AUS: Willowbank New Year's Day summary

Stars Continue To Shine at Willowbank Raceway An action-packed delivery of first-class drag racing was undertaken in spectacular style at Queensland's Willowbank Raceway during the New Year's Day iTEL Community Telco Australian Nationals finals...

Stars Continue To Shine at Willowbank Raceway

An action-packed delivery of first-class drag racing was undertaken in spectacular style at Queensland's Willowbank Raceway during the New Year's Day iTEL Community Telco Australian Nationals finals spectacular.

Anticipation surrounded the Event following the abandonment of the originally scheduled November showcase and among those contributing to the day-long advancement of the sport were heavyweight Victorian Top Fuel campaigner Darren Morgan and Queensland's own Top Doorslammer contingent of Ben Bray and Gary Phillips.

Morgan defied sticky conditions in his semi-final victory run against Terry Sainty to draw within three hundredths of the National record mark of 4.75 seconds over the quarter mile.

Sainty also turned in a credible personal best time of just over 5 seconds which provided a great preliminary to the main event and augers well for a competitive season for all Top Fuel competitors.

Unfortunately home-state driver Steve Read of the Sunshine Coast suffered engine problems at the start line which forced him to withdraw from the final and hand the win to Morgan on a solo run.

New Year's Bray is the best way to describe 20 year-old Ben Bray's performance as he secured his 15th straight elimination round success and in the process captured his fifth straight Event victory.

His reign now stretches back as far as last year's Tin Top Titles in April.

As has become the norm of the category it was again an all-Queensland affair with Gary Phillips progressing through on the back-end of a consistent Event campaign.

However Bray showed the natural poise which has seen him as the major juggernaut and clear front-runner in the ANDRA Australian Championship during the early part of the season.

The Brisbane-based racer is well positioned to recapture the National crown he lost to Brett Stevens last season.

Bray's 6.20 second pass was enough to secure his third iTEL Nationals Christmas Tree and ironically all of those successes have now come at the expense of Phillips.

However it was a promising debut performance to kickstart the new calendar year for duel bracket competitor Phillips.

The seasoned driver grafted his way through to a deserved double of finals appearances but had to settle for the bridesmaid tag in each.

In his favoured Top Alcohol category, the reigning ANDRA Australian Champion was upstaged by Dean Oakey who recorded an elapsed time of 5.78 seconds.

The Sunshine Coast's David Rogan was a stylish winner in Pro Stock enabling him to collect the silverware for the first time in his career, securing a time of 7.39 seconds.

Jack Daniels Racing Team provided another double feature in the Top Bike final and testament to the tremendous depth within the ranks, Troy McLean (7.15 secs) upstaged team boss Brett Stevens.

In Pro Stock Motorcycle, Queenslanders Daniel Peatey and Michael Gilbertson faced off, with current champion Peatey claiming the win with a 7.60.

The net result from 2005's traditional New Year's Day extravaganza has now left an excitement soaked approach to the remainder of this season as all of Australia's top drivers regroup for further competition in their respective brackets.

For Queensland drag racing attention turns to the Cruzin Magazine Notalgia Drags on February 20 at Willowbank Raceway.

-www.willowbank-raceway.com.au

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Series General
Drivers Terry Sainty