ANDRA Opens Season with Western Australia Rounds
Australia’s ANDRA held it’s 2014 season opening events during the month of January with two major events hosted by far Western Australia facility Kwinana Beach Park in Perth…
Back-to-Back Wins for Lamattina
At the 2014 season opening event (Jan. 10-11th) racers battled unreal atmospheric and track heat.
Early on the Motorplex crew did their best to reduce the track temperature with an early evening spray from the water truck bringing the surface down to a nice and balmy 49.8°C by race time after recording of 62°C on the thermometer.
As the surface temperature slowly dropped, it was the Lamattina show once again with the Fuchs dragster powering to an impressive win for his second ANDRA Silver Christmas Tree in as many nights to continue his great run out West.
Lamattina said he was very happy for back to back wins, particularly in trying conditions, and a big lead in the ANDRA Drag Racing Series.
“What can I say? The car was running consistent again tonight and crew chief Aaron Hambridge showed that he can adapt to different conditions which is great for the Fuchs Top Fuel Dragster Team. And to come out with the points lead it’s great,” he said.
“The track itself, for how hot the day was, held up beautifully. But you’ve got to take your hat off to the Perth Motorplex crew. They manicure it, keep teasing it and have a look. It came up trumps.”
Martin Stamatis went into the fours during eliminations with a 4.830 defeating Allan Dobson who flamed out across the finish line and Phil Lamattina sent his Fuchs dragster down the track straight as a dart with a 4.666 in his solo run.
The final eliminator saw flames once again for Sheehan and Damien Harris but the 5.256 was enough to see Sheehan into a B final he would unfortunately never get to stage running out of bullets in a costly night.
The stage was then set for Lamattina v Martin Stamatis in the Top Fuel A final. Stamatis pedalled out and could only look on as Lamattina took the win with a pass of 4.74.
Unfortunately it wouldn’t be two in a row for Mark Drew as the A Final went to Mark Ashelford running a 6.58 while Chris Porter frustratingly crossed the centre line. B Final action ended in a solo run with Crawford’s bike spitting out two spark plugs in the start-up area resulting in a win for Kevin Gummow running 7.67.
Ashelford said he was more than happy with the win after finishing as runner up on Friday night that included his first two full passes after a recent hiatus.
“Last night I had a shakedown and it was my first two full passes in a couple of years. Tonight I had a hiccup in the seeding round and was lucky to get in the field. I faced Drewy again who I raced last night for the final and then Chris Porter, he’s not the Australian Champ for nothing so I really had to put my A cap on.”
Mark Drew continued his impressive form early in Top Fuel Motorcycle qualifying in first with a 6.726 while Ashelford shut down after the burnout. Terry Burnett also had trouble with the airline and unfortunately the problems would persist to put an end to his night during eliminators.
There was a hairy moment for Dennis Grant in the eliminators with a heavy lean to avoid the wall but he just kissed the concrete before the finish line earning a DQ. That left Chris Porter (6.905)and Mark Ashelford (6.908) to run a pair of sixes putting themselves into the A final leaving Kevin Gummow (7.641) and Gordon Crawford (7.358) to fight it out in the B final.
Fans also got to see Round 2 of the Aeroflow Sportsman Drag Racing Championship.
Adam Marchant posted a quick 5.56 on a 5.82 going down to Rob Pilkington’s record setting (5.84 on a 6.21) in the Top Comp A final and Murray O’Connor (6.08 on a 6.16) bested Pino Priolo (6.48 on a 6.23) in the B final. Super Comp resulted in a win for Jake Chaisty with 9.50 on a 9.76 from Colin Mortimore with 8.41 on a 8.55.
Ross Smith took the honours in Competition Bike, the Supercharged Outlaws final went to Greg James and Sam Treasure won the Modified Final.
Other winners were Leigh Fallon (Super Sedan), Luke Nieuwhof (Modified Bike), Craig Caton (Super Street) and Makenah Begg in Junior Dragster.
Bishop Breaks Through
On Jan. 31st-Feb. 1st it was Stuart Bishop taking the win in Top Doorslammer from Pino Priolo with a 5.972 from a 6.028 storming past the West Aussie at the half track for his first ANDRA Drag Racing Series victory in 15 years of trying.
After being handed the trophy Bishop said he was in disbelief as the usual suspects were eliminated early allowing the Wallace Bishop Jewellers team to take advantage.
“It’s special, he said. “I’ve usually been out in the first round the last couple of years and Doorslammer feels like I’m always up against Zappia who went out first round. Unfortunately I’m used to that.”
“I don’t get to race every race so Daniel Reed (crew chief) gets to tinker with the car, play with different things and do different things. We came out here to use a race meeting as a test run and we came away with the win.”
Referring to the ANDRA Silver Christmas tree Bishop said, “I’m a jeweller by trade and this is the most expensive piece of metal I’ve ever held!”
Earlier in the night eliminations got off to hairy start with Martyn Dack and Maurice Fabietti opening proceedings in Top Doorslammer.
Fabietti put two wheels in the air turning sharply to the right and over the centre line while Dack posted a 6.442 blowing heavy smoke in the process.
Dack would make it out in time for the semis though his night would end with a big tyre shake and oil down the length of the track as Pino Priolo advanced on a 6.039.
When racing resumed Stuart Bishop propelled his Chevy 67 Camaro to a win in a pedal fest on a 6.408 leaving Grant O’Rourke pedalling out himself to draw his weekend to a close. Then it was onto that final run to pick up his very first piece of silverware.
TD racing at Perth attracted a very impressive 19-car field for the 8 available slots and the bump spot was 6.013 secs. Murray O’Conner’s 5.908 secs was Low ET and John Zappia was credited with top speed at 249.30 mph.
Unfortunately in Top Alcohol, the other fairy tale involving Shane Weston came to an end in the semi-finals as Weston blazed the tyres on a 5.726 while Craig Glassby took full advantage going first across the line with a 5.768.
His opponent in the final would be John Cannuli who had his Dudu Funny Car on a rail all night with a 6.667 to defeat a pedalling Steve Ham (8.425) and then taking out 16 times Top Alcohol champion Gary Phillips (5.724) on a pass of 5.650.
In the final Cannuli went across the stripe on a 5.609 leaving Glassby frustrated as his Chevy Monte Carlo funny car came out of the holeshot untidy for a 9.270 handing Cannuli his fourth ANDRA Drag Racing Series win.
Cannuli did not qualify in Top Doorslammer but his priority was always the Top Alcohol championship saying it was a great feeling to beat Gary Phillips and Steve Ham along the way.
“That’s why we came here to get this funny car in the final and that’s what we did,” he said “It was consistent all weekend; it ran 5.60s and we brought the win home.”
From here Cannuli’s plan is to run in Top Comp at the Westernationals to further challenge his fellow Queenslanders Phillips and Ham.
“We’ve got a consistent 5.60 car but we want to run 5.50s so we can chase the likes of Gary Phillips and Steve Ham where they can run 5.40s and 5.50s on a good track. And that’s what we’re going to try to do and go to Easter and try run 5.40s and 5.50s.”
12 cars were entered for the Top Alcohol class for the event – paced by Shane Weston’s 5.561 secs in his TAD which was low ET. Steve Ham set top speed at 260.11 mph driving his TAFC.
Attention now turns to round two of the ANDRA Drag Racing Series for Top Fuel and Top Doorslammer at the Westernationals back at Perth Motorplex February 28-March 2, 2014.
Posted by: Tim Baker
Photos by: Phil Luyer & www.dragnews.com.au