Nitro Up North this past weekend at Hidden Valley Drag Strip in Darwin represented the opening of the 2015/2016 ANDRA Championship season for Top Alcohol and Top Doorslammer while serving as an introduction to Top Fuel in the Northern Territory.
Thanks to Government backing from NT Chief Minister Adam Giles and Grant Hamon at Motorsport NT, the Hidden Valley Drag Racing Association was able to realise a dream by celebrating their 30-year anniversary with the first ever Top Fuel passes in Darwin by Rapisarda Autosport International.
Darwin will never quite be the same after the 12,000 strong crowd over two days, experienced four side by side Top Fuel passes across the weekend by 2015 ANDRA Top Fuel Champion Damien Harris and teammate Wayne Newby. Harris would get quicker with each pass going on to set a new Hidden Valley track record of 4.639 at 317.49 mph.
It was a weekend of firsts as in addition to those electrifying first ever Top Fuel passes, Scott MacLean and Paul Cannuli emerged as first time ANDRA Drag Racing Series winners in Top Alcohol and Top Doorslammer. The event also marked the first ever Top Doorslammer shootout for non-qualifiers to earn Championship points.
The new format included two rounds of the ‘shootout’ for all non-qualifiers between eliminations contested by the top 8 qualifiers. Each shootout round winner was allocated 20 points per round while each shootout round loser was allocated 15 points per round.
The shootout enhanced the spectacle for the fans who were treated to hourly appearances of Top Doorslammer ensuring the concept is a highly popular one with more cars on the track more often as the event reached it’s crescendo.
As Hidden Valley Drag Racing Association President, the weekend could not have gone any better for Scott MacLean and his track crew, the only club in Australia staffed by 100% volunteers to stage Top Fuel, are to be commended for all their hard work and efforts in making Nitro Up North a great spectacle and the biggest Drag Racing event in Hidden Valley history.
The past few years the bar had been set to a high standard by former HVDRA President Jay Jukes who assisted in delivering an outstanding event. It’s safe to say the HVDRA has now taken things to even greater heights following an enhanced presentation at the track, record numbers through the gates and great support from local and interstate racers.
ANDRA is excited for the future of Drag Racing in the Northern Territory and we look forward to returning for Top Doorslammer August 14-15, and once again next year for what will no doubt be another well-organised and highly successful event.
Image: Grant Stephens / Drag News Australia