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Sportsmen take Australian Nationals final round to next level

The final round of the Aeroflow Sportsman Drag Racing Championship at this weekend’s Australian Nationals provided plenty of thrills and spills with close racing and championship drama throughout the brackets.

In Competition Eliminator, Alistair McClure secured the title – after a season-long battle with Craig Geddes. However, the Australian Nationals win went to multiple event-winner Greg Leahy. 

“They (multiple Nationals wins) are all good, they are all fantastic,” said Leahy.

“And what a surprise, we banged the blower in the second round and with Paul Shackleton and the crew’s help we managed to get it back together. What a day.” 

New bracket records were set by Lyle Gilmore with a new CC/AA mile per hour record of 199.46mph (321km/h), Peter Pisalidis with a new AA/APIA speed of 211.23mph (339.94km/h), while new 2014 Champion Alistair McClure reset the ET record for BB/FCA at 6.394 and Craig Geddes reset both ends of the E/DA records with a 7.414 ET at 177.09mph (285km/h).

In Super Stock, Jake Chaisty, son of two-time champion Geoff, won the title battle against Mario Barbon who red lit in his semi final with eventual Nationals winner Clint George.

Racing at Sydney Dragway for the first time, Chaisty defeated Fred Soleiman, Jim Ioannidis and Chris Soldatos but couldn’t beat George in the final. 

“It’s unreal, couldn’t be better,” George said.

“We worked really hard for it and put a lot of effort into it the last few years, we’re really happy.

“We qualified number 10. We honestly didn’t think we had a chance. We were down the ladder, then we pulled it back, changed a couple of things and it all came together in the end. 

The Super Stock records to fall were the A/AP ET and speed records with Shane Mroan hitting 7.024 and 196.59mph (316.38km/h), while Chaisty pushed the H/MSA records further to 9.262 and 145.96mph (234.9km/h).

Ross Smith took out the Competition Bike Championship on a ride to the semi-finals, but couldn’t beat Peter Everett in the finals with just a -.104 red light the difference.

Everett lifted the Australian Nationals trophy on a 9.699 ET on a 9.99 index while adding new records for ET and speed under the D/SB class with a 9.679 ET and 139.82mph (225.02km/h).

In Super Compact Paul Karpathios took out new Champion Dominic Rigoli and top qualifier Po Tung to reach the final against Rod Harvey. 

Harvey is known for pushing into world record territory, but on this occasion he pushed too far to turn on the red by -.011 sending Karpathios to victory on a 7.677 with a 7.67 index.

The Supercharged Outlaws Championship picture was an event-long battle for Doina Day and Chris Van’t Hof – with Day able to hold off a hard charging Van’t Hof with a precise 6.908 on a 6.90 from a 6.690 on the 6.65 dial in.  

Modified eliminations was a tense affair for Championship leader Shane Wynd who watched from the sidelines as his title rival and Round 2 opponent Jasmine Ryan advanced deep into proceedings.

Ryan needed to win the event to claim the Championship, but was eliminated by Kelly Bettes at the semi final stage.

Bettes then went on to claim the Nationals crown defeating Jenny Petrie with a 7.502 second pass on the 8.41 dial in from a break out 8.410 effort by Petrie.

Over in Super Sedan, Daniel Morris added a Gold Christmas Tree to the Silver he won at last month’s Benaraby – by beating Michael Little in the final on an 8.274 on the 8.26 dial in.

The Modified Bike title to David Carroll, but it was Matthew Hunt who earned his first ANDRA Christmas Tree with a 9.301-second pass on the 9.24 dial in.

In Super Street, Joe Jurkovic won the championship thanks to a win over Belinda Welch – with Robert Winterburn taking the Nationals victory. 

Toby Austin won his maiden Australian Junior Dragster title, advancing all the way to the semi finals before being ousted by Eden Ward.

Eden’s sister Maella joined him in the final, but it was Eden who won on a 7.964 on the 7.96 from Maella’s break out 8.644 on the 8.65.

In Super Gas, Matt Forbes secured back-to-back Championships but his round win streak came to an end at the hands of Jake Culmone in Round 2.

Jake Culmone claimed his first Australian Nationals Super Gas win on a 9.889 effort, facing a -.014 red lighting Simon Isherwood in the final. 

Image supplied © dragphotos.com.au

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