Far West Australian Nationals event results / RAI Star Driver Returns…..

The Australian Drag Racing Championship (ADRC) delivered plenty of thrills at the Perth Motorplex as part of the 51st annual MacTrack Westernationals last weekend.

By virtue of an oh-so-close victory over the legendary John Zappia, on-form Daniel Gregorini took not only the victory, but also what he calls a stranglehold on the ADRC Top Doorslammer championship.

Jay Upton meanwhile persevered through niggling issues all weekend long to hold on for the ANDRA Gold Christmas Tree over Greg Durack.

In the Top Doorslammer final, it was almost too close to call with Gregorini ultimately triumphing over Zappia with a 5.730 second pass to Zappia’s 5.728. Earlier in the evening, Gregorini had faced off against Frank Taylor (round one) and Stuart Moresby (semi), while Zappia had emerged successful from a round one Goldenstates rematch against Pino Priolo, and a semi-final against Steve Aldridge. Gregorini had also earlier claimed the Crow Cams Top Qualifier Award presented by Decoglaze Glass Splashbacks.

Daniel Gregorini the Top Doorslammer winner for the MacTrack Westernationals at Perth Motorplex.

“This is awesome, absolutely awesome,” enthused Gregorini. “We came to this meeting with a new combination, a new camshaft to try and keep progressing and we have had a few dramas this weekend, knocking some bearings around and knocking some plugs around – but we kept it going and limped it through running the numbers.”

“We couldn’t step it up past 5.71, so we knew I had to get the reaction time over Zappia and hope he didn’t come for me – which he did, that was a PB I believe for his weekend. But we did enough and with my earlier pass we also got the ET and MPH points too, so we have the maximum points and a stranglehold on the championship.

“Bring on the ANDRA Grand Finals! By my calculations we will have a gap of forty-eight points and that is quite a lead so I am feeling very confident, it was always our plan to do what we could to extend our lead but to come away with the maximum points is just awesome.

“We will go back to the shop now and reassess our engine program and try and sort through our few issues and get ready to come back in April to Perth in what should be good weather and try and get it back in the sixties and bring this championship home!” he concluded, while thanking his crew, the Perth Motorplex, ANDRA, and his sponsors Scratch and Match Autocolour, Kerb Doctor, Westcoast Siteworks, Kendall Oils, S & S Industries, Dalisa Estate Winery, Signbiz WA, PT Promotions, Go Print, Dirty Detailing, Final Drive Engineering, Gforce Race Cars, Resolution Racing Services, DMPE and Applied Automotive.

In Top Fuel Motorcycle, in the end Jay Upton – who also claims the Crow Cams Top Qualifier Award presented by Decoglaze Glass Splashbacks for the class – did enough to clinch the victory despite a number of obstacles throughout the weekend. He faced off against Greg Durack in the final after enjoying a bye run in the first round and having a solo in the semi when Ricky Wood was unable to front. Durack meanwhile raced Wayne McGuinness in the opening round ahead of a bye in the semi.

The Top Fuel Motorcycle winner was Jay Upton’s very unique creation.

“That one was a bit messy, it was a bit of a Steven Bradbury win, but we will take it – and a holeshot at that, I didn’t even realise that until afterwards,” said Upton, who had the day before claimed the Crow Cams Top Qualifier Award presented by Decoglaze Glass Splashbacks.

“The Westernationals is one of those really hard events to win, and we had a pretty torrid day with issues – we had a leaking rear tyre, we lost a blower belt in the second round, and we dragged the parachute in the first! It was a messy weekend, but even though it was slow we did what we had to do, and we got it done.

“I must say a very special thank you to my crew, they put in a really big effort today to get through the problems. We are building towards the ANDRA Grand Finals and hopefully now that we have learned where our problems are we can make some progress.
“Thank you also to our sponsors, Rare Parts Western Australia, Gates Belt and Hose, and Gulf Western Oils for their support; as well as the track staff and volunteers, and to all the race fans.”

Also recognised at the event presentations from the ADRC ranks was Top Doorslammer racer Frank Taylor, who was awarded the Vinyl Wraps and Graphics Best Presented Award.

The 51st annual MacTrack Westernationals hosted more than 180 racers over its two days, with the Summit Racing Equipment Sportsman Series racers putting on a host of stellar performances in the pursuit of coveted ANDRA Gold Christmas Trees.

Alan Mahnkoph was the winner in Supercharged Outlaws during the Summit Racing Equipment Sportsman Series portion at the Westernationals

When all was said and done, it was Beau Ferguson (Summit Racing Equipment Junior Dragster), Richard Stevens (Super Street), Paul Nieuwhof (Modified Bike), Nick Panagopoulos (Super Sedan), Darryl Treasure (Modified), Alby Bakranich (Top Sportsman), Alan Mahnkoph (Supercharged Outlaws), Ross Smith (Competition Bike), Steve Norman (Super Stock) and Sam Treasure (Competition) who took out the prestigious trophies.


After 777 days on the sidelines, Australia star Top Fuel driver Damien Harris is poised for a return.

Oz Top Fuel champ Damien Harris will return to racing for the first time since January 2020, at round two of the Burson Auto Parts Australian Top Fuel Championship at Sunset Strip Raceway, Mildura, March 12-13.

Harris last raced at the Santo’s Summer Thunder meet at Sydney Dragway where he finished third behind Phil Lamattina and his RAI teammate Wayne Newby.

Damien Harris

Since then the affable Western Australian has not raced due to the Covid -19 pandemic that bought the sport to its knees in Australia and the closure of the W.A. state border to the rest of Australia.

The border was finally reopened on March 3.

“It has been touch and go if I was going to be able to race at Mildura,” said Harris. “I’ve been ready for a long time and can’t wait to get behind the wheel. The Rapisarda boys, Santo Junior and Santino, who tunes the Wayne Newby sister car have spent an enormous amount of time and energy prepping the car. Nothing has been left to chance.”

“Santo Junior, who tunes the car, runs a real tight ship and has assembled a great crew. There are half a dozen new faces on the team who have been putting in a massive amount of work to get the car ready and can’t wait to go racing. There is a real sense of excitement.”

“We will go into the event at a slight disadvantage not having raced for so long but the all run format means on day one we get to have a sighting pass then two qualifying runs. By that time I’m confident we will be ready to go racing.”

Posted with files by Amanda Cobb & John Doig
Photos by Phil Luyer (High Octane Photos) and John Doig (Torque Photos)