Round #2 for Australia’s 2018/19 wrap around season features some first time Pro winners…

It was breakthrough time for racers in both Pro Alcohol and Pro Slammer during a sensational final day of racing at Sydney Dragway’s marquee East Coast Thunder event presented by the 400 Thunder Drag Racing Series.

An emotional Robert Ambruosi took the win in Pro Alcohol on a solo as fellow finalist Chris Hargrave was unable to make the call to the start line with terminal engine damage. 

Robert Ambruosi raced his gold-plated Chevy Camaro to his first career Pro Alcohol event win.

Pre-race favourite and 20X event winner Gary Phillips qualified #1 and set low ET for Pro Alcohol with a run of 5.48 secs.

Tears flowed from his crew on the start line for the journeyman racer who admitted that he was ready to give it away after a trying week of testing. “We hurt a motor early in the week, and I was done. Ready to pack it in. But my daughters and my family pushed me on and now, here we are holding the trophy, its just unbelievable!”.

In Pro Slammer, Kelvin Lyle won over Sam Fenech who was also looking for his first winners trophy. Lyle won with a 5.831 racing his Ford Mustang whilst Fenech, driver of the Steve Sarkis owned Camaro, lifted the supercharger at half track in a violent explosion, resulting in a small fire. 

Kelvin Lyle won for the first time in Australia’s 400 Thunder Drag Racing series’ signature Pro Slammer class.

Australia’s fast door slammer racing legend — John Zappia set low ET of the event (5.66 secs) during qualifying.

Lyle leaves the event with the points lead, overtaking championship leader John Zappia and reigning series Champion Paul Mouhayet. 

“We burned up second gear in the second round, and we got a lot of help from John Zappia to get it back together for the semi. It’s great to get the win here in Sydney, we are just stoked!”.

Top Fuel saw Rapisarda Autosport International Teammates Ashely Sanford and Wayne Newby do battle, with Californian Sanford looking for her first win on either Australian or American soil.  At green light Sanford took a slight advantage but it was Wayne Newby in a brand-new car taking with win with the quickest time of the event, a 3.868. 

Racing a brand new (and first ever canopy car for Australia) for team owner Santo Rapisarda – Wayne Newby emerged victorious in Top Fuel.

RAI team driver Damien Harris was the #1 qualifier in Top Fuel with a 3.95 secs run.

Newby said as he climbed from his car “Its just a privilege to drive for the Rapisarda family. My whole team has worked their backsides off to put this new car together, and It has absolutely done the job this weekend.”

Pro Stock was a controversial affair, with the final between Chris Soldatos and Tyronne Tremayne. Soldatos went into full stage before Tremayne had entered pre-stage. The Mega Bulk Fuels driver was then timed out before he could fully stage, handing the win to Soldatos who recorded the quickest time of the event in the process with a 7.00. 

Chris Soldatos (top) defeated Tyronne Tremayne (bottom) in the 400 CID Australia Pro Stock class which featured a final round battle of Pontiac cars.

Top Bike proved to be a battle of attrition with reigning champ Chris Matheson withdrawing from the event after qualifying. This left 4 bikes, with fan favourite Jay Upton struggling in the hot conditions. The final featured Adam Layton who was searching for his first win in 400 Thunder, and Gavin Spann who laid down the quickest time of the event, a 6.809 en-route to the victory. 

Gavin Spann sped to a 6.809 secs while winning the East Coast Thunder’s Top Bike event title.

Pro Bike saw the final between Glenn Wooster and Lachlan Ireland, with Wooster taking the victory and the points lead with a 7.315 over a slowing 8.095 from Ireland. 

Glenn Wooster has now assumed the Pro Stock Bike season points lead after his victory.

The 400 Thunder Series now moves to Willowbank Raceway on the 5th January for the New Years Thunder, Featuring the next round of the championship for Top Fuel, Pro Alcohol, Pro Slammer, Pro Stock and Pro Stock Bike. 

Posted by Rusty Gregory 

All photos by Grant Stephens (Cackling Pipes Photography)

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