Feature for this night was the first round of the Australian Top Doorslammer Championship Series.

It attracted 11 entries including two newcomers to Top Doorslammer, West Aussie Wayne Keys and New South Welshman Maurice Fabietti.  The previous day had seen Brett Stevens card a 6.18 @ 226 mph in testing, so he looked to be one of the favourites going into the event.

The first round of qualifying was met with windy conditions and it was shake city as soon as the first slammer hit the track. Gary Phillips in the Lucas Oils Studebaker pedalled around 100ft out, then drove through for a 6.54. Next up were Victor Bray and David Koop. Both pedalled, Bray recovering sooner for a 6.55 to Koop’s 6.76. Wayne Keys came out for a familiarisation pass in his newly bodied Monaro Top Doorslammer. The car didn’t leave too well with a 1.24 60′ as tyre shake rattled the body. Keys wisely got off the throttle and coasted down the track.

Ben Bray in the Castrol 57 Chevy faced Marcus Chambers in the next match up. Bray got down the track with a 6.49 for the number one spot, whilst Chambers pedalled and ran through for a 7.21. Last race for the first round of qualifying was Peter Kapiris against Brett Stevens. Stevens copped shake by the 60′ beams which made him smoke the tyres big time, whilst Kapiris smoked them about 100′ out, both cars heading for the centreline. Stevens saw the Batmobile just about change lanes and got off the noise, whilst Kapiris got back on it after half track to record a 7.42.

20021116-48The second round of qualifying was only slightly better in terms of numbers, with tyre shake still appearing to afflict a lot of teams. Grant O’Rourke faced Phillips for the first race. O’Rourke shook and Phillips was also off the throttle early. Keys emerged for another run and after a wheelstanding launch, tyre shake again ruined his run, making him coast through for an eight second pass. Kapiris faced Koop in the next race, Kapiris making a 6.41 pass at 229mph to go to number one, while Koop spat a spark plug and rolled through in a cloud of smoke for a 7.02. Ben Bray faced off against Stevens, Bray making a clean 6.40 to regain number one spot, as Stevens smoked the tyres big time, went on to two wheels and to the centreline before getting back on the noise for a 6.63. Chambers then faced Robin Judd, the latter carding a 6.43 as Chambers went through for a PB 6.58. It was a sign of things to come for the budget HQ racer. The last run of the round was the best. In typical Victor Bray fashion he went straight to the top of the field with a 6.19 at a low 221 mph. You have to wonder what might have been if that speed had been higher, as he went 4.06/190 to half track.

20021116-18The last round of qualifying was the best of the day, aside from a big oildown. Judd faced Fabietti, which looked to be a good match up until Fabietti stalled in the burnout, leaving him out of the eight car field. Judd made another consistent run, a 6.43. O’Rourke matched up with Phillips again. Phillips went straight and true for a 6.33 at 233 mph, as O’Rourke had massive tyre shake yet again and tore the diff out of the car, leaving a trail of oil from about 200′ to the finish line. After an hour clean up, Stevens emerged for a solo. He also made a superb run, a 6.23 @ 229 good enough for second position. Keys was making his run to get into the field, however tyre shake yet again plagued the car, and despite a .998 60′ time he couldn’t find the form he needed, a 7.91 all he could muster. Kapiris then faced Victor Bray in a great match up. The Batmobile finally left without shake and carded a 6.31 to Bray’s 6.27. The last race was between Koop and Ben Bray. Koop crept through the beams, meaning his ET was a write off, as Bray got out of shape and backed off for a seven second time card.

So, after qualifying the order was: Victor Bray 6.19, Stevens 6.23, Kapiris 6.31, Phillips 6.33, Ben Bray 6.40, Judd 6.41, Chambers 6.58 and Koop on the bump with a 6.76.

The first race of the first round of the first stop for the Australian Top Doorslammer Championship was between Phillips and Ben Bray. Phillips took the holeshot, a .154 to Bray’s .244, and from there he simply extended the lead with a 6.28 to Bray’s 6.30. The next race was to pit Chambers and Stevens, however when Stevens pulled out, O’Rourke got the call up. The damage to the diff wasn’t fixed, however they pulled up to the line for valuable points. Chambers was aware that O’Rourke wouldn’t compete, so simply launched and buttoned off for a 15 second timecard. Kapiris was expected to make easy work of Judd, however what occurred was one of the upsets of the night. Kapiris got the slight edge with a .062 reaction time to Judd’s .085, however tyre shake again took hold of the Batmobile, necessitating a pedal. Judd meanwhile did his own thing and finished the race with a 6.41 to Kapiris’ fast closing 6.49 @ 233 mph. The last match up for the round was between Victor Bray and Koop. Koop got a two hundredths advantage off the line, but Bray had eaten that up by the first 60′, with a great 1.00 60′ time, barrelling through the traps to record a 6.28 at a world record 239.36 mph!

The semi finals rolled around with Judd facing Chambers in the first race. But as Judd finished his burnout, he just kept rolling and turned off at the end of the track, leaving Chambers to take a solo. He was lucky too, as he blew the tyres off at the hit of the throttle. Bray matched up with Phillips for the next race. And this one was ALL Bray. A .037 light to Phillips’ .165 was followed by the most incredible run since Kapiris’ 6.07, a 6.15 at a massive 245.23 mph! Not only had the 240 mph barrier and the world record been broken, they were positively smashed. Needless to say, the Bray team was overjoyed with the win. Phillips’ 6.56 in the other lane at a relatively low 229 mph never stood a chance to the awesome horsepower of the Castrol Formula R 57 Chevy.

20021116-20The final held great expectations. Could Bray set a world record time or speed again? Or would the underdog Chambers emerge the winner? Bray got left behind on the line this time, Chambers getting out with a .074 to Bray’s .137. Then Bray slowed after the 330′ beams, leaving Chambers to win his first ever Top Doorslammer final with a 6.99! He was quoted after the event as saying that it had been the best day of his life.

In Top Comp eliminator, Mark Sheehan was the class of qualifying. In his awesome AA/A, Sheehan recorded a phenomenal 6.06, to be 1.08 seconds under his index! Needless to say, this car will be in the fives very soon. Second was held by Martin Miller’s AA/D, which recorded a 6.45 on his 7.00 index. However in eliminations, Sheehan’s altered faltered and his dominance ceased, leaving Damien Harris who carded a PB 6.58 to take on Peter Nowak’s CC/D. It was Nowak the victor when Harris redlighted away a 6.67 for Nowak’s 6.82 to take the win.

In Super Comp, Ian Johns once again top qualified with a 7.004 PB, coming oh so close to that six second pass. As eliminations progressed, it was Johns once again grabbing the highlight reel, with a 7.116 second pass at 200.00 mph! However he didn’t quite make the finals, losing to Geoff Chaisty in the semis. Chaisty faced off against David Dequen’s B/A, with Chaisty the winner on a G/SK 8.77 to Dequeen’s 8.57.

Comp Bike saw Ray Easson hit the top of qualifying once again with an A/CB 7.72. In eliminations however, an out of shape run saw him out of contention for the finals. Dave Richter and Sean Arthur faced off in the finals contest, with Richter the trophy winner as Arthur again redlighted in a final.

In Modified eliminator, Erin Healy returned and promptly top qualified with a 7.75. He also took the bracket win in a good final race between himself and Rick Johns.

In Super Sedan, Colin Mortimore was the top qualifier for the second time in a row with a 9.01. However it was Graham Kennedy in the “Good, Bad and the Ugly” Capri who scored a win over a fouling Shane Catalano.

Modified Bike saw Julie Nieuwhof back on top of the qualifying sheets with an 8.73. But in the final it was Neil Anderson taking victory for the second time over runner up Gary Hammond.

Genie Performance Super Street had Jason Gill on top for qualifying, but it was Matt Treloar’s neat VN Commodore that grabbed success in for eliminations, defeating Steve Schuller.

In Junior Dragster, Matthew Johnson top qualified with an 8.73 and then promptly took a bracket win when Jordan Scott red lighted in the final race.