Aeroflow Sportsman racers excel at Willowbank Raceway – Part Two

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  was released on Monday – please click here to view.
Part two (below) covers  (below) covers Super Street, Top Sportsman, Super Sedan and Modified. Part two will be released on Wednesday, followed by Part Three on Friday, covering all of the Aeroflow National Sportsman Championship Eastern Conference brackets.

SUPER STREET

Eastern Conference winner: Luke ‘Tex’ Griffiths; Eastern Conference runner-up: Andrew Waight; Gulf Western Oil Winternationals Top Qualifier: Ray Ross; Winternationals winner: Josh Fletcher; Winternationals runner-up: Craig Warren

Luke ‘Tex’ Griffiths was unbeatable coming into the Winternats weekend, with a comfortable margin over Eastern Conference runner-up Andrew Waight, who wasn’t in attendance this weekend. 

While the conference titles were locked away coming into the Gulf Western Oil Winternationals, there was still plenty to play for with Winternats glory on the line. However, Griffths’s event hopes were dashed in round two by Timothy Welsh-Pledge.

The event glory instead went to Josh Fletcher, who booked his ticket to the final with victory over Matt Francis in round one, William Keogh in round two, Shawn Taskis in round three, and Tony Harrington – who defeated Top Qualifier Ray Ross in round one – in the semis before he bested Craig Warren in the final. Warren had found his way to the final with wins over Darren Piddington (round one) Mark Rossow (round two), Terry Mansfield French (round three), and Troy Hutton (semis).

“I am pretty darn chuffed to be honest!” Griffiths said.

“It is like one of those goals that you have but you don’t really want to put it out there, it is like a secret goal, and you want to get there, but you don’t want to put your hand up and say you are chasing it,” he laughed.

“So, to achieve it, I am really chuffed with that. And also, I am here running a true foot brake street car, which is probably the wrong style as it is pretty much the biggest car in the class, but it is my choice, and I am loving doing it in this car.

“I would like to thank my beautiful wife Julie and my lovely son Jett for supporting me and letting me travel all over this wide brown land chasing this beautiful gold Christmas tree.

“The NDRC is a fabulous thing, and I am really looking forward to The Bend in October and seeing how that all shakes out!”

Fletcher was entered in two classes this weekend, making for a busy Winternationals for the local racer.

“I am feeling very good, it is always nice to get a win at the major event of the year!” Fletcher said.

“It was bittersweet as I lost the first round in my Outlaws car, but I was able to come back and win in Super Street. It was a busy weekend (running two brackets), but that is the way I like it!

“In Super Street I had a bit of luck, which is what you need, the car went quite well for me, and it was great to get the win. The surface was great, nice and smooth, and it was great to be back out racing in my backyard of Willowbank Raceway.

“The weather was amazing too and it was great to see the place fully packed out and people out there doing what we all love,” he concluded, while thanking StyroMAX, StyroFAN, The Bolt King Capalaba, Horsepower Developments and Gulf Western Oil.

TOP SPORTSMAN

Eastern Conference winner: Daniel Morris; Eastern Conference runner-up: Tony Whyatt; Gulf Western Oil Winternationals Top Qualifier and Winternationals runner-up: Neil Maxwell; Winternationals winner: Paul Doeblien

It was a tight Top Sportsman championship race coming to the Gulf Western Oil Winternationals, with just 2.5 points separating Daniel Morris in first and Tony Whyatt in second ahead of the event.

With Whyatt knocked out in round two against David Gauldie and Morris making it through to the semis with wins over Elio Quintieri, Craig Chapman, and Enio Marrocco in rounds one, two and three, Morris’ Eastern Conference title was confirmed.

Morris’ event hopes would go on to be dashed, however, when he was taken out of the running by Top Qualifier and Winternats event runner up, Neil Maxwell in round four. Maxwell had earlier enjoyed a round one win over Carl Davies before a round two win over Harry Somer and a semi-final bye.

Maxwell lined up against Paul Doeblien in the final, where the local racer would go on to claim the Winternats win. On his way to the final, Doeblien took wins over Daniel Parisotto, Dale Sonogan, Kevin Armstong, and Gauldie in rounds one, two, three and four before a bye in the semi-final.

“I am pretty pleased!” Morris grinned. “Being the inaugural season of the NDRC it was pretty special to win the first Eastern Conference, I am very happy with that.

“It wasn’t a bad weekend of racing, we went out in the semi-final unfortunately with a red light, but apart from that the weekend was much smoother sailing than Sydney was for us where we hurt the engine, so it had been a bit of a thrash to get it all back together in time.

“It was awesome too to be at the Winternationals and back at ‘home’, the new surface was fast, and I am very thankful for the series and being back together as one championship. I am looking forward to the Grand Final at The Bend!

“I want to thank Tony Whyatt for going above and beyond to repair our engine over the last three weeks, and also Ash Thompson and Tony Rogers for helping get it out and back in and running. I want to also send a special thanks to my beautiful wife, kids and family for their continued support, and of course our wonderful sponsors All Site Demo, Jimboomba Paint and Panel, Rembrandt Caravans, Cutrite Concrete Sawing and Drilling, Southpine Speed Co, Gonzo’s Racing Pipes, Thermal Edge Coatings, FX Signs, Speedy RC and ETS Race Fuels Gold Coast.”

Doeblien was ecstatic with his event victory.

“It was awesome to win, absolutely excellent – we all know it is one of the hardest events to win on the Australian calendar, especially with the number of entries, so I am over the moon, and it is a really big deal for us,” Doeblien said.

“It was a pretty smooth weekend for us, I don’t think I raced the best, and I had a few lucky ones, but that is the way it goes in our sport.

“We had a consistent weekend with no dramas, and it was a great weekend. Thank you to my family, my wife Sharon and my two kids Nicole and Shaun, and to my crew Shane, Jason and Mitch.

“It was just an awesome weekend – I think Willowbank Raceway did an awesome job with the new track surface too.”

SUPER SEDAN 

Eastern Conference winner: Sean Maher; Eastern Conference runner-up: Daniel List; Gulf Western Oil Winternationals Top Qualifier: Luke Rosadi; Winternationals winner: Victor Tsatlogianis; Winternationals runner-up: Patrick Barron

Super Sedan Eastern Conference winner Sean Maher came into the Gulf Western Oil Winternationals sitting on the points cap, with eventual second-placegetter Daniel List sitting in fourth. While the New South Wales racer would go on to confirm the Eastern Conference title, his hopes for an event win were crushed in a round two match-up against Dennis Ryan after taking a round one win from Chevy Taylor.

Likewise, List wasn’t able to make it past round two, where he lost to Parry Georgis, after taking the win from Mitchell Bauer in round one.

Winternats winner Victor Tsatlogianis found his way to the final with wins over Shuan Doeblien in round one, Paul Dilley in round two, Leo Georgis in round three and Nathan Cowie in round four before lining up against event runner-up, Patrick Barron for the final. To get to the final, Barron had taken wins over Tim Cross and Ryan (rounds one and two), before a bye in round three. Top Qualifier Luke Rosadi did not participate in the weekend’s racing. 

“I am pretty stoked, I am still buzzing,” Maher said.

“Especially with the amount of travelling we have been doing, it has been a hard slog but enjoyable and it feels pretty good, it is definitely very rewarding to pay off all that work.

“We ended up going out in the third round with a close loss of two thousandths. It was a long weekend trying to see who was still in and where it all was (points-wise). Going in myself, Carl Taylor, Ace Edwads and Daniel List were all in the chase, then Ace went out in the first round, and I faced Carl which was a close win for me. Then Daniel went out in the same round that I did. It kept the adrenaline pumping!

“Thank you to my wife Sarah and my kids Hannah and Sam, to my crew Terry and Poppy, the McNiffs from St Marys Engines, New South Wales Powerplus Fuel, and Dennis from Rocket Industries for their support. Now we look forward to The Bend!”

Tsatlogianis is still on cloud nine following his event win.

“I am still coming off cloud nine after winning the meeting, I can’t believe it. It is a dream come true,” he said.

“I have always wanted to win the Winternationals, since back in the early 2000s, and it came through, it is just unbelievable.

“It has been my ambition and lifelong dream to win a Gold Christmas Tree and to do it at the holy grail, the grand final, the Winternationals, is just absolutely amazing.

“The way it happened is great too, we had a flawless qualifying run with the car and my reaction times and driving were on-point right from the first run. So we had a flawless meeting really.

“I would like to thank K and A Racing Team, and also I want to say a special thank you to Terry Koukides for being my wingman for my meeting, also thank you to Fred from Protrans for his support.

“This is just surreal, and I still can’t believe it. It is amazing and I am still taking it all in.”

MODIFIED

Eastern Conference final winner: Cory Dyson; Eastern Conference final runner-up: Daniel Carranza; Gulf Western Oil Winternationals Top Qualifier: Kellie Kidd; Gulf Western Oil Winternationals winner: Lucas Holz; Gulf Western Oil Winternationals runner-up: Andrew Pinkstone

Modified Eastern Conference winner, Cory Dyson, and runner up, Daniel Carranza were both on the points cap coming into the Gulf Western Oil Winternationals. Dyson made it through to round three – after a championship deciding win over Carranza in the opening round and a bye in round two – where the Winternats event runner up, Andrew Pinkstone, would take the win over the conference title winner.

Before lining up against Lucas Holz in the final, Pinkstone also took wins over Rod Williams, Stephan Gouws and Brett Farnell (rounds one, two and four). However, it would be Holz who would go all the way to claim the Winternats event victory, with the local racer successfully taking on Phil Bellert in round one, Gavin List in round two, Abbey Kay Mcdonald in round three, and Monique Ambruosi in round four. 

Top Qualifier Kellie Kidd enjoyed a bye in round one and took the win over Liezel Gouws in round two before a loss to Ambruosi in round three ended the Toowoomba racer’s campaign.

“We are super stoked, it has been a fantastic season,” Dyson said.

“I want to mention NDRC and how amazing the season has been. With the amount of travelling we have done; I have absolutely loved going to all the different tracks and also getting a few wins.

“It has been really nice and tight racing all year and then to finish it up at the Winternationals was pretty special. It has been an absolutely fantastic season, and we can’t wait for the next one.

“I want to thank my sponsors, Mobil 1, Statewide Oils, Glass Protect and Transcal, without them we couldn’t do what we do. I am happy to bring the Gold home to them and we will now try and carry this momentum into the Grand Final in October.”

For Holz, the Winternats win represents something special indeed.

“It is very special (to win the Winters), it is the holy grail. It is one we have been chasing for a long time, so to get that win is just quite unbelievable and we are still coming down from that, it is the one you want!” Holz said.

“The racing went really smoothly; I haven’t been in the car for close to 12 months so it was one of those things of getting back into the swing of it, but it all came back pretty quick and the car ran faultlessly and we were able to get the reaction times. Thank you to my crew.”

Stay tuned for part three, to be released 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 One

Celebrations abound at NDRC season-ending Winternationals

Aeroflow Sportsman Eastern Conference, Winternats Winners crowned

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