Whether you wanted your drag racing really fast or hilariously slow, Coates Hire West Coast Nitro served up something for everybody in an action packed night at Perth Motorplex.
Let’s start with the fast, and for that we need to thank Mark Sheehan. After qualifying at the bottom of the field, Sheehan was the underdog against top qualifier Darren Morgan. But in an amazing turnaround Sheehan dropped a 4.59 second bomb at 526kmh and scorched into the final round where he would face Wayne Newby.
The race was on early for the final until Newby smoked the tyres. Sheehan popped a burst panel shortly afterwards but he had the momentum and rolled through for a win.
“We were pretty confident after Wednesday testing,” he said. “But you can be too confident with these things. By Friday night we had our backs against he wall and I was starting to get a bit worried.
“The team pulled together and we tried to slow the car down for the last few laps and then it reeled out a ‘fifty’.
“Fifties are nice but we want to go faster, a lot of people have run that quick a long time ago. As a team we will be working hard to be more consistent and step it up next time.”
Newby was succinct in his summation of the day.
“Congratulations to Mark, he had the better car today,” he said.
Gary Phillips’ world record performances were enough to intimidate most of his opponents but if there was one who was up to the task it was John Cannuli – who defeated Phillips in the all Queenslander final.
Phillips smoked the tyres shortly after launching and that allowed Cannuli to run out to the victory with a 5.74.
“Everytime I race that guy so much crap goes through my head, that’s why he is the champ,” Cannuli said. “I tried to cut a light on him and I was lucky the old man smoked the tyres. I just had to hope that my car stuck and it did.”
Pro Bike was taken out by Glenn Wooster against Maurice Allen but the headlines all went to a more bizarre semi final race where Allen and opponent Ryan Learmonth both came to a stop shortly after the start line.
The engine noise might have been gone, but the race was still live and both riders got off their bikes to begin running to the end of the track! Allen had a significant head start and while Learmonth closed the distance he wasn’t quite able to catch the Victorian.
“We had too much clutch and bogged the bike down until it stalled,” Learmonth said. “I looked up and Maurice was still rolling with no drive. I then had to turn around and tell my crew not to touch my bike (which would mean disqualification) while I tried to find neutral with bent shift forks.
“When I started running he was at 330 feet (100m) and I didn’t think I would catch him but wanted to make him run. When I got to half track I could hear the crowd going off so I thought keep going bud. I started to get pretty tired by 1000 feet as pushing my bike from the start line is a long way with a real sticky tyre.”
See the video of the bizarre race here.
Two exhibition brackets took place with Pro Slammer and Top Bike both entertaining a strong crowd on the night. Daniel Gregorini won Pro Slammer when John Zappia came in slightly light on the scales after the race while Greg Durack took out Les Holden in Top Bike.
The night featured plenty of highlights from WA’s track championship brackets as well.
David Biggs put the front end of his Supercharged Outlaws dragster into orbit.
Brett Glover ran a PB 7.17 on his way to a Super Comp win against Victorian Anthony Selva, who was driving Frank Salvo’s Camaro.
Brett Ghedina ran Australia’s quickest non-wheelie bar drag bike pass with an astonishing 7.34 in the final round against Phill Paton.
Aaron Bright took out Modified against Mark Grieve in the final round, with Grieve suffering through an awkward burnout procedure where the front end of the car wanted to go any which way but straight.
Yvette Gregg proved herself in Super Sedan again, defeating Roger Moorhouse.
Paul McNamara is no stranger to the winner’s circle of Modified Bike and returned there against Troy Thompson, who was more than happy considering it was his first event on a brand new turbocharged Suzuki.
Georgia McSweeney won Super Street, taking a solo in the final round when Darran Bakranich was unable to return after engine damage in the semi finals.
Jaymii Karapetkov was the third lady taking a win on the night, hers coming in Junior Dragster against Kyle Higgins.
The nitro action doesn’t ease up with Nitro Max hitting Perth Motorplex on March 5 and 6!