The Santo’s Summer Thunder produced some of the best side-by-side drag racing, under the lights in front of an enthusiastic Australia Day weekend crowd at Sydney Dragway.
Top Fuel was the headline category and with six quality cars it was always bound to be a tough line up. Damien Harris opened his account with a victory over a way-out-of-shape Phil Read, who was flying the flag for new sponsor Hydraulink.
Round 2 saw Damien Harris take the win over Phil Read and Phil Lamattina took the win, with a 3.88 securing his berth into the final over a valiant 3.91 from Xiberras. US-based aussie Richie Crampton and Wayne Newby delivered one of the best races in Australian Top Fuel history, with his 3.88 defeating Crampton’s 3.90 – a winning margin of .0048 of a second!
The Final round saw Phil Lamattina and Wayne Newby face off for the event honours. Lamattina was in his first final round following his return to the seat of the family top fuel car, and Newby was looking to solidify his lead in the series.
At the green the advantage was with Newby and he was never headed, with a 3.82 enough to take the win at his team owner’s event and his second top fuel event win in succession. Lamattina had nothing to drop his head about with a 3.90 proving that the team have sorted their early season issues.
Pro Slammer was once again outstanding, with first round highlights including John Zappia setting the quickest time of the weekend on a 5.68 win over a loose Mark Hinchelwood, and championship leader Steve Ham sneaking by with a troubled 5.99 over Michelle Davies who aborted a run for the first time over the weekend.
In round 2, Steve Ham took down Ben Bray with an outstanding 5.73 to secure his berth into the final round, with John Zappia recording his second win of the afternoon over Michelle Davies. Mark Hinchelwood continued his solid form with 5.82 win over a tyre shaking Gary Phillips and Emilio Spinozzi taking a solo on his way to a best of the weekend 6.05.
Ham and Zappia would race in the final round, the only racers on two wins after the first two sessions. The green light saw Zappia take a one-thousandth of a second advantage and he stretched it out into a win, his first of the season and one that sees him back in the championship chase. A 5.69 was more than enough for the points leader Ham, who recorded another 5.9 second pass after early-run tyre shake.
In the newly created first appearance of IHRA Australia Pro Mod category, two of the most consistently quick cars over the course of the event faced off in the final round. It was Sydney local Zoran Gajic in the Gas Racing mustang taking the win over Greg “Mauler” Tsakiridis with a near perfect 5.85 on the 5.85 Index.With the win, Gajic became the first ever winner in the category.
In the 400 Thunder Sportsman Series categories, Ross Lamattina took his first Gold Christmas tree, Peter Hamilton won Super Street, Greg South was the victor in Super Gas, Michael Milasiewicz won Super Sedan, Tammy Goldthorpe made the trip south from QLD count with a Modified Bike win, local racer Daniel Flack took the win in Modified, Frank Oliveri won Top Sportsman, Wally Hosta the victor in Performance Bike and Fred Nicastri took the honours in Super Comp.
The series now moves to Willowbank Raceway for the Santo’s Super Thunder on Good Friday.
For more information, please visit 400thunder.com.au or visit the facebook.com/400thunder.