Aeroflow Sportsman racers excel at Willowbank Raceway – Part One

The Aeroflow National Sportsman Championship saw its Eastern Conference come to an exciting close at Willowbank Raceway at the weekend, where the chase was well and truly on for not only the conference victories, but also prestigious Gulf Western Oil Winternationals event wins.

The sportsman racers well and truly delighted the packed house across the event’s four days, lining up alongside Top Fuel, XPRO Nitro Funny Cars, Top Doorslammers, Pro Alcohol, Pro Stock Motorcycles, Top Fuel Motorcycles, Pro Stock, and FuelTech Pro Mod, who were enjoying the final round of their NDRC season.

The Eastern Conference final winners and runners-up – those with the most points within that conference at the close of the Winters – have now secured their place at the invite-only Aeroflow National Sportsman Championship Grand Final, as have the Gulf Western Oil Winternationals event winners and runners-up*.

These invitees will be joined at the prestigious finale, to be held in October, by a to be determined number of invitees of the top racers for each category (based on the cumulative points of each racer’s best four events across the season across both conferences) **.

For an overview of the Gulf Western Oil Winternationals results for all brackets, including group one, please click here.

For a detailed rundown of how each of the Aeroflow National Sportsman Championship brackets unfolded over the weekend and to hear from our event winners and Eastern Conference winners, we are pleased to release this three-part feature.

Part one (below) covers Modified Bike, Real Street, Junior Dragster and Junior Drag Bike. Part two will be released on Wednesday, followed by Part Three on Friday, covering all of the Aeroflow National Sportsman Championship Eastern Conference brackets.

MODIFIED BIKE

Eastern Conference winner: Dean Jamieson; Eastern Conference runner-up: Nick Thompson; Gulf Western Oil Winternationals Top Qualifier: Alan Annis Jr; Winternationals winner: Brian Alvisio; Winternationals runner-up: Dale Marshall

Dean Jamieson was pleased to secure his second conference win this year at the weekend, with the Suzuki Hayabusa racer also taking out the Western Conference titles at the Riverbend Nationals in April. 

Jamieson secured the Eastern Conference win over runner-up Nick Thompson, and also took a round one win against Phil White during the weekend’s racing, even though Eric Redman knocked him out in round two. Thompson’s conference and event hopes were also dashed in round two, being knocked out by eventual Winternats event winner, Brain Alvisio. 

Alvisio made it all the way through to the final with a third round win over Bryan Shepard and round four win over Top Qualifier Alan Annis Jr, before the Kawasaki racer dispatched Dale Marshall in the final. Marshall had secured his finals berth by taking victories from Alex Redman (round one), Sean Ricketts (round two) and Eric Redman (semis).

“I am pretty happy with myself because we have now won the Western and the Eastern Conference. The event was well worth the 22 hour drive from where I live. It was pretty tight there with only one round of racing between Nick and Cheryl (Beddoes) and I,” Jamieson said.

“It was my first time at Willowbank Raceway. It is an amazing track, a really nice spot, especially when the sun is setting over the top.”

For Alvisio, it was his third Winternats win.

 “I have actually won the Winternationals twice before and this one was pretty cool with a bit of a bigger field,” Alvisio said.

“I did benefit from two red lights in the other lanes, including the final which I thought was rather nice of him,” he laughed.

“In the semi-final I had one of the closest races I have ever had, if not the closest, winning by four thousandths of a second against a bloke who is a former national champion and a very good racer (Alan Annis Jnr). So that was pretty cool!

“In the last five years, I have basically raced everywhere in Australia that there is to race and have been in finals everywhere, but there is absolutely nothing like winning the Winters, it is still the holy grail. And the new track is sensational!”

REAL STREET

Eastern Conference winner and Gulf Western Oil Winternationals event winner: Craig Collis; Eastern Conference runner-up: Kay Swenson; Winternationals Top Qualifier and event runner-up: Paul Neilson

It was a case of winner-takes-all for Craig Collis at the Gulf Western Oil Winternationals, with the Queenslander taking home both the Eastern Conference win and the Winternats Gold Christmas Tree.

Collis made his way to the event final with wins over Steven Warren (round one) and Cooper Leahy (round two) before enjoying a bye in the semi-final ahead of besting Top Qualifier Paul Neilson in the final. Neilson meanwhile made it all the way to the final with a round one win over Robert Mcburnie, a bye in round two, and another win in the semis over Dean Merchant. 

Eastern Conference runner-up Kay Swenson was leading the points heading into the Winternats weekend but wasn’t in attendance this weekend.

“This is basically a dream come true for me,” Collis said.

“I have been an official at Willowbank Raceway for 34 years so have been involved in drag racing all that time, so for me, it is a massive dream.

“My father in law John Clarke has Gold Christmas Trees, he won Super Sedan titles, and my mother in law (Wendy Clarke) and John basically helped to build Willowbank, being among those who mortgaged their houses and were part of the build, and my wife has been there since she was 16 years of age too. So, this is just unreal for us.

“I am absolutely blown away to win the event too and come away with two Christmas trees including the Eastern Conference. I can’t wipe the smile off my face.

“I sort of knew I had the points once I got through the second round, so that was pretty cool, and then all I wanted was the Gold Christmas Tree for the win, and to win it is a dream come true and a massive achievement. It is still sinking in.”

JUNIOR DRAGSTER

Eastern Conference winner: Zayne Condello; Eastern Conference runner-up: Savanna Condello; Gulf Western Oil Winternationals Top Qualifier: Shavaun Harvey; Winternationals winner: Carlos Harvey; Winternationals runner-up: Vanz Peirano

Despite a round one knock-out on a red light at the weekend, Zayne Condello was pleased to take home the Eastern Conference win and also the runner-up honours from the delayed Gulf Western Oil Nitro Champs Junior Dragster final during the Winternationals weekend, which was run during Thursday’s qualifying, with Nixon Cannuli taking that victory.

Condello had a nail-biting wait to see if he would have enough points to take home the title however, with his sister Savanna Condello in the box seat to take it from him if she was able to advance past the third round, where she lost to eventual event runner-up, Vanz Peirano after having eliminated Top Qualifier Shavaun Harvey in round one.

Peirano went head to head with Carlos Harvey in the final, with Harvey taking out the event win following earlier victories over Tamika Karslake in round one, Charlotte Liefting in round two, and Charli Nurzenski in round three before a bye in round four, while Peirano took round one and two wins from Sydney winner Cannuli and Nash Periano, Savanna Condello (round three) and Emelia Wright (semis) to see his way to the finals. 

“It is a dream come true (to win the Eastern conference),” Condello said.

“I have always wanted to win a series, it has always been on my bucket list to tick off, and I was finally able to do that at the Winternationals at the weekend.

“If my sister had won the round she lost in, she would have taken it off me, so it was very close and definitely a nail biter at the end there!

“At the event I also ran in the delayed Nitro Champs final and as I was getting used to the tree and the new car I went .007 red in that, and that luck continued over to round one of racing where I went .006 red, so it wasn’t the best weekend of racing for me, but I had a good time crewing for my sister and seeing all my interstate mates.

“I am pretty happy too that I have been able to jump in my new car and go to every national final I have raced in since then (except for this weekend). I would like to thank my grandfather and my entire crew, plus my sponsors Fine Line Motorsports.” 

Harvey was exceptionally excited to take his Winternats win.

“I was screaming in the car, there was lots of excitement and I was shocked that I actually won,” 12-year-old Harvey said.

“It was a good race and I got in front so I kind of knew I had won once I passed the other car. I had a consistent car and I had really good reaction times too.

“It was a really fun event, hanging out with my mates and just enjoying and having a good time.

“I want to thank my mum, my dad and Ben Bray for helping me, Yuasa Batteries and Speedflow.”

JUNIOR DRAG BIKE

Eastern Conference winner: Adam Jordan; Eastern Conference runner-up: James Lowday; Gulf Western Oil Winternationals Top Qualifier: Lillian Hagan; Winternationals winner: Marcus McDonald; Winternationals runner-up: Jaidyn Schofield

Adam Jordan made it to round two of the Gulf Western Oil Winternationals on his way to claiming the Eastern Conference win. He had started the weekend’s racing strong with a win over Scarlett Mansfield-French in round one, but eventual Winternats runner-up Jaidyn Schofield got the win in round two when Jordan hung a cherry on the tree.

Schofield had earlier dispatched Jetayah Chalk (round one) and enjoyed a bye in the semi before lining up against Winternats winner Marcus McDonald. McDonald meanwhile had earlier taken wins over Xavier Mansfield-French in round one, before besting Top Qualifier Lillian Hagan in round two and Eastern Conference runner-up James Lowday in round three.

Earlier in the weekend, Jordan had also claimed the runner-up honours in the delayed Gulf Western Oil Nitro Champs Junior Drag Bike final, which was held during Thursday’s qualifying, with that win going to Lowday.

“I feel great! It was really surprising to me to be the Eastern Conference winner; it is great to see all my work and travelling pay off. I was very excited to find out I had claimed it, and I very much enjoyed the racing. The Winternationals was a great experience also and I really enjoyed it,” Jordan said.

“I also was part of the Nitro Champs delayed final on the Thursday, and it was unfortunate that I didn’t win that, but it was still good to come away with two trees, one for the Eastern Conference and one for the Sydney event runner-up.”

McDonald struggled to find the words to accurately describe how he was feeling after taking out the Winternationals win.

“This is my first year racing, and it was my first time at the Winternationals, so it is just crazy to have won it. There are people out there that have been doing this for 40 years and spending lots of money and time and haven’t been able to win, and this little kid from a country town comes and wins one, it is pretty amazing to me,” 14-year-old McDonald said.

“It was a really good event, and it was cool that most of the other Junior Drag Bike competitors had a crazy experience too in that we got to go to the pits and check out all the Top Fuel Motorcycles!”

Stay tuned for parts two and three of this feature, to be posted Wednesday 12 June and Friday 14 June.

The Aeroflow National Sportsman Championship will now head to its Grand Final in October.

To learn more about the Aeroflow National Sportsman Championship and the NDRC, visit www.ndrc.tv

*Assuming those racers have completed at least three NDRC events across at least two different tracks. The Gulf Western Oil Winternationals can be included in the three events.

**The exact number of invitees per category for the Grand Final is to be confirmed but will be based on the average number of competitors for each bracket across the season. No points will be carried into the Grand Final with a winner takes all format to be employed.

Related Posts

Aeroflow Sportsman racers excel at Willowbank Raceway – Part Three

Aeroflow Sportsman racers excel at Willowbank Raceway – Part Two

Celebrations abound at NDRC season-ending Winternationals

Aeroflow Sportsman Eastern Conference, Winternats Winners crowned

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