Headlining the November 29/30 Goldenstate Championships were the crowd favourite Top Doorslammers and the wild Top Bikes, both competing in rounds of the national points series.
Southside Engine Centre Top Doorslammer featured exactly the same entrants as the previous meeting. The first qualifying session was run right after a live cross from the Channel Ten cameras who did a weather report from the Kwinana starting line. First out were Peter Kapiris and Brett Stevens, both shaking, with Kapiris the better of the two, putting down a 6.51 to Brett Stevens’ 6.66. Marcus Chambers and David Koop matched up next, Chambers running a 6.87, Koop a 6.76. Grant O’Rourke then headed out with Gary Phillips, the Hitachi Monaro carding a 6.56 as the Lucas Oils Studebaker went straight to the top with a 6.33! Maurice Fabietti and Wayne Keys wrapped up the session with a great race, Keys’ 6.40 to Fabietti’s 6.45.
The second session had much better air for the competitors and a cooler track. Chambers and Robin Judd opened things up, Judd laying down a 6.75, Chambers a slightly improved 6.81. Koop went 6.82, Stevens belting down the track for a 6.23 to get into top spot. Keys took on O’Rourke in a battle of the old and the new Monaros, with the vintage model taking it out, a PB 6.32 getting the nod over Keys’ shaking 7.09. Notable on this run was the .977 60′ from O’Rourke and the .993 from Keys. Kapiris was to face Ben Bray, but when the blower burst in the burnout he had to go and make repairs. Bray meanwhile came straight out and carded a header scraping 6.104! This was the best ever run for the car. Victor came out in the next race and by comparison “only” went 6.40.
The last session promised to be excellent with a dropping bump spot time. Koop and Phillips kicked it off to a spectacular start for both the right and the wrong reasons. Phillips hauled down the track for a 6.26 to get into third spot, but all eyes were on Koop as the beautiful Delphi 55 Chevy burst into flames, apparently from a broken fuel pump. The car hit the sandpit and the flames appeared to go out, before the fire relit and the car slowly burnt. It was a devastating blow for the team, who had just recovered from a freakily similar fire in the opening season of this same track. Sad, but the racing had to go on. Keys and Kapiris were quickly out to beat the curfew, Keys shaking again as Kapiris put in a 6.32 for his spot in the filed. Fabietti and Victor Bray were the last pair out for the night before the curfew had to be enforced. Victor was up in smoke at the hit, spearing towards the 60′ timer, as Fabietti had the chutes appear to shake out.
At the end of qualifying, the field was very quick. And this is how it went … 1. Ben Bray – 6.10, 2. Brett Stevens – 6.23, 3. Gary Phillips – 6.26, 4. Grant O’Rourke – 6.32, 5. Peter Kapiris – 6.32, 6. Victor Bray – 6.40, 7. Wayne Keys – 6.40, 8. Maurice Fabietti – 6.45. DNQ – Dave Koop, Robin Judd, Marcus Chambers
The first race of the first round was between Stevens and Keys. It was a ripper, not because of the times, but just for entertainment value! Both racers had to pedal past the 60′ beams, and from there they just kept pedalling, three or four times each, before Stevens’ engine had enough, letting Keys into the semis – and didn’t the WA crowd go nuts! Phillips and Victor Bray then faced off in a replay of the semi final from the last round. And it was Bray again, his 6.28 to Phillips’ 6.30, a good close race. O’Rourke and Kapiris looked to be evenly matched going in, but when O’Rourke chucked two rods in the burnout, the win was handed to Kapiris, who ran a 6.25 to show that he was returning to his old form. Last race of the round was between Fabietti and Ben Bray, but when Fabietti’s car shut down, Bray had the track to himself, putting in a low ET for the round 6.17.
The semi finals pitted home town hero Keys against the might of Victor Bray. Keys made a valiant effort, but his 6.48 was no match for the 6.10 from Bray, a best for the new car. Kapiris then took on the younger Bray, but the teenager was too keen on the tree and a .319 red sent Kapiris into the final with a 6.16.
After battling all the way through last season, this was the first match between Kapiris and Bray for the new season. Kapiris took the tree with a .069 to Victor’s .165, and from there Kapiris extended his lead, a 6.092 setting Low ET for the weekend and easily dispensing of Bray’s 6.22
AEC Top Bike had eight entrants, but this was reduced to seven when Mark Drew was not able to obtain his license. The interstate visitors were Dave Boreham and Brett Stevens, both from Queensland. The first session saw only a few of the racers emerge. Jay Upton came out and promptly broke a belt, Dave Boreham made his first pass at the Motorplex a good one, a 7.86, Brett Stevens had troubles and slowed, whilst Sid Standring made a clean, straight 7.90.
The second session was a lot more entertaining as the Attitude Racing team brought all three of their bikes around. Standring took on Brett Jonas in the first race, both racers off pace with eight second passes. The Brothers Ashelford then emerged together, Mark putting in a 7.51 whilst Ian lost a cylinder in the top end of the track but still went 7.26! The two Queenslanders then took on each other, Boreham getting out of shape fro a nine second lap as Stevens put out a pot on his way to a 7.68. Last out for the round was Jay Upton, and he made it count with a 7.07 putting him into top position.
The last session saw five bikes come out for a last shot. Mark Ashelford went 7.64 which didn’t improve on his previous lap whilst Stevens went 7.48 to move him up a spot. Jonas and Ian Ashelford tangled, Jonas putting in an 8.04 which kept him in seventh as Ian went 7.40, once again with a cylinder out, which in a two cylinder Harley obviously means a lot! Boreham closed the round with a 7.77 which didn’t improve his position, but would have given him some confidence going into the next day’s eliminations.
So, at the end of eliminations this is how the field stood. 1. Jay Upton – 7.07, 2. Ian Ashelford – 7.26, 3. Brett Stevens 7.48, 4. Mark Ashelford – 7.51, 5. Dave Boreham – 7.77, 6. Sid Standring – 7.90, 7. Brett Jonas – 8.04.
For the first round, Upton was lucky to have a solo as the bike broke right at the hit of the throttle on the run. Funniest part about this part was the audible “aaawwwwwww” from the crowd in disappointment. Boreham and Mark Ashelford were next to race, Boreham out of shape on his way to an 8.39 as Ashelford put in a consistent 7.513 that matched his qualifying time to the thousandth and the speed as well! Standring then faced Stevens, but the little motor in Standring’s machine was no match for the strength of Stevens’ bike, which cruised to a 7.73 win. Jonas then duelled with Ian Ashelford in the first match up for the night between Attitude bikes. Ian easily took the win, his 7.41 eclipsing Jonas’ 8.22.
In the semis, Upton’s Triumph motorcycle faced Mark Ashelford on the Harley Davidson. Upton looked like he had it in the bag until the power went out, and he had to watch as Ashelford took the win by the smallest of margins, his 7.67 defeating Upton’s 7.70. It was Ashelford’s slowest pass of the weekend. Brother Ian then faced Stevens, and when the Jack Daniels machine lost a cylinder, the Attitude bike made its move, Ian’s 7.24 defeating Stevens’ 7.86.
The final was the second match up in a final round between the Ashelford Bros, the last time being at the Winternationals. Mark had the consistency, but Ian had the pace, with a 7.14 from the Australian Champion enough to dispense with Mark’s valiant 7.66.
In Veem Engineering Top Comp, Stuart Rowland top qualified with a 6.21 on his 6.68 index in his amazing AA/FC. This thing just keeps getting better with age. Robert Pannizza held second with a CC/G 7.51 on his 7.98 index, whilst Damien Harris was third with a AA/FC 6.52 on his 6.91 personal index.
The B Final was between Trevor Morrison and Damien Harris. Morrison had been having handling troubles all day long, with the lightweight altered just wanting to pick the wheels up on every pass. It happened again in the last race, Morrison’s 7.70 no match for Harris’ 6.59.
The A Final matched Rowland and Pannizza. But when Rowland decided to take the scenic route through a few timing boxes, Pannizza took the automatic win, a best for the season 7.43 coming up.
Super Comp saw Ian Johns yet again top qualify with a 7.04. Hey Ian, how about giving someone else a turn? Graeme Simms was second with a F/SK 9.65, whilst Geoff Chaisty was third with a G/SK 8.81.
It was Johns versing the Queenslander Steve Norman in the final, Johns winning out with an A/AP 7.17 to Norman’s B/SK 8.45.
Comp Bike had Sean Arthur on top with an 8.09. The final pitted Arthur against Easson, but when Arthur redlit for the third time in a row in a final, it was all over, and once again both bikes were shut off well early, making it another disappointing final for the premier bike bracket.
Quit Modified saw Erin Healy as the class of qualifying yet again with a 7.78. Doug Bird’s T-Bucket put down an 8.01 for second, while Brian Murray filled out third with an 8.10. Neil Gannaway’s popular wheelstands had the crowd cheering for him in the final, but opponent Rick Johns was a tough racer and a .003 light and an 8.59 on an 8.57 was enough to take the victory over Gannaway’s .055 launched 9.42. The win sent Johns to the top of the points table, 40 points ahead of Townsend and 50 points ahead of another three racers poised to strike in third.
Chris Mills Performance Super Sedan featured Mick “Patch” Frossos on top of qualifying after an 8.90 from his stunning new Nissan 300ZX. Following this was Colin Mortimore with a 9.00 and Phil Gardiner with a 9.37.
As the first final for both racers for the season, both were hoping to take it out. Greg Carter got the advantage off the line, a .021 reaction setting him ahead of Atkins’ .073, and from there Carter went 9.678 on a 9.66, forcing Atkins to a breakout. The win put Carter on top of the points series, narrowly ahead of Shane Catalano and Mike Smith.
After the six sessions of qualifying for Di Candilo Steel City Modified Bike, Julie Nieuwhof came out tops with an 8.66. Behind this time was Neil Anderson with an 8.98 and Glen Learmonth on a 9.01.
The final was a classic between two of the heavy hitters of the class. Anderson was on a roll, with 24 race wins in a row, but Nieuwhof was after her first win since the 2002 Westernationals. On the light, it was Anderson with a .045 to Nieuwhof’s .101, but with the wind blowing a gale, Anderson was taken out to the centerline and promptly back to the wall on the faired bike, with Nieuwhof’s Z900-bodied machine not as affected, allowing her to run an 8.83 on an 8.75 for a one hundredth of a second victory to Anderson’s 9.13 on an 8.98.
Genie Performance Super Street saw Shane O’Sullivan’s Valiant in top spot after qualifying with an 11.01. Following this was a duo of Toranas, Jason Gill recording an 11.11, Mark Rothwell an 11.14.
Matt Treloar had been building on his points lead for the whole meeting up to the final and the ten bonus points for a win would really have helped. However Clayton Kennedy had other ideas, holeshoting Treloar with a .045 to the Commodore’s .156, and from there Kennedy knew what to do, backing off to take the win. By the meeting’s end, Treloar had built up a 50 point gap between himself and nearest rival Jason Gill, with three racers on equal third.
Smarter than Smoking Junior Dragster featured the usual suspects in the top spots, Matthew Johnson and Jeremy Ball filling out first and second. Matthew Davis made it into third this meeting with a 9.74.
Krystal Ecclestone and Johnson battled all of last season for the championship, and the finals match up looked to be another of their historic battles. Johnson left with the better light, a .062 to Ecclestone’s .120, with Johnson too good, an 8.807 on an 8.80 forcing Ecclestone to a breakout. This left Johnson on top of the points after two wins and a runner up, 60 points ahead of nearest racer Scott and 80 points ahead of third placed Ecclestone.