Western Australia is the blown alcohol capitol of Australia, with a large contingent of teams competing in the local Top Comp bracket in Top Doorslammer, Top Alcohol and Competition classes – containing many record setters and national champions among the group.
The standard is high, the knowledge deep, and anybody is encouraged to join the ranks and compete. There are enough Top Doorslammers in the West to run a dedicated local meeting – and last weekend the Perth Motorplex ran the WA Drag Racing Champs, featuring Top Doorslammer and Top Bike.
Eight cars presented for racing, in a three round format with A and B Finals. Eight times National Champion John Zappia in his Fuchs Monaro was the hot favourite, with Daniel Gregorini in his Camaro nipping at his heels, and Wayne Keys steady in the five nines in his roots powered Monaro.
Pino Priolo in his 37 Chev Coupe is a regular in the national series and is also a five niner, and Mark Chapman in his gorgeous Fury starting to get a handle on his setup. Rounding out the field were Steve Aldridge – still getting a handle on his angry Chev, Owen Ducker in his roots powered 36 Chev – and newcomer Paul Carey in his ex BSR Falcon sporting a quad cam small block.
Saturday was a very hot day, with temperatures searing into the 40’s C (104 F) and two sessions of qualifying saw Keys at the top of the list with a 5.996 at 237.88 mph, followed by Chapman on 6.07 at 237.12 mph. Zappia sat out the first qualifier due the heat and track condition, and then in the compulsory qualifier had the blower backfire that produced a spectacular fireball, but were still able to qualify in 5th position.
“We had a fuel system component fail causing a fuel mixture problem,” said Zappia, “It actually did quite a bit of damage to a piston, and blower pulleys. We were under the pump getting ready for the first eliminator when a thunderstorm came over the Motorplex and caused postponement of the meeting to the next day. It was a get out of jail free card for us.”
The thunderstorm was spectacular with lightening flashes and the rain pouring down around 7:30pm closing the meeting. Racing resumed on the Sunday and seven cars faced each other at 1.30pm in moderately hot conditions.
Keys had the bye after Ducker failed to qualify and managed a 6.227, Chapman 6.142 disposed of Carey 6.891 who snapped a blower belt; Priolo 6.454 took the win against Aldridge 8.816 who went up in smoke; and Zappia 5.798 was too strong for Gregorini 16.014 who overpowered the track.
“That was a nice pass and set us up for an A Final against Chapman. The crew turned the car around and we headed for the staging lanes anticipating a good result. But the track was a little tricky, and Mark Chapman is getting down the track pretty consistently this season so I had to make sure that I didn’t overpower the track.”
In the A Final Zappia reacted quicker and went straight through for the win with a 5.815 at 248.20 mph to Chapman’s 6.203 at 234.78mph. The B Final saw Wayne Keys 6.222 at 234.08mph defeat Pino Priolo 6.723 at 144.21mph.
“Congratulations for Mark Chapman for his A Final runner-up – it’s great to see new guys coming on well in Top Doorslammer. Big thanks to all sponsors and my dedicated crew for keeping the Fuchs Monaro running strong. Three wins in three weekends from Perth to Sydney and back to Perth. Also congratulations to Brodie Zappia for coming runner up in Junior Dragster.”
The Fuchs Monaro will be on display at the Narrogin Rev Heads event from the 20th to 22nd November and will be doing some ear popping start ups for the crowd.? For more details see http://www.narroginrevheads.com.au/