John Zappia produced a winning performance in qualifying at the Tin Top’s in tropical Queensland on the weekend, with super consistent runs in all three sessions – only to be beaten by the rain before the first elimination round. The rain persisted, and the event was cancelled by Willowbank staff.
“We ran the Whipple/BAE 5 second combo this meeting, as we knew the performance was enough to have a good go at the Championship. It was sad to be beaten by the weather, instead of my competitors.” said an upbeat John Zappia after the event. “We top qualified easily, and as further prove we did it easily we rattled off a 6.01et on a private test session the day after the event. That was very satisfying and gets us closer to achieving a five second run at each track on the Doorslammer Championship series. The five second pass will hopefully be run in the final of the Winters. Only Benny Bray got close to the Striker Monaro.”
“We ran 6.098 et @ 229.71mph in session one, then a 6.082 et @ 230.89mph in session two, and a 6.083 et @ 234.74mph in the third – pretty consistent really with a safe tune.” Asked if he can actually tell on a run how quick the HQ Monaro goes, Zap says “Not really. On the last run I thought it was a huge run – I changed gears at the right revs, and it felt like it pulled hard – but was only a 6.083. Sometimes the quick runs feel pretty average in the car.”
With a minimum 40 points awarded to all qualifiers (and Zap awarded Low Elapsed Time extra 5 points) under ANDRA rules for the Tin Tops, the Championship remains in the hands of Garry Phillips (500 points). All Phillips has to do is qualify to win the Championship. Best case scenario for Zap (416 points) would be for Phillips not to qualify, and to win the event for 100 points and gain 5 points for Low Elapsed Time – winning the championship by 1 point.
“I think we are maturing as a team, after stepping up our sponsorship levels in the last two years with Rentco Transport Equipment and Striker Crushing and Screening making a big contribution, not only financially but also with encouragement and added incentives. New parts and equipment have brought changes to our procedures and logistics – and to an extent that can upset crew rhythm a little, until the changes become engrained. Mechanics would understand how familiar we all get with our tools and ways of doing things. Striker has added an extra component to our value as an experienced team, and time is showing we are responding and becoming more professional. Watch the results in the next few seasons. That professionalism will consolidate and extend to other upcoming racing developments to be announced soon for our team. ”
“The crew have serviced the car here in Brisbane at a Striker premises, then I head down to the Nitro Champs in Western Sydney to spectate, and eventually back to Willowbank for the Final Round of the Top Doorslammer Championship at the Winternationals.”
We hope to see as many sponsors, friends and fans come to Willowbank to hopefully celebrate the end to a very good season.
John Zappia 6.082
Ben Bray 6.098
Victor Bray 6.221
Gary Phillips 6.225
Aaron Lynch 6.228
Stuart Bishop 6.323
Maurice Fabietti 6.387
Brett Stevens 6.483
STRIKER MONARO – WORLD’S QUICKEST AND FASTEST TIN TOP HEADS EAST
John Zappia heads across the Nullabor this week to attend the QT Tin Top Titles on 28th April 2007, to contest Round 6 of the ANDRA Top Doorslammer Championship at Willowbank Raceway.
Zap’s Rat holds the title of quickest and fastest Tin Top in the world, a time of 5.922 seconds ET, and a speed of 242.28mph, and boasts an all steel body over the Anderson chassis, with extensive suspension modifications by Zappia Racing and assistance by Santhuff shocks and struts.
Zap’s Striker Monaro – Australia’s Quickest Top Doorslammer – comes off two rounds of local track competition and testing, that saw the new Striker PSI/TFX engine combination crack the five second barrier on its third pass with a 5.991et @ 235.60mph. A win in the Top Comp B Final last meeting with a 6.093et @ 235.60mph consolidated the effort, after minor engine changes were required to fine-tune the package.
Gary Phillips leads the Top Doorslammer championship with 460 points, followed by John Zappia on 371, Brett Stevens on 363, Victory Bray on 360, Peter Kapiris on 300, Steve Stanic on 270 and Robin Judd on 208 points. With Kapiris and Stanic sitting out the Tin Tops, the race is between the top four giants of Top Doorslammer racing to win the championship – all crowd favourites.
“We would certainly like to break the Queenslanders’ home track advantage at the Willowbank Tin Tops, and Winters. They always seem to dig deep and perform at those events, but we know we have the speed and laps under our belt to tackle that” said Zap this week. “We have been held back by little niggly things this year, but have addressed those challenges with our maintenance program.”
“We will be racing for Striker, all our other sponsors, the Championship, and for our fans and going as fast and as quick as possible like we always do. We don’t hold back in our racing – we give it all on every lap. Our team is so experienced we can afford to go a little extra in our racing, because in most cases we can complete engine changes or component changes between races. Anybody who watches our crew in the pits witnesses some pretty amazing feats under pressure – like heads still off with ten minutes to go, and piston changes between races a couple of meetings ago. We do it especially for the fans and to give our sponsors maximum exposure – they expect us to front and do our best, so we don’t like to disappoint them”
John Zappia has his Striker Monaro finely tuned after years of regular testing at the Kwinana Motorplex, but it was not always that way. The car suffered handling problems early in its development, and was a wild ride at times – hitting the wall numerous times and thrilling the crowd with Zap’s spectacular driving skills. Zap drew on the experience of USA teams and Santhuff to make the necessary changes to achieve the jump in performance.
“We have learnt a lot this last year, especially on how to set up a Top Doorslammer to run regular five second passes. There are some areas that other teams have not discovered yet, and when they do they will go quicker. We feel we have lots of potential left yet, as our data comes in with the new engine combination, and other testing with different tyres and gear ratios.”
“All the team are looking forward to the Tin Tops, and we encourage all fans to drop by the pits to watch, say hello and pick up some autographed merchandise.”