East Coast Thunder at Sydney, Australia

Thundering Down Under

Sydney in the spring (southern hemisphere remember) can be a lottery when it comes to the weather with a number of the lead up events being threatened by rain, however this year’s IHRA East Coast Thunder (nee Nationals) had a clear run and resulted in a most excellent little race.

Looking at the entry list going into the event most brackets were down in numbers especially in Comp and Super Stock but what they lost in quantity they found in quality. In the past this particular spring meeting was usually a three-day event, however this time around a Friday-Saturday format was more than enough to give a better than average sized crowd value for money.

Following the event Sydney Dragway General Manager, Peter Beaumont, said, “The 400 Thunder Drag Racing Series is moving forward with the full support of the Pro-Series racer group. Together we are delivering a contemporary product that presents as a fully professional motorsport series. We are working directly with our teams to introduce new sponsors and programs to develop our sport. It is a great feeling to look forward to the future and not backwards whilst working on a series like 400 Thunder.”

The final of Top Fuel (lead photo) saw Wayne Newby in the Rapisarda Motorsport International black and silver dragster take on the blue and yellow PremiAir Hire car of Peter Xiberras (near lane). Alas, Xiberras fell asleep on the line allowing Newby to take a full car length holeshot on his opponent that Xiberras wasn’t able to make up. Here a .337 lit 4.679 at 324.28 was never going to catch an excellent .091 reacted 4.651/329.26 that were the best marks of the event.

Wayne “here today, gone to Pomona” Newby was to be the class of the race in one of the three Rapisarda Motorsport International black and silver dragsters. His 4.796 was only good enough for fifth (with the top five qualifiers all within five hundredths of a second) however it was in eliminations where he and his car shone. A 4.790 solo was followed by a 4.720 to 4.928 drubbing of teammate, Larry Dixon, who torched a head around the 1,000-foot mark. In the final he ran low ET and Top MPH of the race to win over a sleepy Peter Xiberras, 4.451 to 4.679. After the race Newby heaped praise on his very hard working crew and the Rapisarda family. “I love the Rapisarda family - I really do,” he told a cheering crowd.