2009 Westernationals Report
February 28th 2009 saw the start of the 38th annual Westernationals drag racing event.
February 28th 2009 saw the start of the 38th annual Westernationals drag racing event. Held at Perth’s Kwinana Motorplex, amongst the usual car classes was the three motorcycle brackets of Modified Bike, Competition Bike and the nitro burning Top Bike.
This year, like last, saw a contingent of interstate motorcycle drag racers make the haul west over the desert, with 10 bikes from Queensland competing in Comp and Mod bike. With 50% bonus points on offer at the West Australian round as an incentive for racers to travel, the outcome of this event is usually pivotal in the Australian Championship points chase.
Image Galleries for the Event can be found here:
Modified Bike gets Hammered.
44 starters fronted for Modified Bike qualifying on Friday, with Stephen Anderson’s ZX12-R based machine coming out on top with a qualifying ET of 8.51 seconds.
Not far behind was dual Australian Champ Adam Ewing, with his 8.64 effort good enough for 3rd spot on the ladder. Veteran multiple event winner Paul Nieuwhof’s 8.85 saw him in 5th on the list, his record in this event making him one of the more fancied runners.
One of six interstate competitors in the bracket, Queensland’s Jason Hammelswang and his yellow R1 Yamaha street bike had to wait until the third round of racing before he got to race a West Australian, having knocked out fellow Queenslander Mal Brooks in the second round, and NSW racer Andrew Waltos in the first. With W.A. favorite Adam Ewing gone after a shock first round loss, by the semi finals it was Hammelswang vs Nieuwhof with Ross Green taking a solo into the final after a victorious burndown decided race the round before.
The Yamaha street bike of the “Hammer” came out on top in a close race against Nieuwhof, setting the Queenslander up against Green in the final. Green was marginally slower on the lights against Hammelswang, and ran an unlucky breaking out .021 under his dial in.
Competition Bike Surprise.
Most tipsters were chewing their pencils over which B/Street class machine would win the Competition Bike class, but the winner wasn’t to be found among them.
Once again Perth’s Neil Anderson pulled one out of the bag in qualifying, with a stunning 9.09 second run on his ZX10-R Kawasaki, the first into the “nine O’s”. Queensland B/Street pair Blair Pennington, and Dave Rundmann filled Q2 and 3, with a 9.23 and 9.24 respectively. 4th and 5th spots were nailed down by the street bikes of Reg McCallum and Ross Smith’s 8 second Hayabusa, with the blown FME Kawasaki Comp Bike of Kev Gummow the first of the wheelie bar bikes in 6th. 15 of the 16 qualifiers were under their index.
Second round upsets included number 2 qualifier Pennington out with a .009 redlight, with fellow B/SBer Reg McCallum throwing away a good chance at the event with an even closer .003 under redlight. The semi final pitted last years event runner-up Dave “Robot” Rundmann against event favorite Anderson, with the other pairing of a supercharged comp bike versus Gordon Crawford’s turbo charged Kawasaki. Supercharger won out with Gummow taking a win, while Andersons black Kawasaki streaked away to a 2 tenths half track lead over Rundmann’s GSXR, easing to an 9.30 win.
The final was a ripper, with Gummow’s .046 light better than Andersons .070, and the 173mph top end charge of the blown alcohol burning machine getting around the street bike for the win, with Anderson labelling his lower than normal 144mph top end speed “mismanagement” at the trophy presentation.
Top Bike Flies.
The eight Top Bike qualifiers were split evenly between 4 cyl Japanese based machines, and the thundering V-twin American nitro burners.
The Flying Kiwi, Athol Williams held the top spot with a 6.44/220mph pass. Ian Ashelfords Harley followed with a 6.68, with the Honda of Jay Upton in 3rd on a 6.72. While the four cylinder bikes hold the speed advantage, by the second round it was the 2 Harleys of Ian and Mark Ashelford, pitted against the screaming inline fours of Williams and Upton.
Ian Ashelford had set the low ET of Round one, whilst Upton got a free pass against Sam Parker, whose broken machine didn’t make stage. Kiwi Williams blasted out a 6.35 at 224 mph to account for Mark Ashelford, in the other pairing Uptons Honda lost power – and the race – against Ian Ashelford. In another great final, Ashelford chopped the tree against Williams, and his 6.68 came close to taking out the Kiwi, but the four cylinder’s 211 mph top end saw him home for the win.
Only 2 National records were set in the motorcycle classes, with Neil Anderson resetting the B/SB record to 9.226 seconds, and Shayne Homes taking the D/SB mph record to 130.62 .
Thanks to the Management and Staff of Kwinana Motorplex, and a big thanks to all the racers and crew from Western Australia for the hospitality shown to the interstate visitors.