Round 2 - Nitro Champs Meeting Report

With the Winternationals not far away, and the 3rd round of racing for Factory Xtreme, it’s timely to reflect on the weekend that was at the Nitro Champs in Sydney. With the forecast for the weekend poised to go either way, the weather turned it on for Sydney with three glorious days of sunshine. Spirits were high among the FX competitors as they set up on the Friday, ready for the first round of qualifying action on the Saturday. 

The first round of qualifying took place around midday with Collin Willshire in his Eclipse taking on Craig Dyson and the Celica in the first pairing. Willshire left first with his best ever 60ft although peddled it just past that. Dyson rounded him up at ¾ track and hit the line first with a 7.23@204 to Willshire’s 7.38 @ 192.The second pairing saw Rod Harvey in the Rayglass Celica take on Scott Porter in his Infiniti. Harvey put up a stout 6.45@223 to Porter’s 7.58@165, the Infiniti having too much in it and overpowering the track just past 60ft and breaking into shake. Next up was Joe Signorelli in his Celica taking on Ben Bray with driving duties in Karl Hammoud’s Scion. Signorelli got the jump on Bray although had problems at half track that turned out to terminal for the weekend. Bray ran through without issue for a 6.83@210. Up next saw Jason Both with the only rotary in the field (RX7) take on Zoran Gajic in his 2JZ powered BMW. Both got out first and laid down a new PB of 7.06@189 with Gajic a bit soft in the sixty but running it out the back with a 6.77@209. The final run was Mark Jacobsen debuting the R35 GTR in competition. His run of 7.14@191 was a new PB and also took the title of World’s Fastest GTR.

 

As previously mentioned on Facebook, the second qualifying round was not what you would call ideal with most competitors experiencing issues. The only blemish on the weekends good weather was a small shower around 2 o’clock which was around 20 minutes before the boys were due out on the track. This equated to about an hour and a half delay in the proceedings but more importantly dropped the relative altitude by about 300ft catching a few of the runners out. Harvey had the best run of the round with a 6.96 getting a bit loose in the top end and Porter putting down a 7.07 but the others put down unrepresentative times or had issues on the line.

The first round of racing was run as the last bracket of the day and saw only a handful of competitors make it to the lanes. Willshire lined up against Dyson with Willshire getting loose and Dyson taking the win. The second pairing saw Bray v Porter with Bray experiencing issues with the 2-step on the line and Porter leaving hard only to get out of shape around 1000ft and nosed into the wall! The car flipped onto its roof and slide across into the opposing wall before coming to a stop well down in the breaking area. The track staff were quickly on the scene with Porter already freeing himself from the belts but unable to get out of the car by himself due to damage. He was checked over by the ambos and given the all clear. The day was called with Rod Harvey yet to run but as he had a bye he was given the win.

With another bright blue sky greeting the competitors it was on again for round two. The first matchup of the day was Willshire against Jacobsen with Jacobsen asleep at the tree and Willshire getting a sizeable jump. Willshire ran through for the win (7.5@142) with Jacobsen backing off at ¾ track and rolling through for an 8.36@117. Dyson and Both were the next pairing up with Dyson pulling through the beams and Both only running it out to 330ft. Dyson was given direction by the starter to run it out and did so gathering some valuable data in the process. For Jason Both however, after spending the previous night fixing a few issues, some more gremlins put the car on the trailer for the rest of the day sadly. The marquee battle of the round was going to be Harvey versus Bray after both had gone well into the 6’s on previous runs. After a strong burnout Harvey seemed to be having issues keeping the car running which was quite uncharacteristic for the kiwi. With Bray into stage the revs were brought up but Harvey's engine said no, throwing a leg out of bed on the line. Bray, having no issues getting up on the 2-step this time blasted through for a 6.66@210 to take the win.

Getting down to the business end of the day there were only a handful of cars left. Again Willshire was out on track first this time up against Bray with Bray having a big wheels up launch, getting out of shape just past 60ft and having a peddle. He still takes the win with a 6.84@186 to Willshire's 7.09@194. Dyson and Jacobsen were the only other pairing with Dyson pulling through the beams again but this time keeping the boot into it. No time was recorded and Jacobsen ran through for a 7.34@181.

After doing the sums on the rounds of the day the final run turned out to be Bray against Willshire. Willshire got the jump on Bray and led past 60ft eventually smashing out a new PB of 7.03@196, however Bray brought home the goods in the deep end piping Willshire on the line with a 6.86@207! Congratulations go out to Ben Bray for his win in what was a very busy weekend for him as he was running in Top Doorslammer as well.

It was quite a good weekend overall, having its ups in a number of PB’s and its downs in a high rate of attrition and Scott Porter’s accident on Saturday night. The positive from that is that plans are already in place to repair the chassis and body of the Infiniti and the team is hoping to be back in time for the Winter Nationals. Looking forward to the Winter Nationals, with a number of competitors that are yet to compete in Factory Xtreme debuting, it will be an exciting event not to miss if you love your Sport Compact action!