Race report by Dave Hunter.
It's not often one incident takes your breath away quite like the jet dragster crash that befell Pieter De Wit at the Night of Fire meeting. A parachute failure led to an unbelievably fast collision with the safety nets and other scenery and will surely go down in living memory as a very big crash indeed.
At the time of the third run, Chuck Haynes was drawn 1 all with De Wit and was eyeing up an all or nothing second success before an engine gremlin shut him down. With De Wit left on his own, the afterburner lit with a bang and he clocked up a 5.7 time at around the 440kmh mark before enduring a doomed fight to pull up the dragster.
After attendance by emergency crews he was whisked away to Perth Royal Hospital by medical helicopter where he was treated for burns had surgery on a damaged kneecap and was also in possession of a broken nose. Despite all those rather nasty injuries it could so easily have been worse. Just Drag Racing wish him well as he recovers from his injuries.
Candid photos courtesy Dave Hunter.
With that in mind, it was rather tricky to remember everything (or indeed anything) else. Another exhibitionist who had a big handful for most of the day was the wild wheel-standing Nigel Benson. His VE Commodore picked itself up and literally carted him into drama (and into the other lane) on two runs, both aborted in the end. But, his last two were a success, the full quarter mile covered in a best time of 11.672 at 202kmh.
Videos courtesy Gardner Broz
As far as "normal" cars and bikes go (we use normal in an ironic sense), here are the results that count towards the end of season honours:
- Neil Anderson is never far from the top of the ladder. Today was once again his day, defeating Daniel Natalotto to grab the top prize in Competition Bike.
- Tyson Liddiard is a young chap on his way to the top, keeping ahead of Dylan Pettigrew for more Junior Dragster Rookie success.
- In the big kids section, Jake Djuric had little to worry about as Curtis Spadaro red lighted away his part in the big battle for Junior Dragster.
- You could say Modified Bike is in a state of "Urban development", Clinton Urban red lighting but doing so closer to zero than Paul MacNamara (-0.001 to -0.009? Not much in it there!).
- A somewhat subdued field of Supercharged Outlaws were on hand for the event, with B final winner Craig Allison and A final victor Donald Freind once again tallying up the important points.
- Andrew Katavatis is becoming one cool Kat with even more Super Comp success. Errol Quartermaine was his latest victim to be put into the runner-up position.
- Martin Mirco and his TUFF 68 Camaro is now shining once again in Super Sedan, taking out the tough opposition in the name of Alby Bakranich for the win.
- A Jacob Mills breakout gave the winner’s Super Street trophy to Scott Jeffreys, only 9 thousandths off his 11.10 dial-in!
- An unofficial Top Fuel Harley grudge match took place between Terry Burnett and Gordon Crawford, Terry winning two to one.
- Familiar faces took out Top Comp's final races. Daniel Gregorini took home the B final spoils and Rob Pilkington had a 5.75 at 250mph shot for the A final win.
The next meeting, the Westernationals, proves to be an exciting time for those who prefer going for record times. WA's only shot at altering the ETs and speeds is an annual tradition, showcasing the performance abilities of the local cars, bikes and drivers. There are plenty out there gunning for bigger and better things, BB/CB's very own Greg Durack is now into the 6 second zone and could possibly knock the record around.
Terry Stacy also grabbed RR/G by the neck again as his ear-attacking RX-7 is keeping things honest with 7.8s to his name recently. Kyle Putland is another strong contender for his class, the A/A now running 6.7 seconds on the quarter mile. And many, many more are knocking on the door of records fame. But, in typical Group 2 fashion, will they want to grab it? Do they play it safe as much as possible to give themselves a fair go for next season? Or will the competition prove to be so difficult that there will be no alternative to running flat out and resetting records? That's what we can look forward to next time.