Lots of things have already happened this year in Australian dragbike racing. Rather than try to list everything that’s gone down, I’ve put together a list of highlights. If you reckon you’ve done something worthy of mention and it’s been missed, send an email and tell us about it.
Spring has sprung and Sydney Dragway’s winter break has ended for racers in the Atura NSW Championship Series. With four rounds before and four after, the three-month winter break is much more than just a half-time pause to suck on oranges.
Some treat it as a time to hide indoors out of the cold, and others are out in the shed burning the midnight clichés. Rather than give a blow-by-blow report on the first half, we’ve got pics of people and a bit of info on what they’ve done.
Australia’s first No-Bar 200mph passes
One of Australian dragbike racing’s biggest barriers was broken this year. Contrary to popular belief, it wasn’t an overnight sensation. The Australian speed record for no-bar bikes had been held by Leonard Azzopardi since May 2012 when he ran 7.68 at a massive 198.35mph at the APSA meeting at Sydney Dragway.
On that run, the 60-foot time was 1.428 seconds and the half-track speed was 154.47mph. The 68” wheelbase Quicksilver carried an MTC Multistage clutch and rode on a Michelin Power 1. Pretty standard fare in those days.
The previous record holder was also Leonard on the same bike. Same clutch, same tyre and a wheelbase that hasn’t changed since the first day it rolled out of the shed.
Leonard’s records of 7.47 and 194mph were set 28th November 2009 at a Sydney Dragway bracket meeting. The sixty was 1.32 and the half-track speed was 156mph. It took a further two and a half years to overcome inconsistencies and pick the speed up from 194 to 198. This stuff is easy, said no one ever.
Quicksilver was out of Leonard’s hands for three years. On its return, he stripped it to a bare frame before putting it back on track. Same wheelbase but now with an MTC Gen 2 clutch and then a variety of tyres before settling on the Mickey Thompson slick for the 2017 Nitro Thunder.
Leonard’s first pass at that meeting opened eyes when a 7.215 and 201.34mph came up on the readout board. The next two qualifying passes netted a 7.35/198.79 and a 7.246/201.49.
Three rounds of eliminations turned up time cards reading 7.341/200.62, 7.362/201.25 and 7.380/188.91. Four of the six passes were 200mph or better. The Azzopardi Racing pits was a very happy place to be!
Australia’s first No-Bar six-second pass
Following the rain-shortened 2017 Winternationals, Ace Edwards and crew returned on 8th July to try to improve on his 7.10 qualifying effort. He improved with a 6.936/200.56 blast to be the first in the sixes and the second over 200mph. In his own words…
“We did it! Australia’s first no bar six-second pass. A massive thanks to Blaze and Gavin Hansen for the ongoing support with the development of this bike. Without you guys this achievement would not be possible. Nitz Hydraulic Services for there continued support over the years. Shep’s Engine Reconditioning for there support in our engine program, as well as the quick turn around times between events.
“A big thanks to my wife, Tia Edwards for allowing me to follow my passion, it was a tough week leading up to the event, spending a week beforehand prepping the bike and not being home much due to work commitments, so I sure do have some sucking up to do.
“Brian Alvisio, you have helped out for two events now and we have PB’d six times out of eight runs… so you can probably stick around, thanks for your help. And another thanks to my entire family who all get on-board with continual encouragement and support every time I go racing.
“This result gives us plenty of drive to move forward so we will spend a bit of time tidying things up and trying a few things that we have wanted to for a while before we hit the track again and see what we can do!”
Australia’s First N/A No-Bar Seven
Bikes with wheelie bars have been running sevens for a long time. We’ve even seen a fair few turbo’d and nitrous no-bar bikes hitting the sevens.
But … No one in this country had managed a naturally aspirated seven in no-bar trim. Peter Puznik had been knocking on the gate with a few low-eights before he knocked out a 7.998 on his 1475cc Hayabusa during qualifying at the 2017 Nitro Thunder to be the first in Australia. The Rascal Racing Engines pit was another happy place at the Nitro Thunder.