Drag Nation: The inaugural National Drag Racing Championship hots up

The inaugural NDRC season is steamrolling towards a nitro-fuelled conclusion


THE first year of the National Drag Racing Championship (NDRC) is moving towards the pointy end after a fantastic season across the country in both Group One and Sportsman racing.

After more than a decade of turmoil in the sport, the NDRC has ushered in a unified championship with rounds held in every state and territory, bar Tassie and the ACT. To help Sportsman racers deal with the obstacles presented by geography, the NDRC has split the Sportsman season into Eastern and Western Conferences.

The Western Conference wrapped up at the Riverbend Nationals in April, while the Eastern Conference finals have effectively three meetings to go, with a double-header Nitro Champs (3-5 May) in Sydney, followed by the Winternationals at Willowbank ( 6-9 June).

The Group One season is going to end with a bang, with Top Fuel and Nitro Funny Car joining forces to headline the Nitro Champs and the Winters. The Nitro Champs will be extra-special, with Top Fuel running two complete rounds over the weekend.

And if you needed any further convincing to get your backside trackside to the final rounds, consider that the recent Riverbend Nationals has been hailed by many as one of the greatest drag events held in this country in years.

Top Fuel alone saw 13 three-second passes, four of them side-by-side, and seven at more than 500km/h. Phil Lamattina claimed his first event win in almost two years, while Damien Harris reset the Aussie Top Fuel 1000ft ET and MPH records twice, with a best of 3.733 seconds at 529.81km/h – the quickest and fastest Top Fuel run outside of the USA.

Top Doorslammer is also in fine form, with class legend John Zappia developing a thrilling rivalry with rookie and fellow West Aussie, Russell Taylor. Russell is well known for his antics in his insane, blown Hemi-powered Top Comp LJ Torana, but has very quickly gotten up to speed in the ex-Steve Ham Camaro, defeating Zap at the Goldenstates.

They faced off again in the finals of the Festival State Nationals where Zap crossed the line first, but was disqualified due to an infringement. They met twice more at the Westernationals and Riverbend Nationals, with Zap getting the event win both times. Russell, however, now owns the National Doorslammer ET record, to the tune of 5.59sec – a clear signal that the championship is far from decided.

Going into the Nitro Champs, Zap is ahead by just 35 points, with Ronnie Palumbo in the AC Delco Monaro 66 points behind Russell. Running in fourth behind Ronnie is Lisa Gregorini and her all-female team that have been such a great addition to the field.

You can check out how the rest of the Group One classes went at The Bend here and check out the Aeroflow Sportsman results below:

Super Street

Tony Antonino won the Super Street Western Conference in his S-Series Valiant, which has been in his family since new and was Tony’s late father’s first car. Tony himself learned to drive in the Val, and it was his introduction to drag racing. The car was originally slant six-powered, running a best of 11.8 and now runs a Bergamin Brothers 392-cube small block Chrysler mill, with a PB of [email protected].

Andrew ‘Chicka’ Waight won the meeting in his VH Commodore, facing off against Michael Bridges in the final.

Supercharged Outlaws

Supercharged Outlaws at the Riverbend Nationals was dominated by Renmark’s Dale Tucker in his evil HQ Holden, winning both the event and the Western Conference.

Tucker went into the weekend’s event as the only racer to have hit the points cap, and converted that lead into a comfortable Western Conference final win.

Tucker found his way to the event final after emerging victorious from battles with Mike Evans (round one), Western Conference final runner-up Shaun Kerkman (round two), and Larry Basile in the final.

Top Sportsman

Top Sportsman is a highly competitive DYO class for full-chassis sedans and more streetable cars alike, running any engine combo and going quicker than 8.49. The Western Conference Championship win went to Glenn Henley in his cool LS-powered Datsun 1200 ute, while the event win went to Jason Young over Greg Damiani.

Super Gas

The Super Gas battle was tight heading into the Riverbend Nationals. Colin Griffin was the only racer on the points gap but was pursued closely by Graeme Spencer, Jordan Spencer and Robert Bergamin.

Graeme Spencer got his weekend off to a strong start by taking the Top Qualifier position, but was knocked out early in Sunday’s running by eventual event runner-up, Des Woolstencroft.

Ultimately, it was points leader Colin Griffin who would claim the Western Conference final win despite being knocked out in round two by Woolstencroft, with Griffin’s victory over Vasilios Hondros and Jason Wilson’s defeat of Bergamin in round one helping to seal the deal for the Victorian. Wilson would go on to claim the event honours, defeating Jordan Spencer in round two before lining up against Woolstencroft in the final.

Super Sedan

The Super Sedan Western Conference went to Tony Miskelly in his Ford Probe, with Martin Mirco finishing the season in second place and defeating Joe Carbone in the final to nab the event win in his tough Camaro.


The Western Conference final win for Modified was almost anyone’s game heading into the Riverbend Nationals, with a host of racers in mathematical contention coming into the event at Tailem Bend.

Kenny Stewart would prove successful, with three round wins across the event enough to seal the deal.

Daniel ‘Batdan’ Carranza made it all the way to the top step of the ladder in his dragster, with wins over David Bonetti and Cory Dyson in rounds one and two. He came up against Stewart in round three before defeating event runner-up Derek Wills in the final.


It was winner-takes-all for Craig Geddes at Dragway at the Bend during the Riverbend Nationals. The Victorian racer took out the Western Conference final win for Competition Eliminator, as well as the Riverbend Nationals event victory and the Top Qualifier honours.

Geddes stormed to victory on Sunday, enjoying a round one bye before defeating Frank Intini in round two to secure his spot in the event final against runner-up Matt Forbes, who had beaten Mitch Oxley in round one and enjoyed a bye in round two.

Super Stock

The Super Stock Western Conference final win could have gone one of three ways, with contenders Steve Norman, Kim Fardella and Graeme Simms all on the cap and all competing at the Riverbend Nationals.+

Both Norman and Fardella made it through to round two – with Norman defeating Darrin Gay and Fardella defeating Simms in round one – before going to battle for the Western Conference final and Riverbend Nationals wins.

Norman’ ‘s BMW proved victorious in the final stand-off with an [email protected]/h run over Fardella’s [email protected]/h.

After securing the Top Qualifier position, Nick Totsikas was unable to take part in Sunday’s elimination rounds.

Modified Bike

Dean Jamieson had his hands full on Sunday evening, claiming the accolades for the Western Conference final win and the Riverbend Nationals event win.

Jamieson, who was also the weekend’s top qualifier, went into the weekend with 280 points, behind Lucas Neagoe and Johnny ‘Hog’ Ireland – who were both on the cap – as well as Derryn McGregor (290) who did not take part.

Jamieson’s event and Western Conference final win came after race victories over Colin ‘Baldy’ Sainsbury and Michael Cristoforo in rounds one and two, before a bye sealed his spot in the final. He took the victory over event runner-up, Matthew Yard. 

Junior Dragster

It was double the celebrations this weekend for Cooper Plummer, who not only claimed the Riverbend Nationals Junior Dragster event victory but also the Western Conference final win.

On his way to the win, Plummer defeated Todd Wagner in round one before knocking out top qualifier Talor Horton in round two, while round three brought a victory over Lachlan Walker. Plummer then lined up against event runner-up Zayne Condello in the final.

Competition Bike

It was a successful weekend for Chris Allen, claiming not only the Western Conference final win but also the Riverbend Nationals.

Competition Bike employs the three-round Chicago Shootout format for its racing, with a 13-strong field of Comp Bikes putting on plenty of entertaining racing for the packed crowd.

Allen secured his spot in the final against runner-up Ken Collin with a round one win over David Willis, a bye in round two and a win from Rob Church in round three.