Thunderstorm in the Desert

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Conditions were cool but the action was hot during qualifying for Round 8 of the Aeroflow Sportsman Drag Racing Championship at the 2014 Desert Nationals presented by Supercheap Auto and Shannons Insurance.

Under clear blue skies at Alice Springs Inland Dragway, stand out performances from Wayne Keys and Jake Chaisty saw both go under their respective 660 feet national records.

Keys went under the AA/AP record by 0.308 seconds with a 4.032 second pass while Chaisty went under the H/MSA record by 0.401 with a 5.939, good enough to take top spot for the day. The West Aussie will also have a shot at resetting the mile per hour record on race day clocking 114.80 mph.

“I’m just happy we top qualified, the car is going really well, we’ve gone fast and it’s fun racing a different track,” he said. “It’s a lot different to racing a quarter mile.

“I didn’t really know what to expect (from the track). Doing the first pass this morning it was like, oh it’s over. I’m at the finish line and I’d just got to top gear and that was it. But it was really cool and different.

“I’ll just go out there (tomorrow) and try my best again and treat it like another qualifier at the end of the day.”


While some of the best Supercharged Outlaws racers in the country have descended on Alice Springs this weekend, it was local resident Dan Hodgins who powered to pole position holding off Australian Champion Luke Marsden with a 4.211. 

Marsden was consistent all day but his 4.35 was only good enough for second as all but one team reached the four-second zone on the half-track distance setting up a classic shootout on race day.

“It feels fantastic,” said Hodgins. “Just to get the consistency tomorrow will be the hard thing, we’re a bit out of touch with the consistency side of it so it’ll be a learning curve for us tomorrow.

“If we go a round I’ll be very happy! Luke (Marsden) will be very hard to beat so we’ll go first round and see how we go from there.”

As a committee member of the Central Australian Drag Racing Association responsible for helping to organise the event, the quality field of drivers and support from the local community buoyed Hodgins who can’t wait to get racing on Sunday.

“It’s fantastic. For two records to be touched on today in Super Comp it’s fantastic. The track is there, that is our biggest achievement to get the track right so the racers are happy. 

“Fans on Sunday can expect some tight side by side racing. The track is there, it should be right to the finish line. Everyone is talking about how flat our track is compared to the rest of the country so it’s great.”

Rounding out the Supercharged Outlaws field is Jake Donnelly in third from Adam Murrihy, Paul Stephen, Rodney Hansen, Darryl Walford, Matt Watts, Doina Day, Chris Van’t Hof, Justin Russell, Mark Kuhn and Mark Hunt.

Elsewhere in Group 3, Darren Saliba came through in the last pass of the third session to take number one spot in Super Sedan on a 4.915. Troy Wittwer dropped to second as a result with David Brokenshire, Vlado Turic, David Yanko, Tim Wells, John Kapiris, Bruce Martin, Noel Smith, George Tipouikidis, Brett Matthew and Lenny Cole completing the field.

Modified Bike kicked off with some fireworks as Niki Zakrewski got out of shape in the first session and put the bike down just after leaving the start line. Displeased she dusted herself off and recovered to qualify in thirteenth.

Greg Taylor was the leading man with a 5.542 in his second outing good enough to give him top spot. Brett Allen is second from Wayne Patterson, Tom Gartrell, Todd Johnson, Joe Khoury, Edgell Mallis, Brian Hotker, Brandt McGlade and David Carroll.

And finally in Junior Dragster, Katrina Bowman and Toby Austin came out all guns blazing in their final pass of the day but it was Bowman who came away as top qualifier with an 8.001 from Austin’s 8.069. They lead Australian Champion Brayden Naylor, Stuart Moorhouse, Naylor, Burns, Alanah Cope, Hayley Percival, Brooke Harris and Lachlan Cole in tenth.

A long oil delay rendered the fourth and final qualifiers obsolete as time constraints prevented the full qualifying schedule from being completed.



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