Zappia had just completed a 5.70sec. final round run and deployed his parachutes only to have them separate from the car, leaving him unable to stop the car before the end of the braking area. He went into the emergency sand trap still travelling at high speed, where he thankfully stepped out unhurt.
“I felt the chutes hit initially and then felt them leave the car,” he said. “I got on to the brake to started pulling it up and I let the clutch out to let the motor turn over. Before I knew it I was out of bitumen and into the sand. When the dust cleared I was only about 20 metres away from the catch net. The sand worked exactly how it was supposed to and washed the speed off very fast. I didn’t have a scratch or bruise on me.”
Damage to the car was fortunately limited to the front end bodywork, which Zappia will repair in time for the next round of the series at the Westernationals in just over three weeks.
Parachutes are compulsory on high speed drag cars and bikes, providing an aerodynamic braking effect that slows the vehicles down to the point where they can safely use traditional brakes.
Zappia was competing in a strange final round against Daniel Gregorini which was to see the winner decided using two solo runs, after one lane of the track was oiled by a previous run. Zappia was first out on track but the incident resulted in the meeting being called due to the noise curfew and the final round was left ultimately undecided.
The Nitro Bike class saw Greg Durack run a new personal best time of 6.77sec. aboard his turbocharged Kawasaki, defeating Les Holden in the final round.
Other winners for the night included Russell Ladbrook (Top Comp), Jake Chaisty (Super Comp), Justin Townson (Competition Bike), Jodie Mellitt (Supercharged Outlaws), Alby Bakranich (Top Sportsman), Kevin Boulton (Outlaw Radial), Nicholas Wroe (Modified), Mick Fenton (Super Sedan), Ian Read (Modified Bike), Joel Trotman (Super Street) and Brodie Zappia (Junior Dragster).
Drag racing returns to Perth Motorplex on February 15 with the WA Super Sportsman Showdown.