Race report by Lucas Gardner.
The debut of the new racing format for Top Fuel at the appropriately named Nitro Max was a huge success, which completely packed the Perth Motorplex on both evenings. Friday served up some brilliant qualifying action and a few thrills which was then topped off by Saturday's sunshine and smiles on the faces of racers, crew and spectators as eliminations begun.
Top Fuel got off to a fiery start from the first pass on Friday evening, with Mark Sheehan the only driver to put down a representative pass of a 5.12 at 221 mph.
Friday Eliminations saw Sheehan run a solo into the B Final and Harris and Lamattina defeating their opponents of Morgan and Dobson to enter the A Final.
The A Final was a tight race with both Harris and Lamattina running 4.7s, but it was Lamattina coming away as the victor, running a slightly quicker 4.73 at 320 mph over Harris's 4.77. Sheehan was lucky to be in a solo taking the win points after running a 13.00, a huge fireball erupting from the engine at half track.
24 hours after the previous qualifier we heard another national anthem and saw another round of Top Fuel racing. Except this time around the teams had a much better handle on the track with the times ranging from Darren Morgan's 5.16 to Allan Dobson's 5.95.
The first round eliminations saw a fair amount of carnage, Allan Dobson's car igniting on the launch and a major fuel fire engulfing Mark Sheehan's car during the start-up procedure. These events led to the re-match of Lamattina and Harris in the A Final and Morgan making a solo pass in the B Final.
Lamattina took the win running a 5.494 at 177 mph, getting off the gas just past half track against Harris who hazed the tyres at the 60ft mark. In the B Final Darren Morgan had a few goes at the throttle and went up into tyre smoke, stopping the clocks with a 5.871 at 187 mph.
Videos courtesy Gardner Broz
Group 2 and 3 Results
- Comp Bike saw Ross Smith take a win over legend Neil Anderson, running a 8.87 on a 9.04 class index.
- The Junior Dragster Rookies was a match-up between Jack Wasley and Kane Higgins, with Wasley running 3 hundredths over his nominated 12.16 dial-in to take the win.
- The slightly older Junior Dragster category saw Brayden Naylor take on Georgie Gerritsen. Gerritsen handed the win to Naylor via a breakout after running 7 thousandths under her dial-in. Naylor broke the car's clutch mid-pass and luck was on his side as he claimed during his winner's speech.
- The Modified final saw the pilot of the "Cleveland Express", Sam Treasure, defeat Kane Douche going rounds in Kyle Putland's old altered. The more experienced finalist Sam Treasure took the win running a 7.62 on a 7.59 dial-in.
- Modified Bike was another break-out affair when Paul McNamara ran faster than his 10.45 dial-in, handing the win to his opponent David Waters who ran a 10.08 on a 9.99 dial-in.
- Super Comp for Nitro Max was the event where Andrew Katavatis claimed his hat-trick of wins, running a 7.15 on his 7.72 class index against Allen Puglia. I must mention the entertainment value of commentator and modified racer Michelle Adamos' victory dance after seeing her other half take the win.
- Super Sedan was a tightly run final match between Peter Giles and Martin Mirco. Although Peter Giles ran closer to his dial-in, an 8.393 on an 8.38, it wasn't enough to beat Mirco who ran a 9.23 on a 9.21 dial-in and pulled a killer 0.018 reaction time.
- Super Street was another tightly run final with Nicholas Wroe breaking-out by 2 thousandths with an 11.018, but still taking the win against John Solich who broke out by 7 hundrethdts, an 11.18 on a 11.11 dial-in.
- Top Comp's B Final was taken out by Wayne Keys who ran a 5.99 but was uncontested after Glassby had some startline issues. The A Final was a matchup between Al McClure and Rob Pilkington. Al ran an excellent 6.54 but was beaten by the skin of his teeth as Pilkington crossed the finish line by what appeared to be just a nose, running a mind-blowing 5.68 at 252 mph on a 6.05 AA/FC index .
Lucas' Save of The Day could only go to one man. That man would be John Zappia as he almost switched sports from Drag Racing to Drifting on his first pass. Now that was a "drive job"!
Photos courtesy Gardner Broz