500kph stage set at wonderful Westernats

A blistering 500kmh pass by Top Fuel’s Wayne Newby headlined an awesome day one of the MacTrack Westernationals, with Top Fuel, Top Doorslammer, Top Fuel Motorcycle and the Aeroflow National Sportsman Series delighting a packed crowd of nearly 9,000 at the Perth Motorplex today.

Exceptionally high winds and a late evening dust storm brought the night to a premature close during the second round of Top Fuel qualifying.

Top Fuel will now hold its second qualifier at 12.30pm Sunday ahead of the scheduled racing, followed swiftly by the rescheduled final of today’s championship round for Top Fuel Motorcycle at 12.45pm, before the eight-strong field gets into a whole new round of racing across Sunday afternoon and evening. Top Doorslammer qualifying has been declared on the results of Q1 ahead of their scheduled racing tomorrow.

Wayne Newby carries the top qualifier badge into Sunday thanks to his 3.906 second pass at 500.03kph in what was only the second Top Fuel pass for Saturday.  

Second quickest for the day was Phil Lamattina, who ran down a very stout 4.071 second pass at 392.37kph despite lifting early, while Kyle Putland was third quickest based on the first qualifier with a 4.173 second pass at 363.81kph – although, the local racer had the crowd on their feet when he set his first ever three second pass at home (his third in total) with a 3.963 second pass in the interrupted second qualifying.

Kyle Putland salutes the packed crowd (Cackling Pipes)

Championship leader Damien Harris had a difficult day at home with an early shut down in Q1 (4.955/260.55kph) alongside Lamattina before being shut down on the line due to a timing malfunction ahead of his Q2 run, before the winds intervened. Phil Read meanwhile ran a 5.414 second pass at 207.31mph after having to get off it after turning the tyres in his Q1 pass alongside Newby to be 5th quickest heading to Sunday.

“That pass was better than anyone else, and we had a few little issues, but it went down there really good, and I was really happy,” Newby said.

“I am very happy with how the car is going so far, and it was great to see such a fantastic crowd. Now we will see what happens tomorrow.

“It had a few little things happening on the runs, so it would have been quicker, but that is life – now we just hope to come out tomorrow and go quicker again, that is always the plan after all!” he smiled.

Wayne Newby (Cackling Pipes)

In Top Doorslammer, John Zappia blazed through for the top qualifying honours with a 5.716/405.35kph effort in the Dananni Hot Shots/Fuchs Monaro while championship leader Russell Taylor faltered in Q1 when his SS Camaro started to turn hard left off the launch.

Daniel Gregorini was pleased with his 5.833 second pass at 404.97kph to be second quickest, while NDRC Top Doorslammer debutant Andrew Cole surely impressed with a 6.022 at 385.87 – not only a new personal best ET, but also good enough for third on the qualifying ladder at the end of Q1.

“The Dananni Hot Shots/FUCHS Monaro was flying. It left hard and straight. We were hoping for a 5.68 or a 5.69 but that is close enough.

“I want to say a big thanks to High Speed Engineering for getting some machine work done for us and Applied Automotive who have allowed us to get our A engine back together, so to put that back in the car with a really safe tune and go 5.71 was great, even though it was a bit down on speed to what we expected. It turns out it was good enough and the motor checked out okay, so we are in good shape for tomorrow!

“Hopefully we can keep the engine alive and get through to the final and just keep racking up the points!”

John Zappia (Cackling Pipes)

In Top Fuel Motorcycle, an extra battle will be mounted on Sunday to find the winner of today’s championship round of racing for the flame-throwing two-wheeled bracket, after they were unable to complete their racing this evening.

Thanks to their performances today, Benny Stevens and Damian Muscat will face off in the A-Final tomorrow while Wayne McGuinness and Greg Durack will do battle for the B-Final. Kim Leonard and Kevin Gummow will complete the C-Final, while US star Michael Beland and Ricky Wood will take on the D-Final.

The eight-strong Top Fuel Motorcycle field will then do it all over again, with a whole other round of championship racing to be contested tomorrow afternoon and evening.

For Stevens, the A-Final berth follows a frantic engine change between rounds one and two this afternoon, in a less than two hour window.

“I am so pumped,” Stevens said after running a 6.586 second pass at 346.38 kph in the second round of racing.

“In the first round we blew a motor up, torched the heads, the barrels, the whole lot.

“We got back to the pits and ripped the motor out, put the other motor back in, and we rolled into the staging lanes just as everyone was getting ready to go out.

“So, to come out here and do that (6.58) for my team, that is so good.”

Stevens’ round two pass followed a problematic round one effort that saw him run 9.247 at 232.86kph, while Muscat earned his place in the A-Final with a round one 7.371/213.40kph pass against Ricky Wood before a 7.190/216.87kph pass in round two, also against Wood.

Durack meanwhile had a comeback in round two after a clutch issue combined with a “rookie mistake” with the boost switch left off in round one, running 7.152/288.97 in round two for a win against Kim Leonard who had beaten him in round one (9.059/217.79kph), while Wayne McGuinness took two wins from two races with a 7.371/268.58kph win over Kevin Gummow in round one, and a 7.237/260.78kph win over visiting US star Michael Beland in round two, who suffered also a loss to Stevens in round one.

Despite two loses today, Beland was all smiles after today’s racing.

“This has been the best experience I have had in a long time; I am so happy to have been able to come over and run Benny’s bike, I am having a blast – you want, we will get this thing to run a number,” Beland said.

Across the day the Aeroflow National Sportsman Championship also delivered plenty of enthralling qualifying performances.

Competition Bike and Super Stock completed their qualifying today ahead of eliminations racing tomorrow, with Chris Allen and Errol Quartermaine top qualifying respectively in these brackets.

Super Street, Junior Dragster, Modified Bike, Super Sedan, Modified, Top Sportsman, Supercharged Outlaws and Competition Eliminator will each contest a final qualifier tomorrow morning, with Steph Gullotto (Super Street), Cooper Plummer (Junior Dragster), Ashton Kilvington (Modified Bike), Luke Guppy (Super Sedan), Paul Ryan (Modified), Jason Lippi (Top Sportsman), Vince Belladonna (Supercharged Outlaws) and Emma Robinson (Competition Eliminator) leading the way in the fight for the top qualifying honours in their respective brackets so far.

Errol Quartermain (Cackling Pipes)

Quartermaine was stoked with the result ahead of racing tomorrow for Super Stock.

“We were probably expecting Steve Norman to be a bit quicker, but we don’t really follow the other cars much, so it was a pleasant surprise as we thought we would need two tenths under to match him,” Quartermaine said.

“We are very happy with the consistency of the car; I just hope the car stays that consistent for tomorrow!”

For event info and tickets, go to ndrc.tv

Chris Allen (Cackling Pipes)

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