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NDRC: Aeroflow Sportsman Motorcycle Racers Excel at Willowbank Raceway

NDRC - National Drag Racing Championship

Aeroflow Sportsman Motorcycle Racers Excel at Willowbank Raceway

The Aeroflow National Sportsman Championship saw its Eastern Conference come to an exciting close at Willowbank Raceway at the weekend, where the chase was well and truly on for not only the conference victories, but also prestigious Gulf Western Oil Winternationals event wins.

The sportsman racers well and truly delighted the packed house across the event’s four days, lining up alongside Top Fuel, XPRO Nitro Funny Cars, Top Doorslammers, Pro Alcohol, Pro Stock Motorcycles, Top Fuel Motorcycles, Pro Stock, and FuelTech Pro Mod, who were enjoying the final round of their NDRC season.

The Eastern Conference final winners and runners-up – those with the most points within that conference at the close of the Winters – have now secured their place at the invite-only Aeroflow National Sportsman Championship Grand Final, as have the Gulf Western Oil Winternationals event winners and runners-up*.

These invitees will be joined at the prestigious finale, to be held in October, by a to be determined number of invitees of the top racers for each category.


Winner: Nathan Neilson
Runner-up: Dillan Lacey
Top Qualifier: Nathan Neilson

Eastern Conference
Winner: Leonard Azzopardi
Runner-up: Brendan Miglionico

In Extreme Bike, Leonard Azzopardi was able to claim the Eastern Conference title ahead of runner-up Brendan Miglionico thanks to their strong performances across the season, with neither racer in attendance this weekend.

Nathan Neilson took home the Gulf Western Oil Winternationals event and Top Qualifier honours ahead of runner-up, Dillan Lacey.

Leonard Azzopardi
Leonard Azzopardi

Neilson found his way to the final with a bye in round one and a win in round two over Branden Lacey, and a win over Dillan Lacey in the final. Lacey meanwhile had made it to the finals with wins over Russell Lacey and Craig Edwards in rounds one and two.

“I was lucky enough to have the most points and away we go!” smiled Azzopardi.

“Thank you to my wife Deanne and also my daughter Bianca, and all of the Extreme Bike competitors that have come out and are continuing to develop and build the class up.

“I was very proud to see the Queenslanders coming out at the Winters, they really took the class under their wing and ran with it. We weren’t able to attend, but it was great to see their achievements, including Nathan running his first six second and 200mph passes over the weekend and all the other guys who are continually stepping up. I am really proud to see how the class is progressing and developing.

Nathan Neilson
Nathan Neilson

“Thank you also to all the volunteers and the track staff and everyone else involved for doing what they do and getting us out on track.

“There have been a lot of promoters come and go in my time in drag racing, I have been doing this since god knows when, and I must say none of them have gone to the limit that NDRC has to get things finished and that really impresses me,” Azzopardi added.

Neilson’s win was accompanied by a number of PBs.

“I was shocked to win, and absolutely rapt. The bike went flawlessly all weekend, I couldn’t fault it,” Neilson said.

Nathan Neilson
Nathan Neilson

“It was consistent and smooth, and for the first time we ran a six and also broke 200mph. At the end of the weekend, I had four time cards that all had sixes on them and were within eight hundredths of each other. The best MPH was 204mph and the best ET was 6.93.

“Thank you to Paces Paint Shop, AM7 Coatings, Woodfire 600 Pizza, and my crew Col and Darrin, and of course thank you also to Vanessa.

“The track was excellent, and they did an unreal job to get it done ready for the event, and everything ran really smoothly. It was a really good event.”


Winner: Phillip Webster
Runner-up: Edge Mallis
Top Qualifier: Edge Mallis

Eastern Conference
Winner: Edge Mallis
Runner-up: Ken Collin

Edge Mallis and Joe Khoury were both sitting atop the points standings heading into the Gulf Western Oil Winternationals on the points cap. However, it would be Mallis who would go on to claim the Eastern Conference title, along with the Top Qualifier and Winternats event runner-up accolades.

Winternats winner Phillip Webster put on a good show taking it all the way to the final where he took victory from Mallis. Webster had earlier taken wins across the weekend from Khoury, Chris Collin and Ken Collin in rounds one, two and three. Mallis had enjoyed two byes in rounds one and three on his way to the final, with a win over Jon Mengel in round two.

Phillip Webster
Phillip Webster

“It would have been better to have two golds, but I can’t complain!” he laughed.

“It was between me, Joe Khoury, Ken Collin and Chris Allen, and there was basically half a round of points between all of us, so it was up for grabs. Right up to the semi-final it was still between Ken and I, and there was only 2.5 points between us, so it was only when he lost in the semi-final that I got it.

Edge Mallis
Edge Mallis

“In 44 years of racing, this is my first Gold Christmas Tree. I have tubs of trophies from over the years and lots of Silver trees – I got five in the last year alone – but this is the very first Gold Tree and I can’t believe it.

“We have been fighting clutch issues from day one on this bike and we are not 100 percent of the way there, but we did three meetings on the same clutch which we have never done before so we are nearly there.

Phillip Webster
Phillip Webster

“Thank you to my crew, Daniel Fox, and also my son Jeram who couldn’t make it at the weekend but was at the warm-up and has been crewing for me for the last four years. And also, Blaze Hansen of Blazecraft – he tunes the bike from Queensland and he also built the bike and gives us lots of advice.

“The weekend also happened to be my 10th anniversary, so my partner Letishia flew up and we spent the four days between the warm-up and the Winters having a nice holiday in the Queensland sunshine, instead of freezing in Victoria!”

Webster took out the event glory despite coming to the Winternats with a largely untested bike.

“It was good, a long weekend, but a good lead-up seeing the track get put together and the data coming out of it was nice and smooth,” Webster said.

“We pretty much had tested the bike for weeks beforehand and then the week before deciding to change everything, so we came out with another untested package and crept up on it pass after pass, finding another tenth each pass, and we ended up going the whole way through and running under the record too.

Edge Mallis and Ken Collin
Edge Mallis and Ken Collin

“The bike is colloquially named Barbie, and as everyone was yelling yesterday, Barbie decided to party!” he laughed, while thanking STS Speedshop and Aussie Princess Charters.

The Aeroflow National Sportsman Championship will now head to its Grand Final in October.

To learn more about the Aeroflow National Sportsman Championship and the NDRC, visit ndrc.tv

For more information about the NDRC, please visit www.ndrc.tv

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