The 2011 Winternationals ended with an anti-climax with rain again disrupting racing during the event, in an unprecedented year of natural disasters and heavy rain in the east coast of Australia. The ANDRA Pro Series Top Doorslammer Series qualifying was completely washed out forcing the original qualifying order to be used, and the heavens opened up again on Willowbank International Raceway just prior to the finals – forcing another cancellation.
John Zappia in the Procomp Motorsport Monaro earned enough points after his round one victory to claim his fourth straight Top Doorslammer Championship, despite losing to Mark Belleri in round two.
“We are absolutely thrilled to take out the Championship”, said Zappia, “It’s a great win for Procomp Motorsport who have backed us as Naming Rights sponsors this year, and for Craig Pedley from Striker Crushing and Screening who kindly allowed me to drive his ?Crusher? HQ Monaro race car for the season”.
“We went into the Winternationals with a 53 points lead over Mark Belleri and were quietly confident of getting enough points to win our 4th Championship but the weather gods were not kind to the east coast as has been the story for the majority of this season. We ran an off the trailer pass of 5.914 at 234.78mph to qualify in second place behind an improving Peter Kapiris who ran a 5.859 at 246.44mph”.
“We then stepped up the tune and after several rain delays ran a wheel standing 5.82 which would have placed us top qualifier, but again the rain came down and as the session was not completed. The run was disallowed and the qualifying order was set as per the first qualifying round”.
“We came to the Winternationals Take 2 pretty confident, but the two scheduled qualifiers set out for the Saturday never eventuated as the rain again threw the meeting into confusion. We had made some adjustments to the balance of the car to try and put the power to the ground a little better, but in round one with no prior qualifiers or testing, I just blew the tyres off and was lucky to escape with a win?. Normally the 6.337 at 245.54 mph would not be enough to win an elimination round but luckily Andrew Sutton had wheel standing problems of his own and only ran a 6.358 at 231.83 mph”.
“We backed the car down for Round 2 against Belleri, but the Crusher shook and got out of the groove forcing me to pedal. Not enough for the win, but the crew and I still had huge smiles on our faces after knowing we had the 4th consecutive Championship and Gold Christmas Tree to take home. This time we ran 6.014 at 245.36 mph to Mark Belleri?s 5.915 at 245.27 mph”.
The Winternationals event signals the end to the 2010/2011 racing season for Zappia Racing, who had a mixed season of racing. Two early departures in meetings was uncharacteristic, but a sign of the difficulty of mastering this class of racing. Zappia?s 2010/2011 Championship was built on a solid base of two strong wins and a runner up, enabling a narrow win ahead of Mark Belleri, Maurice Fabietti and Robin Judd.
Season 2011/2012 promises to be even harder as other teams have been showing good form at the end of this season. Teams such as Peter Kapiris, Ben Bray, Russ Pavey and Murray O?Connor as well as the usual consistent performers in Mark Belleri, Maurice Fabietti, Robin Judd and Gary Phillips will make next season a real battle and we will have to be at our best from the opening meeting to continue to be at the top of the Championship standings.
“A big thanks to a very dedicated Zappia Racing Team Crew and supporters. It takes a lot of work and support from a large number of people to run this operation at the top level. I set high goals and our expectations to win are high, but that must be backed up with attention to detail, painstaking research and hard work in the workshop and at the track”.
“The Championship win has been made possible by sponsorship from our Naming Rights Sponsor Procomp Motorsport and Procomp Electronics, and our Major Sponsors. Striker Crushing and Screening who have been extremely supportive with a whole range of financial and logistics support. Fuchs Lubricants Australia stepped up their program with us this year, and their quality oils and lubricants along with financial incentives. K-Trans Racing from Perth were new sponsors this year and a very welcome addition and greatly appreciated. Beta Spuds and Southside Engine Centre are long time local WA sponsors who are very loyal to the team and their support is very important to us. Noonan Race Engineering has been providing excellent engine parts and machining, and PPG supply the paint that gives our cars such great finishes”.
“Those Major Sponsors are joined by a whole list of Supporting Sponsors who tirelessly donate time, resources and supplies to help us achieve our goal of being number one in Top Doorslammer. Our vision and drive are very clear to all around this team, and we have ambitions for next season that will keep all of us on our toes”.
“We believe that both the performance of our cars and the future of Top Doorslammer racing can jump up a level in the seasons to come. We are working hard in the background to achieve both of those, so we can continue to deliver an excellence viewing spectacle for our fans and sponsors”.
“Our venture into eighth mile racing was a success, and we will continue to support the series, and visit regional tracks in Australia”.