John Zappia gained valuable points for the ANDRA Top Doorslammer Championship at the Westernationals held last weekend at Perth Motorplex in Western Australia, with a Semi-final finish. The Striker Monaro was unable to continue the Semi-final pass against arch rival Garry Phillips, after the clutch failed reversing from his traditional long smoky burnout.
“I was unable to activate the clutch after reversing back, so I turned the engine off” said a disappointed Zap after the event, “It appears a pin has let go in the clutch – most probably the result of tyre shake of our previous rounds. The Striker Monaro was performing well this weekend, with two 6.06′s in qualifying, and our first round win against Robin Judd with a 6.075et @ 236.22mph. The next best time in all the elimination runs was a 6.340et, so we were still ahead of the pack in performance.”
“We have these little reliability issues, because we do more laps than any other Top Doorslammer racer in the country. Obviously the more laps you do, the more possibilities of incidents occurring. But we are committed to a comprehensive racing calendar both here locally in Perth, and nationally in the championship rounds. We just have to keep progressing forward in our maintenance program to increase the reliability factor.”
“Our Naming Rights Sponsor Striker Crushing and Screening, and all our Major Sponsors and Supporting Sponsors are fully behind our growth as a team. We are progressing from a volunteer backyard operation, to a more professional Motorsport organisation. It takes time to affect the changes and our current way of doing things will have to be altered to ensure we give ourselves the best possible chance every meeting. We need more checks to be done between races to make sure the little things don’t fail and come back to haunt us.”
“Garry Phillips has a lead in the Championship, but he is not unbeatable. He has had his fair share of luck this season, and and on most days the HQ can beat any Doorslammer in the country. Drag racing is the great equaliser, and as several teams have seen this weekend, the smallest of things can stop your best performance.”
Several racers encountered problems this weekend – Ben Bray failed to qualify in his new Monaro, Steve Stanic was disqualified in Round 1 Eliminations due to his front air dam being too low for the stage beams, and several teams suffered terminal engine damage.
Zappia racing will now contest two local rounds of racing at the Perth Motorplex where further testing of new components will be carried out. Round 6 is scheduled for 28th April at Willowbank Raceway with the running of the Tin Top Championships – a unique event featuring all forms of slammer racing.
Westernationals Zappia’s last challenge
Written by Luke Nieuwhof
Monday, 26 February 2007
John Zappia is one of the most renowned names in drag racing, yet he still has a monkey to shake off his back in Top Doorslammer racing at the Westernationals, to be held this Saturday and Sunday at Perth Motorplex.
The 45 year old Spearwood man is driving the world’s quickest Top Doorslammer, holding the record at 5.92seconds for the quarter-mile but his speeds of 380kmh do not come easy.
“We’ve never had good luck and have always had the stupid things go wrong at the Westernationals, he said.
“It is time to shake the monkey off the back; we really need the points to gain the lead in the championship and put the pressure back on the other racers for the remaining rounds.”
The Australian Top Doorslammer Championship is up to its fifth round and Zappia is sitting third, behind Queensland racers Gary Phillips and Victor Bray.
Perth Motorplex has attracted a record field of 15 cars from across the nation to compete and Zappia sees himself with a big advantage at the Kwinana track.
“We do nine events a year in Perth and always in different race conditions,” he said.
“No other team has near that amount of runs.”
In an aggressive tactic, Zappia has slotted his world-record, 3500 horsepower supercharged V8 back into his Monaro Top Doorslammer.
“The field is pretty good but I need to concentrate on not beating myself,” he said.
“A few others have stepped up and if they get the good track conditions then they’ll be right there.”
Zappia will be challenged by his championship rivals Phillips and Bray, as well as Victoria’s Peter Kapiris, New South Wales’ Steve Stanic, Queensland’s husband and wife team of Brett and Kath Stevens, Victor and Ben Bray and fellow West Australian contenders Robin Judd, Gary Stevens and Adam Croker.
The event will also feature round five of the Australian Top Bike Championship.
The big guns hit the track from 6pm on both Saturday and Sunday.
For more Westernationals coverage, go to WA Drag Racing