Words and photos by Jon
is no doubt that the 2005 version of the ACDelco East Coast
Nationals held at Western Sydney International Dragway, Sept.
16-18, was a race which was dotted with highs and lows. The
first five-second doorslammer pass down under quickly comes
to mind as does a whole bunch of excellent times in the Pro
Bike, Top Bike and Top Doorslammer classes. However, this
was offset by the loss of most of Friday to rain as well as
the Saturday night being cut short by another rain shower.
In the week leading up to the ACDelco East Coast Nationals
there was a test and tune day at the Western Sydney track
which saw many local and interstate racers check out their
latest combinations. The Andrew Cowin Rocket racing team certainly
pulled out the highlight of the day with a late afternoon
4.61/322.96 mph lap which shot them to early favouritism for
the event and unofficially made their fueller the quickest
and fastest outside the United States. Still who would have
thought that with this head start that they and every other
fuel team would find it so hard to get down the track come
One statistic which really hit me was the fact there were
so many second-generation racers in the Top Fuel field. Steve
and Phil Read, Luke Shepherd and Rachelle Splatt and obviously
Andrew Cowin followed in their father's footsteps, and another
newsy nugget is that Splatt, Cowin and Steve Read had all
raced in America.
Round one opened with Cowin taking on Darren Morgan and this
time Morgan had more of a handle on keeping the nose down
but at half track the car burst into flames while Cowin lit
his bullet up to boot on a winning 4.77/284.93 which totally
covered Morgan's 6.57. Terry Sainty then took on Splatt in
the next pairing and every time Sainty put the power down
over the weekend he went up in smoke and this was the case
again. In the other lane Splatt streaked to a 5.05/276.41
for the win but a damaged piston turned the motor into a 500
cubic inch oil pump as it oiled the lane down from start to
finish which lead to a clean up that went over an hour.
Fuel dragster of Steve Read had a clutch malfunction which
sent a large sheet of flame from under the blower as it
struck the tyres and overpowered the track.
the flash of flame, the engine's blower came away from
the manifold and hung to one side like a dead soldier.
Luckily he had a single in the semis and still made it
to the final.
Bob Shepherd and Steve Read were paired in the semi, but
Shepherd could not make the call and Read made the solo. In
the other semi pairing, Cowin cranked out low ET and top speed
on the race with a 4.73/308.99 easily sending Splatt's 5.14
back on the trailer.