The first Eastern Conference event of the Aeroflow National Sportsman Championship, part of the recently established National Drag Racing Championship, has delighted racers and spectators alike in picture perfect weather conditions at Springmount Raceway.
Racing for seven NDRC brackets was held across the day and into the evening, complemented by a world first performance from the Aeroflow Wheelstanders, a bustling off-track entertainment precinct complete with jumping castles and obstacle mazes, as well as show-stopping fireworks.
When the final passes were complete this evening, it was Kay Swenson (Real Street), Mike Pullella (Super Street), Ned McQuade (Junior Dragster), Daniel List (Super Sedan), Jon Mengel (Performance Bike), Steve Twine (Modified Bike) and Daniel Morris (Top Sportsman) who hoisted the event winning Christmas Tree trophies.
These racers took the victories in their respective finals over runners-up, Thomas Rowan (Real Street), Mark Peachey (Super Street), Charlie Nurzenski (Junior Dragster), Anthony Mangano (Super Sedan), Russell Bell (Modified Bike) and Tony Whyatt (Top Sportsman), following three rounds of Chicago Shootout racing.
Earlier in the day, Christian Schneeberger (Real Street), Ben Walker (Super Street), Tegan Crocker (Junior Dragster), Angelo Tadini (Super Sedan), Mengel (Performance Bike), Russell Bell (Modified Bike) and Steven Somer (Top Sportsman) were also celebrated for taking out the Top Qualifying honours for their respective brackets. At the close of qualifying, Mike Sutherst was also heralded as the top qualifier for Extreme Bike, however when Joe Khoury had to withdraw before the start of racing due to problems with his bike, the bracket was unable to proceed due to insufficient numbers.
Also impressing were the Aeroflow Wheelstanders of Shelby Leahy (Miss Behavin) and Chelsea Leahy (Nitro Sherriff). When the sisters took to the track three times across the afternoon and evening, it marked the first time two women had raced Wheelstanders against each other anywhere in the world.
In the battle for NDRC points, the Chicago Shootout format ensured racers and spectators alike enjoyed as much racing as possible at the North Queensland facility.
In Super Street, Mike Pullella and Mark Peachey put on an exceptionally close double break-out race to the finish in their final, with Kelso racer Pullella ultimately taking the victory in his Holden Monaro. The pair faced off after having earlier successfully dispatched Matthew Cotton, Clint Tuttle and Antonino Chisari; and Bob Conley, Hayley Scott and Ryan Brosnan respectively.
“We weren’t even going to be able to come up for starters because of stuff at home, but at the last minute we entered, 10 minutes from the cut off time,” Pullella said.
“So, we went up, unorganised, but it was a good day. I had some issues with trying to stage and issues with the car performing, but it just shows you that anything can happen.
“I was lucky on the first one, as my opponent was a bit wide on the dial-in, and in the final against Mark Peachey, that was probably the best race I have ever had. It was a double break-out run and just the best run, right to the end we had no idea who was going to get there first, it was anyone’s race. I am really glad he got the runner-up, he was a tough racer.
“The Wheelstanders were great too, and the staff, the event was well done and smooth, we had a fantastic time. I would like to also say thank you to my team mate, Antonino Chisari, KTMR Racing, Mark Peachey and the Peachey family, while dedicating this win to a family friend who lost his life a couple of weeks ago, Wally Rogers – this is for him.”
Super Sedan saw Daniel List and Anthony Mangano face off for the Christmas Tree trophy, with Glenlee racer List taking the win in his Holden Torana. The pair had each booked their spot in the final showdown following races against Ron Howarth, John Piotto and Brian Shorey; and Brian Shorey, Greg Smith and David McKirdy respectively.
“We are really happy with the result. It was a big day and there was plenty of close racing, and it was a real tough race in the final with Anthony – we have raced each other back and forth with several close races over the years, and he was right up there in the championship last year too when I was fortunate enough to get it,” List said.
“We love coming up to Springmount. I have had a lot of luck here too, this is the fourth time I have raced up here and we have managed to walk away with three Gold trees, so I can’t ask for much more than that!
“It was a good day, we had a pretty solid field, and we are pretty happy. Thank you to my wife for all of her support, as well as to my mum and dad for continually supporting me with this – I would have never gotten into racing without the old man, he is the one who got me into it. And thank you also to all the visiting racers who came up and supported the event. We hope to see everyone at Benaraby in October, it is our local event so we would be mad not to go to that one!” he grinned.
Performance Bike and Modified Bike had fans of all things two-wheeled entertained, with Rocklea’s Jon Mengel taking the victory in his Suzuki GSXR1000 in a solo final after rival Ken Collin was unable to proceed past the first round, while in Modified Bike, Steve Twine took the win over top qualifier Russell Bell. Twine, of Woree, and his Honda CBR1000 took the win over Bell following round one and two wins over Laeith Skinner and Marty Caruana and a round two bye, while Bell had enjoyed a round one solo before emerging successful from battles against Peter Cambieras and Steven Day.
In Real Street, local Barrine racer Kay Swenson was ecstatic to take the victory over her husband, Thomas Rowan, in her Ford Mustang Fastback. Swenson and Rowan headed to the final after having taken earlier victories over Dierdree Viero, Tony Villella and Craig Collis; and top qualifier Schneeberger, Jenny Cavallaro and Debra Crabbe respectively.
Top Sportsman meanwhile provided plenty of action across three rounds of racing plus the final, with Fernvale racer Daniel Morris and his Pontiac Grand Prix taking out the big trophy over Tony Whyatt following earlier successes over Elio Quintieri and Aaron Strong in rounds one and two ahead of a round three solo. Whyatt meanwhile had taken on Aaron Strong and Matthew Foster in the opening rounds before also enjoying a round three bye run.
In Junior Dragster, Ned McQuade was victorious over runner-up Charli Nurzenski, with Ned’s place in the final following round one and two victories over Ruby Somer and Grace Somer, and a third round loss to Ashleigh Pinkstone, while Nurzenski had taken on Remmylee Lelli and Grace Somer for round one and three wins, while suffering a loss to Ruby Somer in round two.
Sportsman competitors looking to secure points in the NDRC title chase will now head to Mildura’s Sunset Strip for the Sunset Nationals (Western Conference – September 16/17) and to Benaraby Dragway (Eastern Conference – 7 October). For further information, visit www.nationaldrags.com.au
To learn more about the NDRC, visit www.ndrc.tv
Photos by Caleb Montiadis, 5th.Focus