John Zappia defeated Daniel Gregorini in the final round of the Summer Slam as part of the WA Drag Racing Championships at Perth Motorplex on Saturday night.
Zappia used a 5.70sec. pass in his Holden Monaro to get by Gregorini’s Camaro after Gregorini took the early lead.
After disappointing results in the 400 Thunder Series a week previously in Sydney, it was a solid day all around for Zappia, who top-qualified with a 5.77sec. run and ran the quickest time of the event, a 5.66sec. pass in the first round of racing.
The honourable mention in the Top Doorslammer ranks had to go to Steve Aldridge, who finally cracked his first five-second run after many years of trying. A 5.91sec. pass in his Crown Security Plymouth was a fitting reward for his long efforts to join the frontrunners of the class.
While the impressive numbers wowed the crowd in the Summer Slam, Nitro Harley rider Mark Drew made the spectators hold their breath for all the wrong reasons.
Drew scorched to a 6.41sec. run at more than 350km/h but then went into the sand trap, with both Drew and his bike tumbling hard. With the safety team on hand within seconds, Drew was carefully loaded into an ambulance and taken to the on-site medical centre to be checked out.
Top Comp was all about Sam Treasure in the Hemi Express.
Treasure notched a new personal best time of 6.03sec. to top-qualify in the class before using a 6.07sec. in the final round to defeat Al McClure.
Super Comp saw Errol Quartermaine in career form, running underneath the national record with a 7.62sec. pass under DD/Gas classification.
Quartermaine defeated Ralph Lewis’ Ford Mustang in the final round. Competition Bike was short on numbers but big on quality.
Reigning champion Phill Paton proved too good in the final, beating Ryan Learmonth.
Variety was the order of the day in Outlaw Radial, with everything from turbocharged Holden Rodeos to nitrous- assisted Valiant Chargers taking part. The final round came down to Wayne Smith and Goran Kojic, with Smith taking the victory.
Chris Roe scored a win against Alby Bakranich in Top Sportsman, Angelo Locantro got lucky against Jeff Acton, who broke out in Modified, Mick Fenton defeated Laurence Adamos in Super Sedan, Paul De Klerk got by Brian Hotker in Modified Bike, and Joel Trotman beat Lee Watson in Super Street.
WA’s fastest drag racers return on December 1 for the 45th Annual Goldenstate Championships.
Inglis hot after winter
When Perth Motorplex rests quietly during the winter off-season, most racers return to their daily lives and wait October to come again, but not so Sprintcar racer James Inglis, who spent much time in Darwin getting more laps under his belt.
Still a relative rookie, Inglis said keeping his racing going during winter helped him stay fresh at the wheel. “We’ve had two good events at the Motorplex so far and I think a lot of that is to do with going to Darwin,” he said.
“The car came back in one piece so it was all ready to go for the Motorplex and we had good preparation.
“Doing laps in Darwin helped give me more confidence going into the opening event.”
Inglis got his Motorplex season under way at the Shannons Powerpalooza with a seventh-place finish in the feature race, before taking the top spot on the podium in the new-look Maddington Toyota Sprintcar Series at the Super Speedway Stampede
The accomplishment was even more amazing considering Inglis was using a smaller 360ci motor, compared with the 410ci of some of his rivals.
“We had a few dramas with our big engine from the first night so we had to do some work and we ended up putting the 360 in,” he said.
“Starting on the front row helped me, but the track was not necessarily favourable to the smaller motors.
“Jason (Kendrick) took off from me but I got lucky with him having problems.
“I focused on keeping my momentum. For me it was about being a lot slower on the steering wheel, I had to be really smooth and not bog the motor.
“We kept the motor turning.
“I think that was key, keeping up the revs.”
The 26-year-old driver now takes on the Scardifield Smash Repairs King of Wings on November 17, aiming to follow on from his Stampede victory.
Yet again, it all comes down to confidence.
“I am more and more confident every time I hop in the car,” he said. “I still try and stay out of trouble but I can push the boundaries a little bit and pull some passes where I wouldn’t have before.
“I have come from go-karts and straight into Sprintcars, I didn’t race any other speedway division.
“I had to learn pretty quick.”
The Scardifield Smash Repairs King of Wings sees winged speedway vehicles of all kinds hitting the dirt, including the Maddington Toyota Sprintcar Series, TW Mechanical 360 Sprintcars, Limited Sprintcars and Telf Promotional Products Formula 500s, as well as the Di Candilo Steel City Late Models and the Carbusters Demolition Derby.