John Zappia stamped his authority on Australian Top Doorslammer racing this weekend, with a super consistent performance that saw his Striker Monaro run six five second passes over two days of racing, and win Round Two of the 2008/2009 ANDRA Championship by defeating local Robin Judd in the final in front of a home crowd.
The weather was fine, but chilly in Perth Western Australia – one of the world’s most remote cities. The field was smaller in size due to many teams finding traveling the distance a challenge in these uncertain financial times, but tension was in the air over three teams aiming for the event win in a tuning dual.
Benny Bray was confident after Team Bray found the five second secret recently, and Robin Judd super confident after resetting the ANDRA national record recently with the help of alky tuner Stuart Rowland, and rattling off two neat five second passes in testing before the event.
“We were a little nervous going into the event, as our testing and development last week was not going to plan” said Zap, “But the vigilant Zappia Racing crew made some astute observations and the resulting change to the Santuff suspension saw a stunning top qualifying 5.937et off the trailer pass on Friday night that really boosted our confidence”.
A second pass of 5.952et @ 240.64mph, and third 5.973et @ 241.28mph stunned his competitors, who were a little off their normal pace. Gary Phillips ran a 6.026et @ 241.28mph to run second, and Juddy came in third with a 6.071et @ 243.24mph.
Zap faced Peter Kapiris in Round One of Saturday night’s eliminations, after Victor Bray withdrew from the event to pass on his engine to son Benny Bray who damaged his engine in qualifying. Zap was out first with a super reaction and a 5.991et @ 241.93mph was too strong for Kapiris’ 6.124et @ 225.00mph.
Meanwhile, Robin Judd completed a stunning 5.868et @ 245.90mph pass that saw him reset the Australian et record, and become the first Aussie to go “five eight”.
Semi Final was going to be a cracker of a race between Zap and arch rival Benny Bray – the grandfather of Doorslammer in Australia – and the new kid on the block. But experience counts, and Zap’s 5.900et @ 243.24 win over Benny’s 6.044et @ 236.84mph sent the crowd into a frenzy.
The final between the two Perth locals had the crowd anticipating something special – perhaps a side by side five second final. Zap achieved lane choice, giving him the better left lane, and after studying the data and conferring with Southside Engine guru Graham Jones settled on a winning tune for the Striker Monaro.
Judd was out first on the tree, but it was John Zappia who powered the Rat straight down the center for a 5.882et @ 243.24 mph win over Robin Judd’s pedaling 6.143et @ 241.28mph in what was probably one of the best final runs in Top Doorslammer history.
“That win was a sweet win – probably better than last season’s Championship win” said Graham Jones “To almost come from behind before the event to running such a consistent set of fives with no engine damage has put a huge smile of my face”.
“Very impressed with how the car ran this weekend” said Zap at the trophy presentation “The team was great, and I finally got the car to run 240mph plus consistently – I have been chasing that for a while now. The Santuff suspension and Aurora components have given us a suspension that responds well to our tweaks, and runs consistently straight – the car is easier to drive at the moment”.
“The Motorplex responded to our requests and gave us a brilliant track this weekend, and the track crew are to be congratulated for their work over the weekend ”.
“Many thanks to Craig Pedley from Striker for believing in the value of our team as racers. With his new Top Doorslammer weeks away from completion, our two car assault on the class should concern our competitors”.