Koop bounces back at 1999 Goldenstates

Adelaide’s Dave Koop moved his beautiful 1955 Chevrolet to the head of the points table after winning round two of the 1999/2000 Australian Top Doorslammer Championship at Ravenswood International Raceway.

The western swing was a major undertaking for most teams, but the 50% points bonus provided for ANDRA championship events in Western Australia had the potential to make the trip worthwhile.

Koop’s win followed a few tough days repairing engine damage from the previous Ravenswood event. With the help of Southside Engine Centre and using pistons that had seen duty in John Zappia’s Monaro some years ago, Koop made the event. A best of 8.64 in qualifying meant he was out of the field in ninth place, until Perth’s Peter Hamilton chose not to run his damaged Statesman in competition. That put Koop in the field against top qualifier Victor Bray.

Bray arrived in Perth after a strong win in Melbourne which produced a string of world class speeds and a best of 232 miles per hour (371 kph). With temperatures around 40 degrees, most teams struggled with tune ups and the track. Bray’s 6.53 qualifier was good in the conditions and a full three and a half tenths ahead of second qualifier Les Winter. After that, everyone was in the sevens and eights – Peter Kapiris in third with a 7.19, Andrew Searle fourth at 7.67, followed by locals Lindsay Murray, Dave Simpson, Robin Judd and Peter Hamilton.

It was still hot when the first round moved out of the staging lanes. The first upset came when Queensland’s Les Winter couldn’t get the engine started for his race against local Robin Judd. Even though he had a solo, Judd powered his Studebaker to a 6.83, well over a second better than his qualifying effort. Next, Dave Koop faced Victor Bray. The Castrol car left hard but a reported ignition failure left it coasting to the finish line in an unrepresentative 11 seconds. In the other lane, Koop’s 7.35 was more than enough to get there first.

The locals were behind Dave Simpson as he pulled into the beams against Melbourne’s Peter Kapiris and the home town advantage proved a winner. Simpson’s personal best of 6.56 was good enough for Kapiris’ 6.77, and the Falcon crossed the finish line at 222.22 miles per hour, which stood a Top Speed of the event and delivered a bonus of seven and a half points. In the last pairing, Queenslander Andrew Searle broke on the burnout, and was forced to sit and watch as local Lindsay Murray took an easy solo into the semis.

Simpson was having a great day until an engine backfire during the semi final brought the campaign to a halt, giving Judd the finals berth with a solo 6.90 second pass. Koop faced Murray and moved into the final with a 7.35 second win.

With a better performance in the semis and a Perth address, Judd’s Studebaker had the crowd right behind it. Koop had run a best of 7.35 prior to the final. With nothing to lose he unwound a 6.88 to lead Judd across the finish line just over a tenth of a second behind.

The points chase remained tight going into the third round of the 1999/2000 Australian Top Doorslammer Championship at Willowbank Raceway on Saturday, January 15th, 2000. With a second Western Australian round in early March, it was impossible to predict a championship outcome at this early stage.

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  • Dave Koop, SA, ’55 Chevrolet – 190
  • Victor Bray, QLD, ’57 Chevrolet – 178
  • David Simpson, WA, EL Ford Fairmont – 158
  • Robin Judd, WA, ’53 Studebaker – 120
  • Les Winter, QLD, ’55 Chevrolet – 100
  • Peter Kapiris, VIC, ’53 Studebaker – 100
  • Andrew Searle, QLD, ’56 Ford Customline – 100
  • Marcus Chambers, VIC, ’71 Monaro – 80
  • Brett Stevens, QLD, ’53 Studebaker – 60
  • Ben Gatt, NSW, EA Ford Falcon – 40
  • Steve Stanic, NSW, ’56 Ford Custompline – 20
  • Mike Trahar, VIC, ’53 Studebaker – 20
  • Peter Gratz, QLD, ’69 Dodge Daytona – 20