WILLOWBANK RACEWAY MEETING WASHED OUT.
The ill- fated Super Thunder meeting at Willowbank Raceway, April 19 was dealt another blow when race organizers were forced to cancel the final round of racing due to rain.
When Top Fuel decided to boycott the event on safety grounds, the meeting took on an entirely different complexion with Pro Alcohol, Pro Stock and Top Bike sharing the spotlight.
The meeting was run under the all-in format. Two rounds of racing and win and bonus points for top speed and low ET on offer followed by the top two in points racing off in the final.
Round one of Top Alcohol was dominated by veteran Gary Phillips, who clocked 5.46, 265 mph to defeat unheralded Greg Clayton and also grab the vital speed and time bonus points. Reigning champ Steve Reed turned a holeshot into an easy win over fellow Queenslander Luke Marsden, while Justin Walshe powered his Altered around the Robert Ambruosi Funny Car. Wayne Price was handed the easiest of wins when his opponent Chris Hargrave failed to appear after damaging his motor during testing earlier in the day.
Phillips' domination continued on the strength of a world-class pass of 5.42, 261 mph to advance to the final. Ambruosi took the win over Price on a holeshot and in the battle of the Altereds Clayton cut a red light to give Walshe the win. Reed racing Marsden for the second time on the day claimed the win with a silky pass of 5.47, 263 mph to book his spot in the final.
Pro Stock, with eight entries, was dominated by little-known racer Brian Pursell and reigning champ Aaron Tremayne, who had advanced to the final before rain swept the venue. Earlier in the day Pursell and Tyrone Tremayne were partners in the most bizarre ‘race’ of the meeting when, after going into stage, they both left before the tree was activated. In the second round Pursell produced the upset of the season when he defeated title contender Chris Soldatos on a holeshot.
Top Bike attracted only four entries, lead by series leader Jay Upton, reigning champ Chris Matheson and little-known duo of Les Holden and Gavin Spann. Holden caused a major surprise in the first round, taking an easy win after Upton struggled to get off the line. Matheson outpaced Spann with a 6.37, 182 mph pass and grabbed a load of bonus points. Upton’s campaign evaporated in round two after he failed to make the startline and handing his nearest rival Matheson the easiest of wins. Spann advanced to the final after a comfortable win over Holden, who was disqualified after crossing the centerline.