The co-designer of the iconic Christmas Tree trophy, John ‘Stomper’ Winterburn has given the thumbs up to an updated version to be presented for the first time at this weekend’s 400 Thunder event, the Home Group WA Nitro Slam.
Winterburn and fellow Willowbank Raceway founder Dennis Syrmis were the driving forces behind the original Christmas Tree trophy, which was first presented at the Nationals at Surfers Paradise Raceway in 1975.
The first trophy was hand crafted by Winterburn’s father, Bill.
The new billet 400 Thunder trophy adopts the same form as the drag racing’s current start lights, with three amber lights instead of five, also adopting more efficient and modern production methods to ensure consistent, high quality silver and gold finishes.
Winterburn was the first to inspect the new design and said he’s thrilled with how contemporary it is, while retaining the character of the original he designed with Syrimis.
“It’s exciting to see the Christmas Tree trophy evolve with the sport. The new tree is instantly recognisable, but it’s very separate to the old design.” he said
“The NHRA has the Wally, a man standing with a tyre, and Australia needed something different, which is why we went with the Christmas Tree design back in 1975.”
Winterburn has been heavily involved in drag racing for nearly 60 years, with tenures as meeting director at Surfers Paradise and Willowbank Raceways, and understands the need for the sport to adapt with the times.
“Over 40 years the Christmas Tree trophy has become an icon of the sport but it was time for an update,” he said.
“The modernised tree reflects how the sport has changed over 40 years, with new materials and a refreshed look, and I can’t wait to see it presented in Perth.”
Professional winners at 400 Thunder’s inaugural event, the East Coast Nationals, will also receive gold Christmas tree trophies.