Nitro Champs Ready to Heat Up
The action at Sydney Dragway’s Nitro Champs – the penultimate round of the 2022/2023 Burson Auto Parts Australian Top Fuel Championship and the Australian Drag Racing Championship (ADRC) for Top Doorslammer and Top Fuel Motorcycle – is set to heat up tomorrow (Saturday May 6) following the conclusion of qualifying for these brackets this evening.
Friday Racing Action
Racing for these headliner brackets will kick off from 2.00pm Saturday, before continuing with round two from 4.15pm and the finals from 6.30pm.
Leading the way into racing will be top qualifier Benny Stevens in Top Fuel Motorcycle.
In Top Fuel Motorcycle, Benny Stevens ensured he took out the top qualifier honours with a 6.501 second run in the opening outing. Second fastest was Aaron Deery with a 6.729 ET, however after going deep into the sand at the end of his Q1 run, it is looking unlikely he will be able to repair the bike in time to return tomorrow. Third fastest was Chris Matheson (6.860) ahead of title leader, Rob Cassar (7.039), John Zahra (13.485) and Leonard Azzopardi (22.365).
Pre Race Notes
Benny Stevens & Rob Cassar
In Top Fuel Motorcycle, Rob Cassar also has a bit of a points cushion ahead of Benny Stevens, but what we have seen time and time again is that absolutely anything can happen on these absolutely insane two-wheeled machines, and there is no question that Stevens will be gunning to do all he can to launch a championship attack in this late stage of the game.
In all of these championships, the top racers are all proven winners capable of running at the absolute top of the game and none of them can be counted out for even a second. In fact, these brackets are packed full of quality racers no matter where on the points table you look, which makes for amazing racing every time they head out on the track.
Top Fuel Motorcycle competitor Azzopardi wasn’t in action at last year’s event, having stepped away from fuel bike racing in 2014 to focus on his passion project, the Extreme Bikes bracket. After returning with a customer’s bike at January’s Top Fuel Slam, the Sydney sider is looking forward to making further strides forward with the turbo funny bike this weekend.
“The bike is owned by Jim Lucas who owns Force9 Surfboards and is a new age funny bike with all electronic fuel injection and all the latest stuff on it. We took it out onto the track for the first time at Top Fuel Slam and we had clutch problems the whole time and, in the end, it completely exploded the clutch hub, and we were out,” Azzopardi explained.
“We think we are on top of it now and if we can get things to line-up, we fully expect to run six second passes. We have run 7.60 with a broken clutch and absolutely no drive, rolling over the finish line, and we have been running it on low power as we were trying to calm it down due to the clutch, so there is a lot we can extract out of it and a lot we can turn up.
“The event will be one not to be missed, and everyone I talk to is keen to get on track for it. We will certainly be doing the best we can, and I am very thankful to the people who help out as part of our team: my wife Deanne – who will also be racing in the event in Extreme Bike – my daughter Bianca, Brandon Gosbell, Alex Borg, Brant Gilliver, and the rest of my family,” he concluded, while also thanking Force9 Surfboards, Azzopoardi Earthmoving, Atlantic Oils and FuelTech Australia.
For full event information including entry lists and scheduling information, and to buy tickets, visit http://sydneydragway.com.au/nitro-champs-2023-1
To learn more about the Burson Auto Parts Australian Top Fuel Championship and the Australian Drag Racing Championships, visit www.topfuelchampionship.com.au