On the first leg of the “Northern Swing” through remote Northern Territory in outback Australia, Champion John Zappia had a semi final finish in the opening round of the ANDRA Top Doorslammer Championship held at Hidden Valley Drag Strip in Darwin.
Zappia struggled to get the quick Fuchs Monaro to stick to the tricky track in humid and hot conditions. In a dramatic qualifying scenario, the champ only just snuck into the eight-car field by 0.05 seconds.
“We entered with a new Noonan engine and a had few unknowns to deal with,” said Zappia, “We had the new Noonan block, and I was keen to see what this new package has to offer”.
“Qualifying was a struggle with tyre shake and other dramas, and the best I could manage was a pedaling 6.317 @ 239.40. We went over everything on the car and came up with what we believed was a good tune and setup for Round 1”.
“The car launched hard and ran sweet at full throttle the whole pass and grabbed a convincing win with a 5.750 to O’Rourke’s 5.937. The run was under the track record, previously a 5.770 that was set by us last visit”.
Belleri, Phillips and B Bray managed wins to get through to the Semi Finals in front of a huge Darwin crowd. The Nitro up North event attracted the fans; with four Top Fuel cars in attendance reeling off mid four second passes.
“After the wheel standing 5.75 in the first round the Fuchs Monaro pulled up in good condition. We decided to take the left lane again in the semi, but during the burnout the motor revved up and I got crossed up just after 60ft – I knew the track was a bit off”.
“I launched hard but it went into tyre shake and I pedaled a couple of times, but couldn’t get it to stick and Belleri went through for the win”.
Phillips defeated Belleri in the Final to take home the ANDRA trophy and lead the Championship.
“We are happy with the new Noonan engine, and will service the car and do some fishing before heading to Alice Springs for the second event in our Northern Swing – Round 2 of the ANDRA Top Doorslammer Championship at the Desert Nationals on 15-17 July 2016”
“I would like to thank Greg Gower from Alky Pro Software. After running our fuel components on his flow bench, we were able to input the correct data into the Alky Pro software on the bench, enabling us to run the 5.750 with the Alky Pro software at the track acurately”
Zappia ends up fourth in the Championship points after the first round for the semi finish and Low ET of the event:
Phillips 106 points
Belleri 89 points
B Bray 67 points
Zappia 66 points
O’Rourke 48 points
V Bray 45 points
“Looking forward to improving our position in the Championship in Alice Springs on the 17th-18th July – a first for Alice Springs Inland Dragway, by having their first ever Group 1 event”.
O’ROURKE PONTIAC FIREBIRD 5.871 @ 249.72; B BRAY 79 CORVETTE 5.876 @ 246; PHILLIPS 53 STUDEBAKER 5.903 @ 247.16; V BRAY 57 CHEV 5.991 @ 238.85; BELLERI 06 MONARO 6.099 @ 253.04; FENECH 68 CAMARO 6.108 @ 241.24; CHAPMAN 59 PLYMOUTH FURY 6.144 @ 243.63; ZAPPIA HQ MONARO 6.317 @ 239.40
GRADDEN 59 PLYMOUTH FURY 6.367 @ 239.4; TAYLOR 68 CAMARO 8.094@ 107.93: GOONAN 70.5 CAMARO 8.255 @ 112.75
ZAPPIA HQ MONARO 5.750 @ 252.24 def O’ROURKE PONTIAC FIREBIRD 5.937@ 248.84.
BELLERI 06 MONARO 5.953 @ 252.57 def V BRAY 57 CHEV 6.121 @ 246.26
PHILLIPS 53 STUDEBAKER 5.837 @ 249.30 def FENECH 68 CAMARO 6.343 @ 227.96
B BRAY 79 CORVETTE 5.941 @ 244.29 def CHAPMAN 59 PLYMOUTH FURY 6.058 @ 246.80
PHILLIPS 53 STUDEBAKER 5.870 @ 249.21 def B BRAY 79 CORVETTE 6.119 @ 195.17
BELLERI 06 MONARO 5.945 @ 253.23 def ZAPPIA HQ MONARO 6.369 @ 204.42
PHILLIPS 53 STUDEBAKER 5.949 @ 245.36 def BELLERI 06 MONARO 6.473 @ 165.76
Zap and Graham Jones enjoy the local mud crabs in Darwin
Photos courtesy Mike O-Niel www.highrpm.com.au