The night the lights went out in Kwinana

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A power outage brought an early close to Perth Motorplex’s Jet Car Max in one of the most unusual events in Western Australian drag racing history.

A transformer fire just outside the venue was believed to be the cause, with the event to be continued this coming Friday, the second of January.

The power outage was the last in a series of dramas, the most major of which was a timing system failure just as the main 6pm program started, requiring half an hour to get fixed up and going again.

On the plus side there were some new features for patrons of the Motorplex to enjoy. The new read out boards were up and running and the massive super screen on the startline bridge was also operational for the first time. Amazing for patrons and certainly interesting to deal with from a photography viewpoint.

With results not yet online and a continuation of the event imminent, we will hold off on a detailed report, but here are a few tidbits from the day followed by a gallery.

John Zappia made all the headlines when he belted out a 5.718 in the first qualifying session for Top Comp, smashing his previous PB of 5.745. The pass looked quick from the start as the Holden Monaro carried the front wheels to almost quarter track.

In the compulsory qualifying session Zappia was trying hard again but the car shook at the top of first gear and he had to pedal for a slower run.

Shane Weston ran a 5.61 despite tyre shake from the Top Alcohol dragster.

Rhiannon Allison was the new starlet of the jet dragsters, driving ‘Felicity Dragwell’ to a win over Chuck Haynes in the only jet pairing of the night before the lights went out.

Pieter De Wit returned in Iron Horse and made a safe 1000 feet shut off pass.

Craig Glassby was out trying to get a handle on the increased overdrive his Top Alcohol Funny Car is now running. Just to add to the level of difficulty for the day, he was coping with a broken foot he received while loading the trailer the previous day.

Glassby’s crew chief Greg Gower was there to keep things under control though.

Kyle Putland might have needed a few Panadol after a day of dealing with tyre shake.

Good to see some glamour coming back thanks to Shane Kosteszyn’s promotional team.

Norbert Claite’s now supercharged Jaguar lost an oil seal in the burnout, leaving quite a puddle on the track but thankfully no major damage for the new powerplant.

Anthony Begley had a new wrap, new cylinder heads and a bunch of other gear on his Top Alcohol Funny Car but had diff troubles on the night. He is now off to Portland to race Aeroflow Funny Cars before returning to Perth for the Home Group Nitro Slam where he will drive Rodney Bailey’s Chemical Warfare.

Brodie Pilkington has been taking father Rob’s Top Alcohol Funny Car for a few steers lately. He finally got his first five with a 5.96 but unfortunately the Alutech car lost a fuel line which leaned out the motor and caused a backfire with a fair bit of damage.

Ben Stevens was getting his licence for Top Fuel Motorcycle. This bike is his uncle Kim’s old ride. Stevens has a pretty unique back story, having battled both cancer and having to have his leg amputated from the knee down after a stunt bike accident. His first day at the strip on the nitro Harley went near perfectly and he should be one to watch in the future.

Here’s an image to show that massive super screen and its rather interesting effect on photos! Make sure to check out the rest of our photos below.

All photos are available for purchase by contacting Luke Nieuwhof at


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