The final round of the 2018/2019 Summit Racing Equipment Sportsman Series at the Perth Motorplex brought to a close an intense season of racing at the weekend (April 6/7).
At the end of two big days of on-track action, both season champions and event winners were celebrated with plenty of ANDRA Christmas Tree Trophies being handed out along with the prestigious John Storm Memorial Trophy.
For a full listing of championship winners and runners-up as well as event winners and runners-up, please click here. For a run down of how each of the brackets unfolded over the weekend, please read on.
MODIFIED BIKE – Champion: Jake Hamilton-Moderate. Championship runner-up: Bryan Finn. Event Winner: Chris Moore. Event runner-up: Bruce ‘Budgie’ Jones. Top Qualifier: Trent Anthony.
In Modified Bike it was Chris Moore who took out the event win over Bruce ‘Budgie’ Jones, after enjoying a bye run in the semi-finals and earlier victories over Chris Morgan (quarter-final), Zoe Nieuwhof and Christopher Fryer. Jones suffered a heart-braking failure on the startline in the final after having earlier emerged victorious from battles against Luke Seaton (semi), Tom Gartrell, Chris Allen and championship runner-up (and 2018 title winner) Bryan Finn. The bracket’s winner of the Top Qualifiers Medallion, thanks to TileCo-TheShowerPeople and KC Tools, Trent Anthony, enjoyed a bye to the second round where he was defeated by Seaton.
Championship getter Hamilton-Moderate made it through to the third round before being eliminated from the event proceedings, however you still couldn’t wipe the smile off his face as he had earlier been confirmed as the Summit Racing Equipment Sportsman Series Modified Bike Champion.
“There was a bit of hard work for us on Saturday, we had to change a clutch out, but it all came to the party on Sunday,” Hamilton-Moderate said, while thanking his wife, kids and family as well as sponsors Aus Dig, ModCon Civil and “everyone that makes the event what it is.”
“At the last ANDRA Grand Final my wife said to me, ‘you have to win me one of those,’ so it was good to be able to back that up.
“Saturday was a bit of a nightmare, but it all came through when it counts and it definitely means a lot to take the championship out.”
SUPER STREET – Champion: Paul Jennings. Championship runner-up: Nikolas Karanovic. Event winner: Kirstie Wroe. Event runner-up: Ian Taylor. Top Qualifier: Lee Watson.
A first round loss wasn’t enough to keep Paul Jennings from clinching the Summit Racing Equipment Sportsman Series Super Street championship over Nikolas Karanovic, who also suffered an early exit from racing on Sunday and would walk away with the runner-up honours.
“I am pretty excited and never thought this would happen. I wasn’t planning on chasing the season this year, but I got points early and I had no option but to come to Perth, and it has paid off well! That was the happiest first round loss I have ever had,” Jennings grinned.
“This is pretty surreal at the moment. I have to thank my brother and Steve for bringing the car over to Perth and also my parents for coming to every round as well as ANDRA, Summit Racing Equipment and all of the tracks. Thanks also to my sponsors Norwood Automatics, Adelaide Car Transport, Smart Road Auto Wreckers, Smart Road Towing, J&J Products and Work and Play Trailers.
“This really does mean a lot, it is yet to soak in.”
While the championship battle was decided early in the piece, there was still plenty of exciting Super Street action unfolding across the day, with Kirstie Wroe ultimately taking the event victory over Ian Taylor. On her way to the final, Wroe had earlier dispatched Jeff Thurley (semi-final), Kenah Begg, Denise Downe and her sister Ashleigh Wroe while Taylor had enjoyed a bye in the semi-final following wins over Michael North, Stephen Hotchkin and Paul Antonelli. Top Qualifier Lee Watson was unable to proceed past the first round in a repeat of his Westernationals results.
SUPER SEDAN – Champion and Event Winner: Martin Mirco. Championship runner-up: Peter Tzokas. Event runner-up: Steven Miilias. Top Qualifier: Dean Dawes.
Martin Mirco had plenty to smile about on Sunday evening, claiming both the Summit Racing Equipment Sportsman Series Super Sedan championship over runner-up (and 2018 champion) Peter Tzokas as well as the event victory for his bracket.
The Bibra Lake (WA) racer enjoyed a bye to the final where he took the win over Steven Miilias after having earlier defeated Luke Guppy (quarter-final), Ned Karanovic and Jason Lippi while Miilias had earned his spot in the final with victories over Mick Fenton (semi-final),Yvette Gregg, Top Qualifier Dean Dawes and Mark Rodgers.
While it concluded in the best way possible, Mirco’s championship push got off to a rocky start, with his Chev Camaro failing on the startline during Saturday qualifying.
“We had issues on the start line in qualifying, it had been there on Wednesday and we thought we had fixed it and it came back on Saturday night, so we did a few things and it worked thankfully,” Mirco explained.
“It has been a huge commitment to travel interstate personally and financially but it has been an awesome experience and I recommend it to everyone.”
Mirco thanks his sponsors Lost Racing Products, Holldon Rigging, JD Automotive Repairs and Detailing and WA Bolts for their support of his racing; as well as his wife Laura and kids Ella and Jenna; and his crew Jason, Raymond, Mick, Joey, Paul and Rod.
MODIFIED – Champion, Event Winner and Top Qualifier: Adam Mundy. Championship runner-up: Jess Proud (nee Voigt). Event runner-up: Angelo Locantro.
Adam Mundy was another racer with his hands full, walking away with the Summit Racing Equipment Sportsman Series Modified Championship as well as the event victory and the Top Qualifiers Medallion thanks to TileCo-TheShowerPeople and KC Tools.
The Port Lincoln (SA) racer took out victory over event runner-up Angelo Locantro after having earlier faced off against championship runner-up Jessica Proud in an intense semi-final which followed a bye run in the quarter-final and victory over Jeff Acton in round one. Locantro meanwhile had taken wins from Erin Healy (semi-final), Nicholas Wroe and Ashley Johnson on his way to the final.
“I am feeling over the moon, especially after the last event where I got my butt handed to me so it is good to get one back. This is a fantastic track and I still can’t believe it, it is just awesome,” exclaimed Mundy, while thanking his crew Des Mundy, John Boundey and Ron Beaucaris for all of their help.
“I never thought I would be holding this (the championship trophy), it is still sinking in. Thanks to Jess for the whole season, it has been a whole year of battling a little bit with a few wins each way. I am a little bit speechless. Thanks to my crew again, we wouldn’t be here without them.”
SUPERCHARGED OUTLAWS – Champion and Event Winner: Paul Stephen. Championship runner-up: Mark Hunt. Event runner-up: Alan Mahnkoph. Top Qualifier: Jack Bowden.
The West Australian drag racing community pulled together to ensure Paul Stephen could compete for the Summit Racing Equipment Sportsman Series Supercharged Outlaws championship and their efforts were well rewarded with Stephen taking out not only the championship but also the event victory at the weekend.
The Sydney racer had destroyed a diff during Saturday’s qualifying and without their efforts, would not have been able to front for race day.
Ultimately he would race all the way to the final, where he took a solo run to the event victory after his competition, Alan Mahnkoph, was unable to front due to a broken car. On his way to the final, he enjoyed a bye run in the semis following victory over David Smith and Norbert Claite while Mahnkoph had successfully faced off against championship runner-up Mark Hunt (semi) after a bye run and had also earlier dispatched Jon Ferguson in the first round. Top Qualifier Bowden was not on-track on Sunday due to personal circumstances.
“The way the West Australian drag racing community rallied around us on Saturday night was absolutely amazing. George Separovich supplied the diff gears and wouldn’t take any money, Aaron Deery opened up the workshop and put it all together including all of the parts and a diff carrier and also wouldn’t take any money, it was amazing,” Stephen said.
“I was sorry to see Alan Mahnkoph unable to front up for the final, he has a great car that I have known since I was a kid. I want to say thank you to the track staff, they are the best in the business. We have travelled all over the country this season and we have had a ball.
“I lost my best mate about six months ago to suicide and his ashes went on the second last run on Sunday afternoon – ‘Crazy’ (Kevin Crozier) god love you, you were a good bloke. He was one of my first ever crew guys and the greatest guy in the world, he was my best friend. Everyone, please just talk to each other, everyone has mates and it doesn’t matter, just talk.”
Stephen thanked Atlantic Oils, Bob Reishel at Smart Fuels, Macarthur Garages, John Williard of Flatout Services, Craig’s Automatics and his dedicated crew Dearne (his wife), Neil Webb, John Ward and Thad Stewart for their support this season.
TOP SPORTSMAN – Champion, event winner and John Storm Memorial Trophy winner: Jason Arbery. Championship runner-up and Event runner-up: Vlado Turic. Top Qualifier: Amanda Martin.
Jason Arbery will need to find a lot of room on the mantle when he returns home to Mount Gambier (SA) this week, taking out not only the Summit Racing Equipment Sportsman Series Top Sportsman Championship but also the event victory and the prestigious John Storm Memorial Trophy at the weekend.
Making this achievement even more incredible is the fact that it echoes his performance at last year’s ANDRA Grand Final at which he took out the 2018 event victory, Top Sportsman title and John Storm Memorial Trophy.
To read what Arbery had to say about it all, please click here.
Arbery faced championship runner-up Vlado Turic in the final after enjoying a bye run in his semi-final following victory over Darryl Maxfield and Christopher Roe. Meanwhile, Turic had won against Darren Saliba (round one) before enjoying a round two bye ahead of victory from Nathan Puglia. Top Qualifier Amanda Martin was unable to front for race day after suffering a breakage in her Chev Cobalt.
COMPETITION BIKE – Champion: Rob Cassar. Championship runner-up: David Willis. Event winner and top qualifier: Brett Ghedina. Event runner-up: Ross Smith.
It was a troubled run to the top for Rob Cassar, who took out his first Summit Racing Equipment Sportsman Series Competition Bike championship on a tie break with runner-up David Willis.
“We broke the motor in the pits before the first round,” explained Cassar. “We warmed up in the pits and broke the engine, we had David Willis in the first round and I had an hour to put an engine in. We had never run that motor before and we said, ah well, let’s send it!
“In that run it sort of creeped through the water, and I thought that was going to be it, championship over. In the next round I said I am not doing a burnout, and it surprised me! In the next pass I thought I wouldn’t do the burnout again and we went 7.43s at 170-something mile per hour and I thought, wow!
“I have to than my crew and everyone that chipped in, my wife, and everyone for coming over. I would also like to thank Ballistic Performance, Denso Auto Parts Australia, PowerPlus Racing Fuels, Shinko Tyers Australia, Nolan Helmets Australia, Lectron Carbs Australia and Lucas Oils. And also all the guys in the US who helped us out when I broke what felt like everything on the bike at the last round!”
Brett Ghedina took out the event victory following his top qualifying performance the day before, and also reset a national record in the process (further details to be released later this week).
SUPER STOCK – Champion and Event runner-up: Alex Panagiotidis. Championship runner-up: Rob Dekert. Event winner and top qualifier: Todd Stacy.
Alex Panagiotidis was almost speechless following the day’s racing at the ANDRA Grand Finals, having not only realised a 20 year goal but also going all the way to the final at the last round of the season.
“This is a 20 year dream, I don’t know what to say. We started racing and bought this car 20 years ago and it took 10 years to win our first event and it has taken 20 years to win the championship, which was our goal right from the beginning,” he said.
“We will try and run the season again, but for now we will go home and regroup.
“I definitely have to single out the crew – they are everything, we have had a good, loyal crew all season. My son George, my daughter Lexi and my cousin Harry – we have all travelled together and worked really well together and everything worked out!
“I also want to thank ANDRA and Summit Racing Equipment, as well as my supporters ProTrans Australia, Tim’s Diffs, A and K Torque Converters and Tom’s Towing and Heavy Haulage.”
Panagiotidis faced off against event winner and top qualifier Todd Stacy in the final round, after enjoying a bye in the semi-final. He had earlier taken on Graeme Simms (round one) and championship runner-up, Rob Dekert. Stacy meanwhile impressed against Errol Quartermaine in round one, ahead of a bye in round two and victory over Jake Chaisty in the semi-final.
COMPETITION – Champion: Craig Geddes. Championship runner-up: David Roberts. Event winner: Kyle Putland. Event runner-up: Sam Gullotto.
Craig Geddes might not have been competing this weekend, but his strong season to date meant that when David Roberts suffered a startline breakage in the first round he could not be beaten for the big trophy. Geddes had travelled from his home in Victoria to Perth for the event, and was therefore on-hand to accept his trophy on the night.
This is the fifth Competition Championship for Geddes and his fourth in a row. In total, he has now won six Summit Racing Equipment Sportsman Series Championships, having also taken one out in Super Gas in 1995.
“This is amazing, I am very proud to be involved in ANDRA Drag Racing and we are very passionate about the sport and that will continue into the future. We are very pleased and hopefully there will be more to come!” Geddes exclaimed.
“It will be more of the same next season, we have plenty of potential left in the set-up, we will regroup over the break and come back next year and have another crack.
“It was a little bit sad to see David Roberts break down on the startline, I am not sure what happened, but we were certainly cheering him on and all the best to him. He ends up number two this year but I am sure he will have another crack next year.
“This is our fifth Competition championship and we have won in Super Gas as well so we are really proud of that. I would like to thank ANDRA, Summit Racing Equipment, my crew, my family and everyone who helps us out, this is fantastic!”
Geddes is supported by sponsors DecoGlaze Glass Splashbacks, Quicks Freight Express, JAX Tyres Ballarat, The Cleaners Room, Lucas Oils, Ballarat Roadworthy Centre, Laser Electrics Ballarat, CHS Broadbent Grain, Crane Cams, Bullet race Engineering, Custom Engines, Patterson Elite Racing USA and Protrans.
The Competition championship honours may have been decided in the first round, but the action continued to come thick and fast for the category across the day, with top qualifier Kyle Putland ultimately taking out the event victory over Sam Gullotto. Putland booked his ticket to the final with wins over Steve Martin (semi) and Trent Morrison following a solo run in the opening round, while Gullotto – who impressed with a number of blistering passes across the weekend – had successfully taken on Ralph Lewis (round one) and Adam Marchant before enjoying a bye in his semi.
Also recognised at the ANDRA Grand Final presentations was Tasmania Supercharged Outlaws competitor Mike Evans, who was awarded the ‘Longest Distance Travelled’ trophy while Brett Ghedina received the Crow Cams Best Engineered Award. Special mention was also given to the Summer Slam (won by John Zappia), Nitro Bike (A final won by Benny Stevens, B Final by Wayne McGuinness) and Top Alcohol racers who also put on a fantastic show this weekend.
Further details regarding national record updates and final points standings will be released later this week. For more information, email firstname.lastname@example.org
ANDRA thanks the Perth Motorplex and all of its volunteers and sponsors for an outstanding race track and a well-run event.
For full results from the ANDRA Grand Finals, please click here.
The 2019/2020 Summit Racing Equipment Sportsman Series will commence at Alice Springs Inland Dragway across August 3 and 4, 2019, before continuing to the Hidden Valley Drag Strip the following week (August 9-10) ahead of round three at Mildura’s Sunset Strip (September 21-22). Further calendar details will be announced in the near future and will be listed on the ANDRA website at https://www.andra.com.au/series/calendar/19-20-andra-drag-racing-calendar/