Qualifying for Round 2 of the Summit Racing Equipment Sportsman Series at the East Coast Nationals in Sydney came to a close on Saturday with at least three national records under threat.
Super Stock’s John Kuiper and Competition Bike’s Peter Everett will both have the chance to set new elapsed time records while Matt Lisle can set a new speed record in Super Compact.
Kuiper set his stall early recording an 8.032 ET at 161.34 mph to go 0.50 seconds under the C/G index with hopes of rewriting the record in eliminations. Although happy to qualify number one, Kuiper felt he had more in the Commodore just yet.
“We’re very confident, we can go a bit faster,” he said. “The track was very marginal for us, it got a bit untidy in the second qualifier.
“We hoped to improve but we didn’t hence why we couldn’t get a good combination for the final qualifier and I was quite happy we didn’t go out because the guys had a few problems.
“(We’ll) just see how we go tomorrow and hopefully the boys don’t play with their numbers too much.”
Queenslander Peter Everett topped the list for Competition Bike running under the D/SB index by 0.53 seconds ensuring a chance to reset his own national record on Sunday. His 9.639 ET at 139.39 mph came in the first session and no one was able to catch him through two more qualifiers as the wind changed after dark.
Often in Group Two racing, competitors will back off if the race is sewn up to protect their index and remain competitive but Everett has no intention of doing that during eliminations on Sunday.
“(The conditions) were very challenging, the bike can go a lot quicker than that but for the conditions, I’m happy with what it has done so far, “ said Everett.
“Tomorrow is another day but that’s half the record. I never do (hold back to save the index). You try to do what you can to win but I don’t try and preserve records. If the record goes trying to win, it goes. That’s what it’s all about.
“You’ll never try and keep improving if the record isn’t pushed further. I’ll do what I have to do to get the final if I’m lucky enough to do that but if it takes breaking the record to do it, so be it.”
Super Compact Winternationals winner Matt Lisle qualified in first with an 8.025 ET at 193.88 mph. The elapsed time wasn’t quite good enough to trouble the AA/OM record but his speed on that pass is currently over the mph mark meaning he can reset tomorrow.
As conditions deteriorated in sessions two sand three all the Compact cars struggled to take to the track with two-time Champ Dom Rigoli wrapping up second place from Rod Penrose, Phil Karpathios and Rod Harvey.
Sydneysider Rob Coote, still in his first year of racing and fresh off a top qualifying effort in the non-championship Supercharged Shootout in Whyalla, made it two top qualifiers in his last two starts in Supercharged Outlaws.
Coote topped the list on his first pass with a 6.561 second ET at 221.63 mph. Dave McGaw and Peter Byrne are the only other drivers to reach the sixes with a second place 6.902 ET for McGaw and a 6.913 ET for Byrne in third.
Defending Top Sportsman Champion Steven Fowler has begun his campaign for back-to-back titles running 6.907 seconds at 201.16 mph to lead the field. Jason Stares is his nearest challenger with a 7.361 ET from Mitchel Sammut and Neil Maxwell.
Continuing the trend of first session top qualifiers, a 7.317 ET at 180.43 was good enough for Simon Lekias to hold first position in Modified from Martin Borg on a 7.389 ET. Joe Princi, Cory Dyson and Michael Braggs all came close with passes in the 7.40s to secure third, fourth and fifth respectively.
Thomas Leake leads Super Sedan with an 8.556 ET at 154.67 mph from Tony Armao, Ronnie Palumbo, John Beckingham and Paul Foley. Only approximately two seconds separates the entire field heading into race day.
Modified Bike Winternationals winner Ace Edwards jumped from second to first in his second qualifier to take top spot on an 8.875 ET at 150.82 mph. Daniel Selki sits just five thousandths of a second back on an 8.880 ET from Robert Simmons a further two hundredths behind.
Richard Matosevic topped Super Street qualifying after every session ending the day as number one with an 11.097 ET at 120.37 mph. Although Belinda Welch had the speed, topping out at 121.77 mph, the 11.163 ET has her in second position. Stan Nikitaras, John Kerr and Joel Duggan round out an all NSW top five.
In Junior Dragster, Joe Polito started his day out strong with an 8.007 ET but he would secure top qualifying position in the third session with an 8.006 ET. Monique Ambruosi, daughter of Top Alcohol Funny Car driver Robert Ambruosi, sits in second on an 8.025 ET from James Hazzard close behind in third on an 8.027 ET.
Victorian Warren Smith held off a strong challenge from defending Super Gas Champion Graeme Spencer in the final qualifier after his second round effort of 9.903 ET held for first. Spencer went close on a 9.916 ET from Winternationals winner Dave Gauldie on an identical time. Another pair of identical 9.222 ET’s from Roy Romeo and Dale O’Dwyer rounded out the top five.
Eliminations for Round 2 of the Summit Racing Equipment Sportsman Series are due to get underway on Sunday from 8:00am.