Andrew Katavatis was crowned the first BME WA Nitro Championship title winner on Saturday night at Perth Motorplex after completing a perfect season – though it didn’t come without pain.
Katavatis did not lose a single race in his ‘Beach Bomb’ Nitro Funny Car en route to the championship, including three straight victories on the weekend. On his final run of the season, Katavatis had just dropped a personal best 5.48sec. pass when the cover for the tail shaft came loose and began to knock around the cockpit.
“Just as I crossed the finish line the tail shaft cover came off and it was spinning around between my legs, with the reverse lever and cable whipping around,” he said.
“I pulled the car up to a complete stop as soon as possible, as I could feel my ankle getting hit by the cover and cable. I had the ambulance check me over after I got out of the car but fortunately the only damage to me was some bruising, while my fireproof suit and boots got some rips.”
Up until that point, Katavatis’ night at the track had been one of his best ever. He ousted Anthony Begley in a close 5.69sec to 5.77sec race in the first round, before taking down Michael Brooks with a 5.51sec. pass that sealed the championship.
“In round two, the car shook the tyres early in the run so I pedalled it and it ran through for what was a new personal best at the time,” Katavatis said. “The speed of 429.97kmh was also our highest ever. Unfortunately pedalling the car meant the fuel timers were out, and we hurt one piston and the cylinder head.”
After replacing parts in time for the final, Katavatis and his team went for what they thought was a safe tune up. It turned out to be just what the car wanted.
“We were slightly conservative as we knew we needed to get from A to B,” he said. “The run actually felt tame in comparison to the previous run as it was so smooth – until the tail shaft cover came off, of course.”
While the nitro cars are now done for the season, the WA Drag Racing Championship’s penultimate round saw a number of drivers and riders wrap up season titles.
Among those merely having to make an eliminations run at the April 10 Grand Finals to claim their championships are Wayne Keys (Top Comp), Ross Smith (Competition Bike), Darryl Mullins (Supercharged Outlaws) and Martin Mirco (Super Sedan).
Racking up event wins on Saturday night were Wayne Keys (Top Comp), Jamie Chaisty (Super Comp), Ross Smith (Competition Bike), Peter Appleby (Supercharged Outlaws), Alby Bakranich (Top Sportsman), Kevin Boulton (Outlaw Radial), Jeff Acton (Modified), Martin Mirco (Super Sedan), Shaun McGarry (Modified Bike), Glenn Sterkenburg (Super Street) and Zara Board (Junior Dragster).
The WA drag racing season wraps up on April 10 with a Jet Dragster show to accompany the championship finals.
Words: Luke Nieuwhof
Pic: High Octane Photos