In its fourth consecutive annual visit to the Desert Nationals at Alice Springs Inland Dragway, the Summit Racing Equipment Sportsman Series has lit up the Northern Territory venue.
Three qualifying rounds were held for all brackets, with the Summit Racing Equipment Sportsman Series racers to complete one further qualifying session tomorrow (Sunday 17 July) morning ahead of eliminations racing.
Currently top qualified are Colin ‘Baldy’ Sainsbury (Modified Bike – 9.13/141mph), Vlado Turic (Super Sedan – 8.79/154mph), Leanne Braggs (Modified – 4.64/150mph), Darren Saliba (Top Sportsman – 4.65/150mph), Adam Murrihy (Supercharged Outlaws – 4.31/166mph), Jamie Chaisty (Super Comp – 5.92), Sam Campbell (Super Street – 10.35/132mph) and Stephanie Davies (Summit Racing Equipment Junior Dragster – 11.90).
This weekend heralds the first time a national event has run categories across the full quarter-mile distance at the venue, following recent upgrades put in place by the NT government and Chief Minister Adam Giles. Super Sedan, Modified Bike and Super Street all competed across the quarter-mile; while in a last-minute change due to cold conditions in the desert, Top Doorslammer, Super Comp, Top Sportsman, Modified and Supercharged Outlaws all ran the eighth-mile distance alongside Summit Racing Equipment Junior Dragster, which always traverses the shorter distance.
For Chaisty, his 5.928 top qualifying run in Super Comp is 0.301 seconds under the Australian H/MSA Super Stock index and quicker than his record of 5.93 seconds, previously set at ASID in 2014. If he can back this performance up tomorrow, he could reset the record.
“We are pretty happy with being on top at this stage – we changed a few things throughout the day, so we are pretty happy with how things turned out,” said Chaisty, who thanked his dad for his support.
“The day went all right – we struggled a little bit with the track like everyone, but it got better as the day went on, so we are learning.
“Tomorrow, we will have to see if we have got enough in it for the last (qualifying session) – hopefully no one can take us off, that would be nice!”
Braggs enjoyed her first full passes with a new engine on her way to her top performing time in Modifed.
“I have a new engine in, which we had in for Sydney – we had done two quarter-mile passes in it and in those we had a few transmission issues, so these were our first full passes for any distance. We are wrapped to have top qualified so far,” said Braggs.
“It was a cold day, but the runs went fine. I was very sceptical about how the car was going to handle, and how we would handle the track. The Doorslammers and Outlaws had gone to the eighth-mile distance and when we were in Sydney we had run 191 miles per hour with the engine, so we were a little concerned about the quarter-mile.
“After a meeting and a discussion, to everyone’s credit the distance was reduced to eighth-mile which I think was the safest thing to do. On the first pass I was still very hesitant, but we went as straight as a die and in all three passes, I couldn’t complain – it went perfectly.
“As far as tomorrow, the aim is to go fast and race well!”