New Australian Top Fuel record as history made at Riverbend Nationals

A new quickest and fastest Top Fuel ET and MPH record for Australia and outside the US and the fourth Top Fuel winner from as many events were the order of the day for the third and final day of the Riverbend Nationals as part of the National Drag Racing Championship (NDRC) at Dragway at the Bend this weekend.

While the event was an absolute cracker from end to end for Top Fuel, Top Doorslammer, Pro Stock and Pro Stock Motorcycle as well as the Aeroflow National Sportsman Championship – which crowned its Western Conference final winners this weekend – the weekend really belonged to Top Fuel, with 13 three second passes, four of them side-by-side, and seven at more than 500kph.

The day began with defending champion Damien Harris foreshadowing things to come with a 3.777 second 527kph solo pass in round one, before he got to work setting the new quickest and fastest Top Fuel 1000ft ET and MPH outside of the US in round two.

In a beautiful twist of fate for that history making pass, Harris was lined up against the previous record holder, Peter Xiberras, with the Rapisarda Autosport International racer blowing Xiberras’ previous 3.742 second with an eye wateringly quick 3.733 second, 529.81kph pass, cementing his name in infamy.

“Heyyyy that is allright! I will have to wait for that last number to sink in.” Harris said after being told the great news after the run.

“That’s really good. A bit of redemption from my mistake last round. This is fantastic. Thank you to the Rapisarda family for their continual support and the work everyone does. We will enjoy that one.”

While Harris then set his sights on the Gold Christmas Tree when he headed to the A-Final, it was Phil Lamattina who would take the top honours with a hole shot win.

Lamattina made his way to the A-Final victory with first a blistering side-by-side hole shot win (3.837 second / 514.5kph) against Wayne Newby (3.798/513.73) in round one – his first hole shot victory of two for the day – followed by a solo run in round two (3.824/485.45).

“Oh man!” Lamattina enthused in the bottom end.

“I won on a hole shot again? Oh my god!

“I can’t say enough about my boys – Shane back at the shop, Dean that has been doing so much work, Aaron, what can I say about him…my boys put this car back together and they are just the best.

“Thank you to FUCHS for sticking by me and R and J Batteries, we have finally got that win, and we did it for Sheridan. Gavin (Sheridan’s father) has been on our crew for 16 years and this is really good to do this for them, I can’t wait to see him.

“I have a fair few family members here this weekend as we are close, and this is just an awesome thing, I can’t believe.

“I have to take my hat off to the Rapisardas also, they are just an awesome outfit.

“I can’t believe it – a holeshot again and three-eight! Thank you, thank you, thank you.”

The B-Final win went to Phil Read, who had been scheduled to run against Lamattina in round two before being unable to front for that round as a result of a sheared mag drive during the warmup.

Read took the B-Final win over Newby, who following his round one loss to Lamattina, had the fans on their feet in a round two solo with a blistering quick 3.776 second pass at 525kph. For Newby, the B-Final was over before it really began, experiencing an issue early in the run which allowed Read to let off early while still recording a 3.783 second, 493.19kph pass to win the final. In the C-Final, Xiberras recorded a solo 3.840 second 507.03kph run.

In Top Doorslammer,the A-Final once again saw John Zappia line up against Russell Taylor to battle it out for the Gold Christmas Tree.

Both Zappia and Taylor were on song this weekend, with each taking wins in rounds one and two in the lead up to the final.

Ultimately it would be Zappia taking the top honours and continuing the rivalry that’s been brewing for the last three rounds with 5.602 second 413.47kph pass, over Taylor’s 5.707 second 414.37kph run, delivering him back-to-back event wins.

“That is awesome,” Zappia said.

“We put a little bit in it thinking we would just get it into ‘the nines’ but that is awesome anyway, that is a fantastic result.

“I finally did my job on the startline, I never saw him (Taylor), so I didn’t know what was going on, and we got the job done.

“The Dananni Hot Shots/FUCHS Monaro ran like a dream all weekend. We pulled a head off and fixed some valve springs, we pulled a stud and the thread stripped, and we just went ‘we are running this thing!’ And here it is, not on fire, in one piece,” he grinned.

“Thank you so much, my crew did an excellent job!”

In the B-Final, Ronnie Palumbo took the win over fellow rookie Lisa Gregorini with a 5.695 second 404.97kph pass. Lisa struggled with gearbox issues all weekend but was still able to set and then bring down her personal best ET a number of times across the weekend, ultimately ending with a PB of 5.751 set in round two. In the C-Final, Daniel Gregorini (5.661/412.39) took the win over Peter Lovering (5.875/388.43), and Adam Tassone took out the D-Final with a solo 6.187 second 376.53kph run.

The nail-biting action started early in Top Doorslammer for Pat Carbone in round one, who lost steering at the start and crossed the centre line, just grazing the wall resulting in damage to his dragster which saw him unable to compete in the remainder of the rounds.

In Pro Stock Motorcycle, The A-Final win went to Maurice ’Momo’ Allen with a 7.438 second 251.94kph pass against Luke Crowleywho red lit the tree in his eagerness to get off the line. Crowley wasn’t the only competitor eager to put in a competitive time with no times recorded in the B-Final between Jason Lee and Tony Frost who both red lit during their runs. Paul Andrews enjoyed a solo run in C-Final, locking in a 7.296 second 286.73kph pass.

“I was just coming as a spectator to watch Luke run a six! To have that red light come on was a complete shock,” Allen said.

“We had a bit of an issue all weekend, and it locked up a bit in the last round and we thought we would just bring it out and see if we could get it home.

“Thank you to my team. What a great event we have had this weekend – drag racing in Adelaide is alive and well!”

In Pro Stock, Rob Dekert was looking for a hat-trick for the weekend in the A-Final, but was caught short when he red lit while racing alongside Tyrone Tremayne. Tremayne also red lit but was still able to record the win with a 6.873 second 320.56kph pass. The win marks the end of a highly successful weekend for top qualifier Tremayne, who also recorded a personal best with a 6.86/320.45kph on Saturday.

“What a fantastic weekend!” Tremayne said.

“We haven’t raced since the Winternationals last year and I won there, so to come back out here with a couple of fast cars, my brother, my dad and my family and kids and do really well this weekend, I just couldn’t be happier.”

Chris Soldatos took the B-Final (6.923/319.22) win over Omar Sedmak who red lit off the line, ending what was an otherwise great weekend for Sedmak who recorded a personal best 6.938 second 316.84kph run in round two against Ray Oxley.

It was an action-packed C-Final for Aaron Tremayne against Rick Chilton, with Tremayne’s.006 reaction time contributing to his 6.890 second 319.34kph run. It was a positive weekend for Chilton who recorded a personal best 6.954 second in round two.

It was a ripper side-by-side D-Final with Mario Polito and Ray Oxely delivering the crowd a proper drag race to the end. Ultimately, it would be Oxely who would take the honours with a 7.090 second 311.23kph run.

Sunday’s action also saw the conclusion of the Aeroflow National Sportsman Championship Western Conference. Following an epic two days of battles and near-perfect conditions all weekend, the newly crowned Western Conference final winners and runners-up have secured their spots at the invite-only National Aeroflow Sportsman Grand Final, to be held in October (details TBC).

Taking out the Western Conference finalist wins for their respective brackets were:

  • Super Gas – Colin Griffin (runner-up: Jordan Spencer)
  • Junior Dragster – Cooper Plummer (runner-up: Sarah Osborne)
  • Super Street – Tony Antonino (runner-up: Michael Jennings)
  • Modified Bike – Dean Jamieson (runner-up: Lucas Neagoe)
  • Super Sedan – Tony Miskelly (runner-up: Martin Mirco)
  • Modified – Kenny Stewart (runner-up: Simon Barlow)
  • Top Sportsman – Glenn Henley (runner-up: Leon Davies)
  • Supercharged Outlaws – Dale Tucker (runner-up: Shaun Kerkman)
  • Competition – Craig Geddes (runner-up: Matt Forbes)
  • Super Stock – Steve Norman (runner-up: Kim Fardella)
  • Competition Bike – Chris Allen (runner-up: Edge Mallis)

Joining them in being celebrated at the end-of-event presentations were the event winners and runners-up, with the following racers taking out the Riverbend Nationals accolades: Jason Wilson over Des Woolstencroft (Super Gas), Cooper Plummer over Zayne Condello (Junior Dragster), Andrew Waight over Michael Bridges (Super Street), Dean Jamieson over Matthew Yard (Modified Bike), Martin Mirco over Joe Carbone (Super Sedan), Daniel Carranza over Derek Wills (Modified), Jason Young over Greg Damiani (Top Sportsman), Dale Tucker (no runner-up) (Supercharged Outlaws), Chris Allen over Ken Collin (Competition Bike), Steve Norman over Kim Fardella (Super Stock) and Craig Geddes over Matt Forbes (Competition Eliminator).

Western Conference and event Junior Dragster winner Plummer was absolutely ecstatic with the result.

Cooper Plummer (Cackling Pipes)

“I am absolutely stoked, I really, really wanted the Western Conference Championship and to get it was absolutely amazing,” Plummer enthused.

“And to get the event win, that was like a little cherry on top, it makes it even better.

“It wasn’t really a smooth weekend for us, we had some troubles with the car during qualifying with it stalling in the bottom end and we couldn’t get it to run on the index. We weren’t really able to get it sorted out entirely but it was running consistently, so we worked with it and it all came together.

“I really did not think I was going to win, I went into some rounds up against some real heavy hitters, and I am just in disbelief,” concluded the 14 year old.

Modified Bike Western Conference and event winner Jamieson was equally stoked with the result.

Dean Jamieson (Cackling Pipes)

“I am a bit beside myself really,” Jamieson said at the end of the event.

“Johnny (Ireland) and Lucas (Neagoe) both had losses in round one, so I was sort of playing catch up (in the Western Conference) all weekend to them. It takes a bit of luck, and we had some go our way.

“It was tough racing out there. You never know what ‘Baldy’ is going to put up and then we had to race Mick Cristoforo in round two and he is a pretty handy racer – we have raced him a couple of times and it has gone either way. Then we had a bye run, where I went red – have been trying to fix that all weekend, leaving a few cherries, so that was a good time to do that and saw me a little cautious in the final!

“I am just so happy, and it is great that with Lucas and I being such great mates that we could go 1-2.”

All Aeroflow National Sportsman Championship racers also earned valuable Eastern Conference points this weekend, with the Eastern Conference to continue with two rounds at the upcoming Nitro Champs in Sydney in May, before the Eastern Conference Grand Final in June at Willowbank Raceway’s Winternationals.

Stay tuned across the coming week for further Aeroflow National Sportsman Championship reporting from the Riverbend Nationals, including further interviews with Western Conference championship winners, event winners, and bracket by bracket rundowns.

The National Drag Racing Championship next heads to Sydney Dragway across 3 to 5 May for the Gulf Western Oil Nitro Champs, featuring fire-breathing Top Fuel dragsters and Nitro Funny Cars alongside Top Doorslammer, Pro Mod, Pro Stock, Top Bike (exhibition) and the Aeroflow National Sportsman Championship. Top Fuel and Aeroflow National Sportsman Championship will both be enjoying two rounds of championship racing across the weekend.

For event info and tickets, go to ndrc.tv

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