A full field of Top Doorslammers are set to compete in round five of the Direct Mining & Industrial Summer Slam this weekend as part of the 50th annual Westernationals.
The event will feature an eliminations format, as opposed to the three-round format normally used. That creates a huge opportunity for a points boost, as a first round loser will take home only 50 points, while the winner will bag 95.
Holding top position right now is reigning champion John Zappia, with 360 points to his credit in the Dananni Hotshots/Tony’s Auto Wreckers Holden Monaro. After launching his championship defence with victory in the opening round of the Direct Mining & Industrial Summer Slam, Zappia struggled through the next few events with mechanical problems. The veteran driver bounced back at the Night of Fire with a convincing win, backed up with a Top Comp victory at the Super Sportsman Showdown. With a fresh engine in play for the Westernationals, Zappia is ready to seal the deal on the title.
The Westernationals was a bogey event for Zappia last season, when he went out in the first round to Mark Chapman – so he will be looking to take revenge on the field this time!
Sitting second in the points is surprise packet Stuart Moresby in the Dananni Hotshots Studebaker. After breaking into the 5.80s at the Night of Fire, Stuart now has the pace to be a genuine threat. Should Zappia stumble in the first round or even the semi finals, Stuart is in the right place to capitalise!
Series sponsor Kelvin Lyle has worked his way into third position, largely on the back of his victory at the Nitro Slam. The Ford Mustang has plenty of horsepower on board, but has been temperamental for Lyle to drive. If the team can tame the Mustang’s mid-track antics then look out for Lyle to break into the 5.70s once again.
Ryan Moresby holds fourth position, in the Dananni Hotshots Ford Falcon. It has been a busy season for Ryan, who needed to find a new body for his Top Doorslammer after getting into a scrape with the wall at the start of the season. The team has now been able to re-focus on car setup and finding the consistent fives they know they are capable of.
Like Ryan, Daniel Gregorini knows how tough a rapid rebuild can be. He crashed his Chev Camaro on the first run of the season and had to perform an epic repair job to make it back just weeks later for the second round of the championship – which he won. Crossing the centre line at the Night of Fire saw Gregorini left frustrated, but he knows the potential of his Camaro is just waiting to be unlocked.
Sixth-placed Mark Chapman might be the dark horse of the field thanks to his recent run of consistency. A runner-up at the Night of Fire was a boost for the Penrite team, who have been knocking out regular 6.0s and 5.9s.
There will be plenty of people cheering for Frank Taylor and his Chev Chevelle, which seems to be on the verge of finding a clean way down the race track. If there were an award for perseverance, this team would definitely have earned it, as they search to cure the Chevelle of its handling woes and get it to the five-second zone it so richly deserves.
Last but certainly not least, Steve Aldridge got quickly race up the point standings from his current eighth position. Aldridge missed the first two events of the season as he replaced the body on his Crown Security Plymouth Barracuda, and then had some mechanical problems rule him out of eliminations at the Night of Fire. But with a personal best of 5.78 seconds, Aldridge has the pace to keep everyone worried.
The Direct Mining & Industrial Summer Slam show begins with qualifying on Saturday, February 27 at 5.30pm, while eliminations take place on Sunday, February 28, also from 5.30pm. The Top Doorslammers will be joined by Nitro Bikes, the WA Nitro Exhibition, and the Summit Racing Equipment Sportsman Series.
For event details and tickets, head to motorplex.com.au.
Words: Luke Nieuwhof
Pics: Jay Treasure