Two-time Fuel champ Peter Xiberras recorded his first win since January 2023, scoring superb back-to-back wins at the Gulf Western Nitro Champs at Sydney Dragway, May 17-19. 

Xiberras also become the fifth individual winner of the season.

“This is unbelievable,” said Xiberras. “It has just been one of those weekends where things have fallen into place. I can’t thank my crew enough – we were here past midnight working on the car. There was a problem we thought with the diff; we probably didn’t need to change it, but we did to make sure, so we pulled the diff out and put the spare in. These boys and girls are just amazing individuals, and I can’t thank them enough.”

Both wins came at the expense of RAI star Damien Harris, who finished runner-up on both occasions.

Harris jumped from third place to first place in the championship with one round remaining provided consolation. Teammate Wayne Newby trails Harris by 39 points and Phil Lamattina is 66 points adrift in third place.  

Justin Walshe became the first two-time Funny Car winner this season after downing top qualifier Brandon Gosbell in the A-Final. 

Walshe holds a narrow 28-point lead over Morice McMillin, with Gosbell 70 points off the pace in third going into the season finale at the Willowbank Raceway Winternationals next month.

The meeting finished prematurely. Plummeting temperatures and a major crash involving local Joe Gauci, the B-Final of Pro Mod, forced organizers to abandon racing, including the Pro Stock finals. 

Pro Mod and Pro Stock finals will be held as part of the Wintenationls.



With only a test run the day before, Top Fuel launched into the day with two rounds of racing ahead of the A-B-C finals.


Last-race winner Phil Lamattina’s weekend got off to a disastrous start when he cut a red light against Wayne Newby, who had his own problems with a broken crank.

Harris drove around Xiberras, whose well-documented struggles getting to the 60-foot mark continued.

Read lead all the way to defeat Olive, who was never in contention after breaking a clutch finger during the burnout.


The penultimate round saw Harris up against teammate Olive. Harris claimed the win despite his chutes coming out around 330 feet. “I didn’t slow down and just kept my foot into it.” Olive took the fight up to Harris, and after getting way out of the groove, he did well in keeping his car off the wall. 

Lamattina had a solo because the Newby car was stranded in the pits as the crew worked feverishly to repair significant clutch damage sustained in round one.

Lamattina, who is known in Australia as the Carrot King, thrilled the crowd after the blower lifted spectacularly around half-track. 


In the C-Final, Newby and Olive produced the best side-by-side pass of the round. Newby led the way with a 3.78, holding out Olive on a 3.90. 
Read defeated the luckless Lamattina, who blew the tires off at the start of the B-Final. 

The A final- pitted Xiberras and Harris against each other for the second time on the day. Xiberras cut a superb .04 light to lead Harris off the line and stormed down the track. Harris had a chance to win until he was forced to have a pedal near half-track.



Xiberras picked up where he left off with the easiest of wins when Read blew out the burst panel and popped the ’chutes on the hit.
Newby was handed victory when Lamattina smoked the tires. In the final pairing, Harris, with an arrow-like pass, defeated Olive, who went into tire shake off the line.


Xiberras continued on his winning ways with an easy victory over Lamattina, who went up in smoke on the hit.

To confirm there are no team orders within the RAI camp, Olive caused a massive boilover when he outpaced Newby.  
The Harris and Read battle looks set to go down the wire until Read tossed a belt just beyond half-track. 


For the first time in his illustrious career, Peter Xiberras scored back-to-back wins when he accounted for Damien Harris on a holeshot to win the A-Final.

Xiberras with a 3.795/318 mph to Harris on 3.793/324 mph. 
Newby bounced back from a disappointing weekend to set a new track record of 3.75/325 mph against Olive in the B-Final. In contrast, Lamattina’s horror weekend continued after cutting a red light against Read in the C-Final. 






Unlike their Top Fuel brethren, Funny Car was given two rounds of qualifying and three rounds of racing.

Brandon Gosbell reinforced his status as the king of qualifying by topping the charts for the fourth time this season. However, it came at a price when the team discovered they had pulled a main stud and was forced to change the engine overnight.  

Series co-leader Walshe had no problems nailing down the second spot ahead of Adam Murrihy, who had engine woes after breaking the oil drive pump. Rookie Josh Leahy opened his account with a sound pass 4.49, then shook the tires just before 100 feet and popped the ’chutes. Morice McMillin, the dominant figure since the re-emergence of the category in 2022, got out of the groove in Q1 one, then, on his second run, smoked the tires to end in fifth. Budget privateer Anthony Begley shut off early in his first run and rolled to the finish line. He shook the tires and popped the ‘chutes on his next attempt.  


Gosbell downed Begley, who broke the travel barrel locator and was forced to shut down. 

Walshe, with a single chute blossoming, took victory against Leahy, who shut off around 700 feet. Murrihy never made the start line against McMillin due to recurring oil pump issues from the previous day.


Walshe advanced to the A-Final after his opponent Murrihy shut off early after a bout of tire shake. Gosbell, with a superb .008-second reaction time, had his hands full against Begley, who produced his best performance of the weekend until he began dropping cylinders. 
A regulation side-by-side pass between McMillin and Leahy took a dramatic turn when Leahy crossed lanes and tagged the ‘chutes of McMillin, then speared into the wall. The rookie was able to walk away unscathed. 


Justine Walshe scored his third win of the season when he accounted for Brandon Gosbell, whose campaign ended when he banged the blower approaching half-track.

“The car ran perfect from the first time we went on the track,” said Walshe. “This was a team effort, faultless servicing, very minimal parts were damaged, and the car ran consistently, 4.09s, 4.11s. There’s a real sweet spot there. Is it a three-second car? Maybe at the Winternationals, we can. Next season, when we put a six-disc clutch in the car, look out. Hopefully, we can get into the 3.90s and maybe the 3.80s. That’s the plan.”

McMillin was untroubled to down Begley in the B-Final, while Murrihy won the C-Final on a solo after his opponent Leahy didn't front after his second-round crash.





There were no surprises when John Zappia ran a 5.65 to top qualify ahead of arch-rival Russell Taylor. 'Zap' damaged his A motor in qualifying and was forced to make an overnight engine change. Rookie gun Ronnie Palumbo was third, ahead of Daniel Gregorini. Congratulations to the sole woman in the Pro ranks, Lisa Gregorini, who set a personal best ET of 5.72 to qualify fourth.  


Daniel Gregorini claimed his first win of the season after rival and series leader Russell Taylor crossed the center line in the A-Final.
The win came as the Western Australia team owner announced, "This was their last event of the season, and they would not be competing at the Winternationals.”  

Lisa Gregorini won the B-Final when rival Palumbo was a no-show, and little-known Jeremy Callaghan claimed the C-Final when Zappia was wheeled off the start line with a fluid leak. 


Zoran Gajic ran a near-perfect 5.86, 256 mph on a 5.85 index to top qualify in Pro Mod.

Local racer Joe Gauci, with a 5.96, 208 mph, and Queenslander Neil Murphy, on 6.05/245 mph, rounded out the top three. Series leader Craig Burns, slightly off the pace with a 6.17, 190 mph. was fourth. 

Racing was abandoned after the Gauci crash, and officials decided to hold the finals at the Winternationals next month.


Pro Stock held two rounds of qualifying. Series leader Rob Dekert headed the field with a 6.89 from Aaron Tremayne, 6.924, Chris Soldatos with 6.928, and Tyrone Tremayne with a 6.943.

Racing was canceled after the Pro Mod crash.  



NICE GESTURE - Phil Lamattina was ‘gifted’ a second gold Christmas tree for his win at the previous round. At the event, Lamattina dedicated the win to and handed the Christmas tree to long-serving crew member Gavin Coulthard, who lost his daughter Sheridan in a car crash in January. 
NDRC boss Andy Lopes presented the replacement tree to Lamattina on day one. 

TESTING TIMES - All six Fuel cars took the opportunity to test the day before the meeting. Adam Murrihy was the sole Funny Car to hit the track.

CAR NEWS - RAI car alphabet now extends from A through to D. Newby's canopy car is the A car. The B car raced by Damien Harris is in the repair shop workshop after crashing heavily at the Perth round. As raced by NHRA star Larry Dixon, the C car has become Harris’s new set of wheels. Newcomer Olive has taken the reins on D-car, the Louise Rapisarda tribute car.  

Zappia was running his favorite A engine over the weekend after freshening it with new valves and springs.
After this meet, ‘Zap’ returns to their home base in Western Australia to service his ‘71 Monaro. A week later, he drives across Australia to Willowbank Raceway, Queensland, for the Winternationals - the trip from Sydney via Perth to the Winters is 5,100 miles. 

ON THE MEND - Legendary Doorslammer team owner Maurice Fabietti is on the road to recovery after recent heart surgery. 

GOOD NEWS FOR BEGLEY - Anthony Begley's Dodge Charger Funny Car was sporting sponsorship from Fuchs Lubricants. The deal will also include the upcoming Winternationals. 

“Beggs," as he is affectionately known, has struggled this season. Prior to the meeting, the team sent the car to the Aeroflow workshop in Sydney for what he described as a “second pair of eyes to run over the car and check all systems."  

SIMPLY THE BEST - Jim Read is the inaugural inductee into the Sydney Dragway Hall of Fame.

Read, one of the all-time greats in Australian Funny Car and Top Fuel, was the driving force behind the construction of Sydney Dragway, which opened in 2004.