Sydney Dragway celebrated the 2016 Nitro Champs with a massive crowd, perfect weather and plenty of excitement on the track in the new one-day Pro Series format!
The 400 Thunder event is the first time that Pro Stock, Pro Slammer and Pro Alcohol will be using traditional eliminations format whilst Top Bike, Pro Bike and Top Fuel each used a version of a three round format to keep the crowds entertained throughout the day’s action.
Pro Series action kicked off with Pro Stock and the Tremayne brothers took their place at the head of the field after qualifying, with Aaron’s 6.93-second pass heading Tyronne’s 6.98.
John Zappia resumed normal service at the top of the Pro Slammer standings with a 5.77 keeping fellow Doorslammer legend, Ben Bray in second with Bray’s still-new Corvette looking menacing as he continues to develop the car.
Pro Alcohol superstar Gary Phillips showed the early form with a 5.63-second pass to head off Victoria’s Rob Ambruosi.
On two wheels it was Victorian, Maurice Allen at the head of the field in the naturally aspirated Pro Bike class, whilst Damian Muscat was too quick for the competition in the seeding round of Top Bike with his nitro-powered Harley smashing out an impressive 6.96-second run.
Round one of Top Fuel saw some great racing with scorching passes, none quicker than Peter Xiberras who defeated Terry Sainty, with superb 4.71-second performance. Other round win winners included Harris, Mariani and Newby.
The first round of Pro Slammer had the crowd on the edge of their seats with side-by-side racing from start to finish Zappia, Taylor, Belleri and Paul Cannuli getting the win lights.
In Pro Alcohol semi finals it was showdown between Steve Reed versus Rob Ambruosi and Gary Phillips up against Wayne Price is an all funny car shootout.
The Pro Stock semi final contenders saw Spinozzi take on Tyronne Tremayne and Bektash up against Chilton who took out top qualifier, Aaron Tremayne en-route to the final four.
It eventually ended in a battle between the big names in the Pro Stock final with Bektash taking on Tyronne Tremayne. It was a win for the Mopar machine of Bektash who took the event victory with a 6.98 second pass and his quickest run of the night.
Mark Mariani opened the second round of Top Fuel with a huge 4.69-second pass to take the win! Stamatis, Xiberras and Harris all took wins in round two with stout 4-second passes for each of them.
The final round of the nitro dragsters might well have been the best of the night with former national champion, Darren Morgan recording a 4.77-second pass to take the win over West Aussie Martin Stamatis. Newby won the all Rapisarda battle against Damien Harris and he too recorded a strong 4.77-second pass. Xiberras and Mariani were the last runners in the three round format and Mariani took another win making it three from three, handing him the event win over Xiberras, who finished in second overall.
In the nitro bikes, Muscat continued to impress with fellow Harley riders Porter and Drew also recording wins in round two and at the end of the night it was Chris Porter who topped the points to take home the Nitro Champs gold over Mark Drew in the A Final, whilst Damian Muscat won the B Final.
The Pro Slammer final came down to a battle between Paul Cannuli and West Aussie legend, John Zappia and in a wild side-by-side run, it was Cannuli who wrestled his Duster to a win with a 6.63-second pass
The two quickest and fastest funny cars all during the event met in the final with Gary Phillips squaring off against Rob Ambruosi, but as he has done so many times, Phillips made it count on the final pass of the night with a stout 5.40-second run.
The final of Pro Bike saw Scott White take on Corey Buttigieg and it was the Harley of Buttigieg who made it count with a 7.34 second pass, too good for White’s 7.60.
Sydney Dragway General Manager concluded, “Tonight was a landmark night for the venue and 400 Thunder. We achieved some great things, enjoyed a great crowd who saw a great show. To the fans, racers, officials, staff and everyone who made it happen, I offer heartfelt thanks.”
The next round of the 400 Thunder Series will be the 2016 Winternationals, 9 to12 June at Willowbank Raceway, Queensland.
Photo credit – Dragnews Magazine
Release – Rob Sharp, YBI Creative