The remainder of pro eliminations for the Home Group WA Nitro Slam at Perth Motorplex are to be completed in February following a trying weekend with the weather – but there were plenty of highlights and fun along the way.
The day opened with qualifying sessions for Pro Slammer and Top Bike as part of the 400 Thunder Series. Mark Belleri was the big improver with a 5.82 in the Holden Trade Club Monaro, which left him just two hundredths off the pace set by leader John Zappia on Friday night. Speaking of Zappia, he made a rare mistake in qualifying while staging the car, rolling the beams. Also putting tough down a nice pass in the session was Grant O’Rourke with a 5.87.
Come eliminations time and no one quite knew what the racing was going to be like following a rain delay. Peter Kapiris got the ball rolling with a 6.00 defeat of Gary Phillips, who headed for the wall and had to get out of the throttle of the Lucas Oils Studebaker. Grant O’Rourke gave Daniel Gregorini a tenth of a second headstart but wwhen Gregorini struck tyre shake shortly afterwards O’Rourke was able to come flying by with low ET of the round, a 5.88. Mark Belleri pedalled to a 6.18 win over Pat Carbone but the big news was in the last match up of the round as Pino Priolo (below) put a massive holeshot on Zappia and was able to record a 6.07 win against a 5.86!
“It was like taking Mohammed Ali down – he’s the best and I really had to be on my game,” Priolo said.
“I knew it would be won on the tree, and that’s exactly how it panned out. The car ran beautifully, I hit all my shift points.
“Once I had the jump on him, I knew I could hold on. I glanced to the side and I saw he wasn’t there.”
Top Bike was no less action packed with Benny Stevens (above) getting a round win over Wayne McGuinness while Chris Matheson smashed low ET out of the park with a 6.47. Greg Durack picked Les Holden’s pocket for a 7.66 to 7.77 win, as Mark Drew finally found the pace he had been searching for with a 6.56 victory against Chirs Porter who gave the wall a slight touch up on board his nitro Harley.
Joining the shenanigans was a whole bunch of Nitro Funny Cars on the property. Mark Sheehan (above) again bested Anthony Begley in their match up, carding a 5.11 as Begley rode Chemical Warfare into the wall. Though initially kicking himself for not catching the car’s move earlier, Begley did have some mechanical issues which saw the header flames go out completely on one side of the car, pushing him across the track.
The Outlaw Nitro Funny Cars continued their preparation for the Aeroflow Outlaw Nitro Funny Car Series which comes to Perth in January. Andrew Katavatis (above), Michael Brooks, Matt Abel and Frank Taylor all got some track time in, sorting out a few bugs ahead of their time in the spotlight come 2016.
While eliminations for the Pro Slammers and Top Bikes will recommence at the Westernationals in February, the WA state championship series continues with the Night of Fire featuring Jet Dragsters and fireworks on December 28.