mechanical dramas. Ian Foster’s ute was one of the few to survive. He had a solo in the elimination round and went on to face Paul Carey in the final. A 7.52 on a 7.47 dial in was too good as Carey smoked the tyres off the line.
The little Mazda RX7 with the Toyota powerplant up front charged to a 7.41 during the night. It came after a fairly troubled start to the day with lost blower belts and even a plank of wood managing to find its way through the bonnet as the car was unloaded. His reverse gear (below) was going right though.
When we saw Travis Oberg’s Torana in the pits, he had the supercharger on a table as the team worked around the engine. They got it all back together but went up in a fairly big powerstand on this run.
Steve Yozzi was one of the few drivers to make it to eliminations but then his Beemer lost fire after the burnout and he had to be pushed back.
Two ladies made it to the final of Modified with Jessica Harper up against Kirsty Cunningham. A red light from Cunningham decided the race Harper’s way. Harper’s dragster had a few issues during the night moving around in the second half of the track but she still managed to put in good passes to advance past Brad Baker, Krystal Ecclestone and Norm Butler after qualifying second.
Cunningham’s dragster is sporting a new rear wing this season to provide some top end stability on low eight second passes.
Norm Butler enjoyed his most successful event yet in his Modified dragster, breaking into the sevens for the first time and making it to the semi finals.
Top Alcohol driver Aaron Deery was playing with Brett Baile’s altered for the event. He got a bit loose on this pass, crossing the centre line.
Shawn Graham’s reverse gear was setting the standard in Modified.
Super Sedan featured its usual big field with 42 drivers qualifying. Among the cars people were keen to see at the Grand Opening was Greg Carter’s Cobalt, which broke out in the second round with an astonishingly quick 7.00. Carter was top qualifier by over a second.
Yvette Gregg might be quietly spoken but she is fearsome out on the track in her Ford Falcon. In the tough Super Sedan field she was unstoppable, taking out Michael Palmieri, Cassie Rhodes, Stuart Moresby, Alby Bakranich and then Lance Karapetkov in the final.
Karapetkov was still rapt with his runner up spot. As a former circuit racer, he was full of praise for the drag racing community and though having raced for a couple of seasons, said he never expected to make the final.
This new nitrous-assisted Nova set many hearts a flutter. Warwick Pike was the driver.
Alby Bakranich’s new Monte Carlo is already proving to be a tough contestant in Super Sedan with consistent 8.2 second times.
Samuel Gullotto got handed the keys to the family Camira and after qualifying fourth went on to make the quarter finals.
Cassie Rhodes was back in the Valiant Charger after her massive wheelstand last season. It was good to see that the front wheels were still dangling, albeit at a more moderate level.
Rob Green took his Honda to the win in Modified Bike, taking out the final with a 10.48 on a 10.35 dial in as opponent Curtis Holtam buzzed some gear changes. Green eliminated several top racers on the way to the final including Joe Bertolini, Tom Gartrell, Lindsay Wood and David Gajsek.
Holtam enjoyed his best weekend of racing yet on his quick Suzuki. Holtam’s route to the final saw him defeat Todd Patterson, Luke Nieuwhof and Brett Allen.
David Gajsek is one of the most frequent riders at Perth Motorplex, his experience paying off with a semi finals berth.
Joe Bertolini top qualified but a first round loss was not a good start for one of last season’s championship contenders.
It was an unusual final situation in Super Street with two totally new racers making it all the way through eliminations. It was Chris Korunovski (above) who was able to take the win with an 11.42 on an 11.40 in the final, certainly not the stuff of amateurs! His opponent Roger Moorhouse was not disgraced and it shall be interesting to watch how they proceed in events for the rest of the season.
Bernie Ellerby’s neat Hepatitis B Torana went to the second round, but later came to smoke things up in a grudge run.
Jake Chaisty, son of former Super Stock racer Geoff, has proved a talented racer in his own right, he made the semi finals of Super Street.
Nicholas Puglia was able to emulate his dad’s efforts in Super Comp with a win in Junior Dragster against Sam Butler. Puglia thanked his dad for being the “ATM” for his racing. Puglia defeated Jake Djruic, Nicole Adamos and Phoebe Davis along the way in the first running of Junior Dragster with the new 7.90 limit. The rookie category was won by Kane Higgins over Tyler Gavin.
Sam Butler’s neat Minprovise car took him to the runner up spot. He was also top qualifier with a .040 reaction.
Paige Gavin rolled her Junior Dragster in the braking area after her first qualifier, but was back in action later in the night. She also ran the quickest time for a JD for the weekend with a 7.91 pass.