2008 Tin Tops

Zap wins Championship

John Zappia has been declared the 2007/2008 Top Doorslammer Champion by ANDRA after completing enough rounds at the Tin Tops run last weekend to achieve an unbeatable lead in the points with one event to go.

“It’s a huge weight off my shoulders”, said Zap after the event, “We started this process towards a Championship in 2003, and a lot of work has gone in by the crew and supporters in that time. But most of all, it has been our sponsors that have helped us win this Championship.”

“A loyal set of local Western Australian sponsors started us off in the early testing, which was enough to allow the larger sponsors to enter the national series chase. Rentco Transport Equipment Rentals Pty Ltd was the first to come on board, then Striker Screening and Crushing, who have added considerable support and infrastructure to our team.”

“Craig Pedley and Striker have been terrific. He is excited about Top Doorslammer Drag Racing, and has passed on his successful business winning formula to the team in a number of ways. I look forward to putting Craig in the second HQ Monaro next season, so we can together lead the way with consistent, quick cars.”

“Graham Jones from Southside Engine Center has been the wise head in the team, and has guided us to gain our consistency through preventative maintenance programs, and a long term vision. I am the innovator, and always looking for ways to go quicker, sometimes to my own detriment, so Graham keeps the Team in balance and focused.”

“Our team has evolved and grown to a professional outfit, but I will never forget all the help and support I have had from everyone that has worked on the car back at the shed in Spearwood. Many a long night was spent welding, machining, and changing set-ups. We are proud to have completed most of the work in-house, and the results speak for themselves.”

The Striker Monaro top qualified in the Tin Tops 16 car field with a 6.036et @ 241.54mph, ahead of Phillips on 6.137et @ 238.47mph, and a field that struggled with the track conditions over the two days it took to get qualifying finished. “I had to pedal that run in first gear as the car went right a little, and I used a fair bit of the track up on the run”.

Round one saw Zap put young Benny Bray away with a 6.266et @ 236.46 mph late charge to a 6.450et @ 232.92 on a slippery track. “The car went hard right on the hit, and it took three pedals in first gear to get it back off the centerline, then I hit second and the Rat just took off and finished strong”.

In Round two Zap took on fellow WA based racer Robin Judd, and a strong 6.017et @ 239.49mph finished off Juddy’s 6.301et @ 236.10mph effort. Zap’s time was also the quickest for the event, earning him an additional five points. “The track temp was still 82 degrees Celsius and the car went dead straight on this pass. It was a slower 60 foot time than normal, and would have normally been a five.”

The Semi-final was up against a sensational Sean Mifsud in the Roots powered Willy, which turned into a pedal fest as the track had lost all it’s temperature by 9.47 at night. Mifsud was first to the line though with a 7.094et @ 169.88mph against Zap’s 7.698et @ 169.04mph. “The track temp had dropped to 72 degrees Celsius, and the air had come right around. The car took off dead straight, but smoked the tyres at 60 foot and headed for the wall, so I backed off and got back on it again, and the tyres smoked again. I could see Sean was ahead and just drove the car through for the loss.”

“I was disappointed to lose that race, because the final was a give away. Congratulations to Sean Mifsud for the win. We could have backed the power off, but we have run fives in WSID on a track temp that low and the call was made. It’s a very fine line between traction and turning the tyres sometimes, and the track was not the usual very sticky surface. But the Championship was our goal and I am glad to get that over and done with.”

Zap also finished equal Runner-up in the 2007/2008 Perth Motorplex Top Competition Championship, where the deciding last meeting was held on the same weekend as the Tin Tops. Rob Pilkington went on to win the Championship in his ex Austin AA/FC Funny Car.

The Zappia Racing Team travels to Sydney to compete in the Nitro Champs at WSID, before heading back to Willowbank for the Top Doorslammer final round at the Winternationals. “We will be putting the pressure right on in that last round, so if the track is right – look out for some quick times.”

Zap ready to take Championship

Five-second man John Zappia heads off to Willowbank International Raceway for the Fifth Round of the ANDRA Top Doorslammer Championship at the annual Tin Tops event this weekend, with a strong chance of winning his first Australian Championship. His Striker HQ Monaro has dominated this season’s championship, with stunning five-second passes and a consistent step ahead of his challengers.

A Top Doorslammer Championship trophy has eluded the popular Western Australian drag racer, with runner-up finishes in the last two seasons. Zap has only competed nationally in the last three of the ten ANDRA Top Doorslammer Championship’s short history.

The original record breaking “Zap’s Rat” HQ Monaro that helped forge Doorslammer racing in this country, was raced from 1984 in various classes before being retired in 1995. The car was ineligible for the new Top Doorslammer rules due to its construction.

Zap then dabbled in Top Alcohol for a while in a Funny Car, before taking a break from the sport and enjoying his fishing. The construction of the Kwinana Motorplex just ten minutes from his Spearwood home, and sponsorship from Southside Engine Center and associated sponsors, allowed Zap to re-enter the sport with a new state of the art car.

“I watched my mate Victor Bray take all those Top Doorslammer Championships in a row, and always thought we could do the same if we had the backing and a new car,” said Zap. “In that time off I was able to think through the design aspects, and punch the numbers on various combinations. There are a hundred ways you can make a Top Doorslammer – it’s the right combination that makes a consistently quick car.”

The original Zap’s Rat was purchased back and ran in AA/AP trim in the 2001/2002 season at the Motorplex, to get the crew back into racing mode while the new car was being constructed. The new Top Doorslammer HQ was debuted in March 2003 and commenced a thorough three season local track testing program before entering a serious attempt at the National Championship.

“It took me a long while to get the car to perform like I wanted. We had five-second goals from the outset, and there were some hairy passes in that development program. I had to go to the Yanks to get some ideas, as the Pro-Mods were going real quick with roots blowers. Rentco and Striker coming on board as sponsors really has made the difference in our team depth, giving us additional resources for quality new parts and inventory.”

“We know it is our knowledge depth, and absolute commitment to finding every one percent advantage in the car that is giving us the advantage. Our competitors are catching us and dipping into the fives, but our 5.8 second program is already well underway following the Pro-Mod advances recently, and our second Striker Monaro will be racing next season to double our presence in the field.”

Zap leads the Top Doorslammer Championship with 518 points, ahead of Brett Stevens on 375 points, and Ben Bray on 335 points – the only contenders with a mathematical chance of winning. “We still have to do well this meeting to claim the Championship – depending on how Brett and Benny go. A runner-up and above at this event, and qualifying at the Winters will be enough. Make no mistake though – we are here to go hard and win, and entertain our fans.”

Zappia Racing will showcase their new Merchandise Trailer for the first time at Willowbank, and a new range of T-shirts, caps, posters and women’s fashion will be available. Make sure you get your autograph from Zap who loves to spend time with his fans.