The spectators were eager, and the racers were ready to put on a show for day one of the Gulf Western Oil Super Thunder, but the weather had another plan delaying the start to Friday’s racing.
It did also prove to be a trying night, with most of the racers only just stepping back into their race cars after delays due to Covid, border closures and weather effected events. The track was not ideal after the rain and pulling solid 350-400 on the start line but needing a bit more rubber out past the 60ft to give the big guns more traction to fully send it. Hopefully after a few hits and more passes down the track from the sportsman categories first thing tomorrow the track will show the results we know can happen on the iconic Willowbank Dragstrip.
The highly anticipated Top Fuel Funny Cars made their debut with two testing passes, ahead of their grudge matches tomorrow evening. Morice McMillan, having his first hit in the Aeroflow Performance Funny car on the Queensland track and only a few passes in the car showed promise with massive candles lit off the hit and an early shut off.
Tim McCarthy still getting into the swing of things backed off after a flame throwing hit off the start line, both still provided a great flames up spectacle for the race fans, and big things are expected of the Nitro Beasts at Saturday’s showdown.
Other track highlights included a huge wheel stand from Adrian Vella on the back bumper in Super Comp and Benny Stevens on his Nitro Harley who went wheels up for the full quarter mile pass. Stevens, in a defiance of gravity ran a 6.59 at 215 miles per hour on one of the most powerful motorcycles in motorsport.
Stevens said “After running 6.55 in Perth last year we made some changes to the bike, and this was only the third full pass following two initial passes in Benaraby. We did a bit of damage (in Perth) but are happy with today’s run, so tonight we will double check the engine, turn it up and get ready to put it on for the fans tomorrow.”
“After a slow start to the day we were still able to provide a preview for the spectators of what we know will be an exciting show tomorrow” said 400 Thunder general manager Steve Bettes. “If you are looking for a great family day out, bring the kids for a short sharp show tomorrow afternoon, there promises to be plenty of flame throwing side by side action from the pro cars and heaps of wheel standing action from the sportsman categories.”