Persistence Pays as ANDRA Wraps Season 

Australia’s ANDRA has concluded it’s 2011/12 drag racing season – but it’s final round took a lot of determination.   The season finale Fuch’s Winternationals was held at Willowbank Raceway near Ipswich QLD…….

That event was unfortunately however weather affected with rain delaying all final rounds until the Tuesday as well as the declaration of series champions.  The never-give-up-attitude was on full display at Willowbank as both race teams and event staff gave their all to bring the event to completion and allow every category to reach its conclusion.

The Australian Top Fuel championship went down to the wire with Darren Morgan, Damien Harris and Andrew Cowin all having mathematical shots at the title until the final pairing.

If one team has epitomised “never give up” this season it has been Rapisarda Racing. With veteran driver Allan Dobson back behind the wheel the efforts of the NSW-based outfit finally produced a result with top qualifying honours and an event winning 4.646 secs at 307.09 mph to defeat Andrew Cowin.

Top Fuel winner Allan Dobson drove the Santo Rapisarda car to victory at Willowbank

With the victory, the team was honoured to receive the “Mickey”, a memorial trophy for Top Fuel team owner Mick Atholwood who passed away recently.

The points title fell however to Darren Morgan.  Some very key bonus points earned for top speed of the event (320.05 mph) during qualifying proved to be the difference and give the AEG Powertools-sponsored  team a narrow championship win over Harris.

Darren Morgan prevailed to win the ANDRA Top Fuel title chase by a narrow points margin

Top Alcohol’s championship was also a close one with Gary Phillips and the Lucas Oils team coming out narrow victors when Adam Marchant lost in the semi finals to Jamie Noonan.

In a heartbreaking moment for the Marchant team, they spun the tires on the start line and broke a blower belt only to watch Noonan explode his supercharger down track and roll to a six second win.

With the damage to Noonan’s V8 Nights dragsters too severe to repair for the final it was local Steve Reed who made the most of the opportunity — taking the event win on a solo in his new Allstar Batteries Pontiac.

Steve Reed won in Top Alcohol with his Pontiac-bodied Funny Car

Top Doorslammer’s ferocious title chase would be decided in the semi finals to when Peter Kapiris lost a close encounter of the Robin Judd kind, with the retiring driver of the Aeroflow Studebaker producing a narrow 5.88 to 5.89 win.  That handed the season championship to John Zappia – amazingly for a fifth straight time. 

The TD final was won byAndrew Sutton who wheeled his Alice Springs-based supercharged Corvette past Judd in what was a big upset.  Sutton did receive a bogus winning ET in the final – but crossed the finish line first.

Andrew Sutton was a surprise winner in Top Doorslammer - beating 13 other competitors in the class

In Pro Stock Michael Ali won his first championship, with the South Australian team showing that a consistent package with good driving is a title combination. The points were decided when Denis Whiting lost in the second round.

Shane Tucker’s Monster Energy Pontiac took its second event win for the season by taking the final over Ali.  Tucker’s winning time in the final was 7.108 secs at 194.07 mph.

Shane Tucker rolled his Monster Energy Drink sponsored Pontiac to a win in Pro Stock

Chris Matheson made it a clean sweep for the season in Top Bike with a 6.19 in the final knocking out a valiant 6.93 from Chris Porter.   Matheson’s domination at the Winternationals event was complete — he qualified #1 at 6.228 secs and set both low ET (6.157 secs) and top speed (224.43 mph) in the final round.

Chris Matheson continued his absolute domination in ANDRA Top Bike -- he completed an undefeated season!

Pro Stock Motorcycle had four riders in the championship hunt but it was Lachy Ireland coming out on top as his Lucas Oils Suzuki survived a first round skirmish with Phil Howard and went on to a runner up.

Luke Crowley was perhaps an unexpected event winner as he discovered the hidden potential in his machine, breaking into the 7.3 second zone for the first time and claiming the final Gold ANDRA Christmas tree of the season.

Pro Stock Motorcycle winner - Luke Crowley

Posted by: Luke Nieuwhof & Bruce Biegler

Photos by: Grant Stephens 

Special thanks to Rob Sparkes at:           

Event Essentials – ANDRA Fuchs Winternationals (June 8-12, 2012) Ipswich QLD 

ANDRA Series Name ET MPH  
Top Fuel        
Winner: Allan Dobson 4.649 307.09  
R/UP: Andrew Cowin 6.546 159.14  
Low ET: Allan Dobson 4.649    
Top Speed: Allan Dobson   320.05  
Bump Spot:   6.178   8-cars
Top Alcohol        
Winner: Steven Reed 5.801 231.34  
R/UP: Jamie Noonan NTR NSR Broke
Low ET: Steven Ham 5.542    
Top Speed: Jamie Noonan   254.42  
Bump Spot:        
Top Doorslammer        
Winner: Andrew Sutton NTR 241.15  
R/UP: Robin Judd 5.927 249.86  
Low ET: John Zappia 5.750    
Top Speed: Victor Bray   252.57  
Bump Spot:   6.007   8-car field
Top Bike        
Winner: Chris Matheson 6.157 224.43  
R/UP: Chris Porter 6.933 199.94  
Low ET: Chris Matheson 6.157    
Top Speed: Chris Matheson   224.43  
Bump Spot:   N/A   6 Bikes
Pro Stock Car        
Winner: Shane Tucker 7.108 194.07  
R/UP: Michael Ali 7.133 192.60  
Low ET: Dennis Whiting 7.009    
Top Speed: Peter Ridgeway   195.19  
Bump Spot:   7.109   16-car field
Pro Stock Bike        
Winner: Luke Crowley 7.500 168.94  
R/UP: LockyIreland 9.090 151.54  
Low ET: Phil Howard 7.336    
Top Speed: Scott White   183.64  
Bump Spot:   7.786   8-bike field
Sportsman  Winners:        
Supercharged Outlaws Matthew McKnight 7.139 193.96  
Competition Alisar McClure 14.11 63.36  
Super Stock Omar Sedmak 7.139 193.27  
Super Compact Robert Novak 7.511 180.09  
Comp Bike Kevin Gummow 7.443 179.78  
Mod Bike Daniel Sekli 9.197 135.91  
Modified Tony Littlefield 8.664 154.28  
SuperSedan Steve Fowler 7.747 177.18  
Super Gas Michael Stivala 9.892 132.84  


Prolific ANDRA Top Doorslammer driver Robin Judd took what were his apparent final laps as a driver during the season-ending Fuchs Winternationals event