Willowbank Raceway, in its 30th year of Drag Racing, is going strong, judging by participation rates at the recently held Spring Thunder meeting.
Coming under the umbrella of 400 Thunder Australian Professional Drag Racing (APDR) Spring Thunder gave racers in a number of categories a chance to blow the cobwebs out before the Christmas/New Year period.
By no means was this a high profile meeting, but try telling that to eventual winner of the Night Sini Sveiger (8.36 sec)in his blown Torana Hatchback or runner up Stew Walsh in his fantastic looking Camaro. These guys are running in a category called Sedan Rumble, and the name is very appropriate.
Other winners on the night included a young female racer Nicole Doeblien with an (7.55 sec ) pass defeating Kellie Kidd who broke out beating her nominated (8.06 sec) with an outstanding (8.04 sec) handing the trophy to Doeblien. All of the cars were superbly turned out on the day by owners, drivers, family members and volunteer pit crew.
At this level of racing there are no professionals, just a professional attitude towards their passion for going fast in loud cars. These racers travel far and wide to compete at these meetings. This is grass roots motorsport, the competitors would not be doing anything else with their lives on this Saturday afternoon, they are Drag Racers. They have exhaust fumes running through their veins. They will do anything to get to the races. The stage is set, lets go racing.
A massive entry list for Competition Bike and Modified Bike the riders didn’t disappoint and some fast times were posted including a 200 MPH pass by Comp Bike Runner up Brandon Gosbell with the category winner Peter Puznik running his Comp Bike down the runway in (7.86 sec). The biggest surprise to me was how big a burnout the riders do to warm their tyres up before a race. Better to run on very hot tyres apparently.
The next high profile meeting will be held at Willowbank on the 6th of January with the big boys and girls coming to town for New Years Thunder Party. Local top Fuel competitor Kelly Bettes and Peter Xiberras will be supported by another category called Supercharged Outlaw, should make for some outstanding racing.
Kelly Bettes is the first Australian woman to crack the 500km/h mark in Australia and she achieved that speed at a test day on her home track Willowbank Raceway. This meeting apart from the famous Winternationals (July 2018) is one of the biggest on the Queensland Calendar.
I look forward to bringing www.racerviews coverage from 400 Thunder events in 2018.
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Photos by Terry Gillam November 2017
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