The WA Super Sportsman Showdown this Saturday will see state drag racing championships begin to really take shape as the season moves into its second half.
The closest battles are to be found in two similarly named divisions – Modified and Modified Bike – where less than a round of racing separates the leaders.
Nick Panagopoulos and Nicholas Wroe are dead even in the Modified pointscore, with Cory Treasure only 30 points behind. Panagopoulos is a new driver to Modified but comes with extensive experience from Super Sedan competition, allowing him to quickly establish himself as one of the main contenders. Despite not yet taking an event win, three final round appearances have allowed Panagopoulos to accrue points rapidly.
In the opposite corner is Wroe. He began his season with a runner up and then took an event victory at the last round of the series, bringing him even with Panagopoulos.
But still in with more than just a chance is Treasure. He is the only driver to win two events this season, but three events without any race wins have left him with some work to do.
Modified Bike sees Brian Hotker and Rob Good going toe-to-toe, with Hotker’s narrow 10 point lead largely thanks to his win at the opening event of the season and a runner up at the second. Good’s season got a boost at the third event of the season when he took victory, but he has also been successful because he has been racking up individual race wins, with no first round losses.
Also closely fought is Supercharged Outlaws, where two wins and three final rounds see Jodie Mellitt on top, though Darryl Mullins is a mere 15 points behind. Mullins opened his season with an event victory but then struggled to get win lights, while Mellitt has not finished off the championship podium in Supercharged Outlaws for the past four seasons and will be looking to keep that record in tact.
While there are some greater margins in other divisions, most remain up for grabs.
Super Comp has seen small fields at recent events, but that hasn’t made choosing a winner easy. The last three rounds of the championship have seen three different winners, with Errol Quartermaine’s wild turbocharged Falcon, Todd Stacy’s flame-throwing rotary engine Mazda and Jake Chaisty’s sleek Commodore splitting the victories between them. Quartermaine has benefited from being the only driver to attend every event so far and leads the points.
Competition Bike sees Wayne Patterson’s turbocharged Ducati leading the way with 445 points from Paul DeKlerk and Noel Watson. Patterson’s chief rival Phill Paton has had a rough season, crashing his bike and having to miss the last two events.
Alby Bakranich’s three successive final round appearances have seen him climb to the top of the Top Sportsman standings, holding off Paul Downe by 35 points.
Mick Fenton has built a surprisingly large lead in the tough Super Sedan bracket. From five events, Fenton had made it to four finals and won two times, seeing him 75 points ahead of Kathy Regan at the midway point of the season.
Richard Stevens is 50 points up on Kirstie Wroe in Super Street right now, while Brodie Zappia has carved out a 60 point lead in Junior Dragster.
Two championships look to be almost locked up despite four events being left for the season. In Top Comp, Wayne Keys’ home-built supercharged Camaro leads the chase by 140 points from second placed Russell Ladbrook, meaning all Keys has to do is ensure he appears for the first round at the remaining events.
Meanwhile Outlaw Radial sees Kevin Boulton with a 115 point lead over George Kelly, enough to give him a comfortable feeling for the conclusion of the season.
The WA Super Sportsman Showdown takes place this Saturday at Perth Motorplex, with pit access tickets available for just $25.