Willowbank track championship finale shapes season ending points

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The penultimate round of the Willowbank Raceway track championship took place under clear blue skies on May 19.


A warm May day gave way to a cool pleasant evening in which a healthy 112 strong field had their last chance to gain points prior to the season ending Fuchs Winternationals.

Many of the track championship points battles are going to go right down to the wire at the Winternationals with the added pressure of the interstate competitors thrown in the mix.

There were 2 unfortunate accidents on the day, the first involving Troy Spelmans awesome Rotary powered Datsun ute which tipped on its side after a wheels up launch and slid into the opposite side wall.  The Ute erupted in flames and there were some frantic moments getting Troy out of the car.  The other incident saw Adam Solomon tear the right hand rear wheel out of his long serving Capri super Sedan sending the car towards the centre of the track narrowly missing the Christmas tree.  

The Robert West driven Shack Attack nostalgia nitro funny car of Paul Shackleton made 3 passes in test mode.  The car was a bullet to sixty foot with a 0.998 second clocking with a best half-track time of 4.600coming from the shut off passes 

Stewart Prior was also testing on Nitro in his Fuel Altered.  This car is awesome to watch and once the team get it down the track it will be fast.  A 1.026 sixty foot,3.996 half-track followed by a shutting off 6.73 quarter mile time was the best for a day rumoured to be the last time the chassis will wear the altered body.

Peter Zelow top qualified his A/DA in Super comp with a 0.54 under 6.802 second pass.  Zelow then defeated Brad McIlroy and Fellow A/DA competitor Tony Bellert in the 2 round format to qualify for the final where he strapped another wheel standing 6 second pass on Mark Slater to get the winners trophy.  Peter leads Slater by 8 points in the track championship chase. 

Mark Slater has been a strong supporter of the bracket this season and was rewarded today by coming from 6th qualifying position to make the final where unfortunately for Mark he couldn’t match the sub index performances of Zelow.  A good Winternationals campaign however could see Slater in with a chance of a track championship.    

Reece McGregor ran a world record 7.53 second pass for an AWD car during super comp qualifying running AA/SM trim. 

Track officials and the Mazfix crew come to the aid of Troy Spelman

Darren Fry ran a PB of 6.656 at 197 mph to top qualify in supercharged Outlaws.  Unfortunately the pass resulted in some minor mechanical damage which prevented Darren from taking part in the nights racing.  The team will have the car all fixed up for the upcoming Winternationals. 

Josh Fletcher qualified 9th in the field of 12 outlaws cars and fought his way past Christine Steffens and Leigh Ryan to grab a finals birth.  When his competitor for the final was unable to front Josh took the sensible option of staging and shutting down to save parts ahead of the most important event of the year.  Josh is now 2nd behind Fiona Reed in the track championship points. 

Vartan Bedrossian was to face Josh Fletcher in the final of outlaws however he was unable to front for the final handing an easy win to Josh Fletcher.

Matthew McKnight ran his 1st 6 second pass in qualifying, stopping the clocks in 6.975 seconds at 197 mph in his Studebaker.

The beautiful 510 Chev powered 1941 Willys of Allan Ray qualified well in 8th spot with a 7.321 second time slip.  Unfortunately Allan was another racer unable to front for round 1   

Darryl Woods was testing this new outlaws Falcon.  A late out of session pass of 7.05 at 202 mph showed great promise. 

The modified qualifying sheet was headed by Ben Diggles in the Watson/Diggles FJ20 powered dragster.  The CC/MD managed an impressive 7.021 second blast at 187mph. 

Blaze Hansen defeated a Ben Diggles and Kevin Morton in round 1 and 2 respectively with both opponents red lighting.   Round 3 saw a superior reaction setup victory over Andrew Pinkstone before a semi-final win over Andrew Pinkstone setup a final round battle with Mark Allan.  A 9.65 on 9.60 dial in was enough to score the win when Allan spun the tyres off the start line.  Blaze leads the track championship by 20 points from Bob Frawley.

Commentator, photographer, track official and racer Mark Allan made a long awaited return to the Modified ranks in his dragster.  It takes a damn good racer to come back after 5 years out of the seat and defeat Graeme Frawley and Scott Bettes on your way to a final round at your first event.  Unfortunately for Mark, he spun the tyres out of the hole in the final. 

Wade Moran was yanking the wheel high on every pass in modified.  Wade ran a best 8.11 in his round 2 loss to Scott Bettes.

The ford Probe of Neil Maxwell had the performance to top qualify in super sedan in 8.118 seconds.  Neil defeated Dan Donnelly in round 1 before going down in round 2 to Rick Neilsen. 

Darren Doeblien was very lucky to win super sedan after red lighting in the second round against Adam Solomon.  Fortunately for Darren as mentioned earlier the Capri lost a wheel sending it across the centre line.  Doeblien didn’t look back going all the way to the winners circle.

Super Sedan runner up Rick Neilsen now leads the track championship by only 5 points over round 2 loser Kevin Landgridge. 

The start of Adam Solomon’s wild ride. 

Long-time racer Darren Veal burns out in the 466 cube bug Eye Sprite.  Darren qualified 4th with an 8.871 but lost in round 1.   

After a centre line crossing first attempt, 8.184 seconds was all it took for Michael Mitchel to top the Modified Bike qualifying order aboard his 1400cc Kawasaki. 

Kevin Cleeve used a better reacting 9.25 on a 9.21 dial in to win the final round of Modified Bike over Phil White.  Phil sits in 3rd place in the points behind Tammy Goldthorpe and Dan Selki. 

The modified bike runner up trophy went to Phil White who ran a losing 9.858 in the final aboard his ZX12 Kawasaki. 

Roxbee Coultas put on a great show in the burnout aboard the Harley.  A 9.76 was the best qualifying pass of the day before Roxbee progressed all the way to the semi-finals before being defeated by eventual winner Kevin Cleeve.

Blair Pennington was wheel standing all day on the Triumph.

Jason Cocking had a good day at the track with a top qualifying and runner up effort.  After overcoming recent ignition problems he ran an 11.04 in qualifying and then defeated championship contender Neil Tschutura and Lucas Holz before a solo in the semi-final.  Jason red lighted away any chance in the final against now championship runaway Rob Harrington.

With his win In Super Street Rob Harrington now holds a comfortable 35 point lead in the track championship. 

At the top of the 14 Junior Dragster competitors was top qualifier Caleb Oberg who ran an 8.008 second pass.  Caleb couldn’t keep the momentum going into racing however, going down the runner up Dale Duffy in round 1. 

Acacia Schwarz was lucky to win the final with a slower reaction time redeemed when her opponent broke out.  Schwarz is one of 4 junior competitors on 70 points in the championship which is now led by runner up Dale Duffy on 105 points.

A great result for Dale Duffy with his runner up points giving him the championship lead going into the last event. 

The beautiful Corvette roadster driven by David Gauldie managed a top qualifying 9.939 in Super Gas   

Simon Isherwood used a stout 0.008 light in the final round followed by a 9.92 to add another Super Gas trophy to his collection.

Super Gas newcomer Scott Boyd impressed everyone at his 1st competitive event by claiming a big scalp in David Gauldie in round 1 and going on to grab runners up honours for the event.

Written by Mal Burgess
Pics by blacktrack.com.au

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