Alice Springs Inland Dragway has hosted a busy day of racing for round two of the Summit Racing Equipment Sportsman Series.
The Desert Nationals winner’s circle hosted Mark Hunt (Supercharged Outlaws), Luke Veersma (Summit Racing Equipment Junior Dragster), Gavin Chisnell (Modified), Leith Darrach (Modified Bike), Graeme Simms (Super Comp), Peter Tzokas (Super Sedan), Jacob Mills (Super Street) and Matt Forbes (Top Sportsman).
Hunt’s victory marked his first ever national event win, with the Supercharged Outlaws racer locking away a number of impressive race wins against heavy-hitters on his way to the Supercharged Outlaws Desert Nationals final against Justin Russell. Hunt hoisted the ANDRA tree after turning a round one win against semi final-regular Doina Day into an upset round two win against top qualifier, current Champion and Nitro Up North winner Adam Murrihy into his finals date with Russell. His ultimate victory would come courtesy of a 4.981s/142.41mph (4.95s dial-in) effort over Russell’s 4.439s/160.14mph pass (4.40s dial-in).
“It feels fantastic to win. Absolutely fantastic,” said Hunt, whose win comes after 18 months out of the seat and despite almost not competing this weekend.
In the final of Top Sportsman, it was a battle of the Lucas Oils-supported racers, with Matt Forbes (5.001s/143.33mph) taking on and defeating current Champ and Nitro Up North winner Jason Stares (4.796s/146.10mph).
For Stares, it was his third final in a row dating back to last season’s Grand Final, but this time it was Forbes who took the victory – his first ever event win in Top Sportsman after having previously won national events and Championships in Super Gas and Modified.
On his way to the victory, Forbes dispatched Frank Oliveri (Rd1) and top qualifier Dan Saliba (Rd2), while Stares faced off and took victory from
Rick Smith (Rd1) and Greg Damiani (Rd2) on his way to the final stand.
“This is fantastic – this is the third category we have won in now – Super Gas, Modified and Top Sportsman – but to get a win in this class which I class as a really, really tough class against some of the best racers is very satisfying,” Forbes said.
The Super Comp victory was taken out by Graeme Simms, who raced Louis Svingos for the event win (5.935s/100.90mph v 7.993/58.67mph). The battle to make the final started off with some shock eliminations – with Competition Eliminator Champion Craig Geddes; Super Stock Champion and Nitro Up North winner Kim Fardella; and top qualifier Jamie Chaisty all eliminated in the first round.
While the racing might not have gone Chaisty’s way, he does still walk away from Alice Springs with something to smile about, having reset his big brother’s national H/MSA record to 5.928s at 115.38mph - at the same track and in the same car. Also setting a new national record was Super Comp racer David Dequen (eliminated round two) who with an E/AA 145.16mph effort beat his own record which he had originally set at ASID last year.
“It feels great to win, it has been a long time! I have been out of the seat for four and a half years now, so it has been great to get back in the seat,” said Simms.
In Summit Racing Equipment Junior Dragster, Luke Veersma (8.146s/79.65mph) took the win from Alanah Cope (8.234s/78.53mph) after having earlier raced Lachlan Slamar, Daniel Carranza and Kelly Donnelly. On her way to the final, Cope took race wins against Mikey Naylor, Madison Brown and Ross Spadaro.
In Super Sedan, Peter Tzokas (9.859s/135.55mph) triumphed over the ‘breaking out’ (running faster than his dial-in) George Tipouikidis (10.238s/129.40mph). On their way to the finals, Tzokas faced off against David Yanko, Mike Brideson, and Darren Baumann; while Tipouikidis emerged with race wins from Brett Matthew, Ned Karanovic, and Steve Hunt.
For the Super Street bracket, it was Jacob Mills (12.211/93.39mph, 12.1s dial-in) who left with the winner’s trophy after taking on Allan Hutchen (11.451s/110.62mph, 11.3s dial-in) in the finals. Earlier, Mills took on and defeated Matthew Jarvis and Paul Garbellini, while Hutchen raced against Conan Latham, Craig Caton and Simon Lazzaro.
Victory in the Modified bracket went to Gavin Chisnell (5.395s/129.68mph) from the red-lighting Zac Shepherd (5.578s/120mph). Chisnell had earlier faced off against Chris Farrell and Leanne Braggs – whose outfit won the Gridstar by YBI Best Presented Team Award, with the team receiving the Best Presented Trophy, six Best Presented caps and a $50 Summit Racing Equipment credit voucher.
On two-wheels, the Modified Bike win was taken out by Leith Darrach (10.095s/145.50mph) from current champion Bryan Finn (11.186s/117.08mph). It was Finn’s third straight Desert Nationals final (winner in 2014, runner-up in 2015) and he lead all the way and was certain of the win, but broke-out by going faster than his 11.20s dial-in.
While the Summit Racing Equipment Sportsman Series provided plenty of fanfare for the enthusiastic crowd at Alice Springs Dragway, there was also plenty of other action on-show across the weekend including championship racing for Top Doorslammer and exciting exhibition passes from both Matt Abel in his Outlaw Nitro Funny Car, and Chris Porter on his Top Fuel Motorcycle.
ANDRA congratulates the Central Australian Drag Racing Association and Alice Springs Inland Dragway on a fantastic event and thanks the volunteers for their outstanding efforts prior to and throughout the weekend.