Day one of South Coast Raceway’s South Coast Nationals, featuring the latest round of the Summit Racing Equipment Sportsman Series, has seen more than 160 racers impress across three rounds of qualifying ahead of eliminations racing Sunday (3 December).
At the close of Saturday’s proceedings, it was Luca Lamattina (Summit Racing Equipment Junior Dragster), Des Woolstencroft (Super Gas), Bill Farrugia (Super Street), Shane Walker (Modified Bike), Tony Miskelly (Super Sedan), Simon Barlow (Modified), Dean Cleary (Top Sportsman), Davydd Estcourt (Supercharged Outlaws), Matt Forbes (Super Comp) and Edge Mallis (Competition Bike) who claimed the Decoglaze Glass Splashbacks Top Qualifier Medallions for their respective classes.
In Super Street, Bill Farrugia is making his comeback to the driver’s seat this weekend, with the South Coast Nationals marking his first seat time in his Ford Cortina in a number of years.
“I am very happy, I really did come here to try and Top Qualify, so I am so happy to have done that. I haven’t raced for a while, so I was hoping the car would run that number and it has, and it has also been consistent,” said Farrugia, who has been busy helping other racers with their cars as crew of late.
“It was good to be back in the seat, it has been a while, so I am just getting back to being used to the car. We haven’t done any testing or anything.
“We will be happy if we go past the first round tomorrow, that is the first step, hopefully we can do that and then take it from there. The car is running consistently, so it is all up to me really; I need to cut a good light and keep going from there.
“To get a good result would be a really big achievement for me, I would be very happy. I really enjoy coming here, it is a good facility,” he added, while thanking his crew – Adrian, Calleja and his son Jackson – as well as Expert Cabinets and Coburg Tyres.
In Modified Bike, this event marks a swansong for former national champion, Shane Walker, who is riding a bike leant to him by a fellow former Summit Racing Equipment Sportsman Series champ, Tony Frost.
“The Bend was supposed to be the farewell and as the Destroyer sold quicker than I thought, Tony Frost came to my rescue. I had trouble at The Bend with the brake lever position and Tony offered to change it and let me run again in Portland, and you don’t look gift horses like that in the mouth! I thank him profusely,” Walker said.
“The plan was to test on Friday night and we got down the track but I didn’t get a decent enough burnout in so it spun pretty bad and I just rode it down, but today in the first run I got my act together and ran a five-sixty which I was pretty happy with!
“In the second round I stalled it in the burnout again, and then in the third run – and this is where I throw Frosty under the bus a bit – he put me in second gear, and I thought I was on a bucking bronco!” he laughed. “Even then it still went all right, going five-seventy!
“We are fairly happy; we have just changed the brake lever a bit more then and we are having fun. I gave away some hats and stuff today and will have some more to give away tomorrow too and that will pretty much be ‘the curtain.’ I might have one or two cameos here or there, but nothing else planned for the moment, and I can’t wear out Frosty’s bike!
“This is only the third time I have Top Qualified over here, and the five-sixty is probably an eighth mile PB for the last 10-15 years at least, it has been a long time since I went that quick and it certainly got my attention this morning, I couldn’t wipe the smile off my face!
“To get a win tomorrow would mean I could go out on a even bigger high and dine out on it for the next 12 months! A big thank you to Tony for the loan of the bike and to Anthony for helping crew, and also Penrite and Jordan Speed and Customs.”
In Super Gas, Des Woolstencroft has special plans already in mind for his Decoglaze Glass Splashbacks Top Qualifier Medallion.
“My wife doesn’t want me to bring home anymore trophies, so I proposed that I give them away if I win them. In Mildura when I top qualified there I gave it to Dan Vickery’s daughter who had just started in Juniors, and this one is earmarked for her sister who is also thinking about getting into Junior Dragster as well which I think is really great,” he explained.
“We are really only just coming back ourselves; I have managed to complete maybe one or two meetings since we decided to get back into it and so it is really good to get another Top Qualifier result. Unfortunately, I missed running a time in the second qualifier as I rolled in too deep when we were restaged after an issue, so I was hoping to run that last number in Q2 and then go even better in Q3, but ah well. All of us Super Gassers have a little bit of a pool as well for the Top Qualifier for a bit of fun, so that is a good start to the weekend too.
“I am getting a bit old, and my reactions are slow, so I will have to improve on those otherwise I am not going to cut the mustard tomorrow,” he laughed, “but yes I would be over the moon if we can win on Sunday.
“If I can get that Gold ANDRA Christmas Tree it will be going to my son Jarrod who has started racing in Super Gas himself, but had a big crash at The Bend so is here helping me out this weekend instead of racing himself,” Woolstencroft concluded, while thanking Jarrod for all of his help as well as his fellow Super Gas racers.
Sunday’s South Coast Nationals racing program will commence at 10.00am, with the finals scheduled to hit the track from approximately 4.00pm local time. For more information, visit www.southcoastraceway.com.au
For more from ANDRA, visit www.andra.com.au
Photos thanks to BrightDesign.com.au