Ex-pat West Aussie Grant O’Rourke tasted 400 Thunder victory in his home-land of Perth on the weekend, taking out the Pro Slammer victory at the 45th Annual Home Group WA Westernationals.
The now Brisbane resident had to beat champion leader John Zappia in the final round of what was a tough weekend of racing, which also included the semi-final and final of the rained-out Nitro Slam from December during qualifying for the weekend’s event.
“It really does feel great to take out the Pro Slammer victory in our home town of Perth, and at none other than the 45th Annual Westernationals,” said O’Rourke.
“This is a special victory, and one that comes after a hard-fought weekend for the entire O’Rourke Motorsport team. It is a testament to the hard work and commitment of our entire crew, and I can’t thank them enough for all of their efforts.”
The challenges started early for the team, with a thrust bearing needing to be replaced just twenty minutes before they were due on the start-line for the first round of qualifying.
“It was a mad rush before the first session of qualifying, but we got it done and went out and laid down a stout 5.97 second pass which was a great first result,” said O’Rourke.
“We went even better in the second session with a 5.89 second effort, but with this session doubling as the Nitro Slam semi-finals, we not only had to lay down a good time for qualifying but also beat the guy in the other lane as well.
“Unfortunately this time around we weren’t able to do it with an intense and close race seeing Mark Belleri take out the win with a 5.84 second effort.
“The challenges then continued for us, with our team forced to skip the last qualifying session to have time to fix some mechanical issues to be ready in time for racing the next day.
“When it came to race day, it was still not running smoothly for us, but despite a messy run in the first round of eliminations we were able to come up trumps against Marty Dack, to go on to meet Belleri in the semi – this time around, it was us who would take the win light, so that we could proceed to the final against Zap. As they say, the rest is history!”