John Zappia and his crew from Zappia Racing took the long haul road trip from Sydney to Darwin to compete in the Macmahon Grand Re-Opening of the Hidden Valley Drag Strip presented by 7mate, and had such a good time they vowed to return again.
Affectionately known in Australia as the Top End, Darwin is the smallest and most northerly of the Australian capital cities, and acts as the Top End’s regional centre. Darwin has grown from a pioneer outpost and small port into one of Australia’s most modern and multicultural cities.
“We had the best time up here” said John Zappia, “The hospitality, huge crowds and enthusiasm of the fans just made the event very special to us. To also go away with the new track record, and win for the event was a bonus to us. We will be back for sure!”
Friday night qualifying saw Zap sit out the first session to observe the track, but top qualify in the Procomp Motorsport Monaro with a 5.936 second pass at 238.72mph in the second session – the first ever five second pass in the tracks 26 year history in front of approx 2500 spectators.
“The first run was encouraging, so we hotted the Rat up for the final session of qualifying, but the car overpowered the track causing me to pedal, and drive it out for a 6.11 @ 240mph – fast enough though to reset the track speed record with the mph”.
Zap drew a solo in Round 1, but overpowered the track for a 6.389 at 223mph, then defeated fellow West Aussie Marty Dack in round 2 with a 5.992 at a lazy 199.67mph. With the track being so new it became extremely slippery at the top end and Zap had to pull the chutes early to straighten the car which was going sideways through the finish line. It was another typical Zap drive.
The final saw a re-run of the recent Nitro Champs final, with Zap running Kapiris in his Saratoga. It was Zappia who took the win with a track record 5.909 @ 238.17mph to Kapiris not far behind with a 6.051 @ 231.28mph. The Saturday night crowd of approx 6000 people really got their money’s worth with two five second passes in the one night. Peter was disappointed we couldn’t give the crowd the first side by side 5 second pass.
“A big thankyou to all the people in Darwin who really made the team feel welcome. Scott McClean and Matt Abel made a special effort to accommodate us in their workshop, and assist us during our stay. A special thanks to Haley for giving up her home to let some of the crew stay there, and for being our reverse gear”.
The travelling team headed off to Queensland for preparation for the final event in Zappia Racing’s East Coast Tour for 2011 – the Winternationals to be held at Willowbank from the 10th to the 13th June. Crew are assembling the engine and cylinder heads repaired by Noonan Race Engineering, and spares ordered for the next event.
This year’s championship could again go down to the wire but hopefully the Team can do enough to stay ahead of the pack and win a 4th straight championship.
“We look forward to seeing as many sponsors, supporters and fans at Willowbank for what promises to be an exciting event to finish the 2010-2011 season”.
For more details, photos and videos go to www.zapsrat.com.au