Top Fuel joins Supercars and Superbikes in Darwin

The 2022 Australian Top Fuel Championship will finish at the Darwin Supercars meeting, 17-18 June

Photographers: Dave Reid

UPDATE, November 25: The inaugural Australian Top Fuel Championship will wind up at Hidden Valley Raceway in Darwin on June 17-18 next year, it has been announced today.

The traditional Nitro Up North meeting will also incorporate Top Bike, Top Doorslammer and Sportsman brackets.

The event, which will be held as part of the Darwin Supercars round and combined with part of the Australian Superbikes championship, is being promoted as the Merlin Darwin Triple Crown – harking back to the fondly-remembered Winfield Triple Crown events held at Eastern Creek Raceway in the early 1990s.

The announcement completes the program for the Top Fuel Championships, full details for which are given below.

  • Round 1 – January 21-22, 2022, Sydney Dragway
  • Round 2 – February 5-6, 2022, Australian Nationals Calder Park Raceway
  • Round 3 – March 5-6, 2022, Westernationals, Perth Motorplex
  • Round 4 – April 9-10, 2022, Heathcote Park Raceway
  • Round 5 – May 6-7, 2022, Nitro Champs, Sydney Dragway
  • Round 6 – Merlin Darwin Triple Crown, Hidden Valley.

The story to here

November 23: The Australian Top Fuel Championship has announced today that Top Fuel Bike will be joining its roster in 2022.

The first and second place-getters at this year’s Winternationals, Chris Matheson and John Zahra are the first two racers to sign up, with Jay Upton reportedly working towards committing to the series.

It will be run over six rounds at Sydney Dragway, Calder Park, Heathcote Park Raceway and Perth Motorplex, with the first round slated for Sydney, January 21-22.

The meeting will be held against the backdrop of the showdown between Sydney Dragway and the IHRA, which will begin in the NSW Supreme Court, February 1.

The IHRA-aligned 400 Thunder group will hold its own event at Sydney Dragway, February 4-5.

July 15: Australia’s four active Top Fuel teams have joined forces to launch their own Australian Top Fuel Championship. It appears that the series will run alongside some ANDRA Championship rounds, but not 400 Thunder rounds. Both sanctioning bodies announced their 2021/2022 dates recently, see links below.

Three rounds of the series will be brand-new events, promoted by either the track or Top Fuel Australia. Three rounds will run alongside ANDRA’s Australian Drag Racing Championship rounds. Reading between the lines, Willowbank Raceway will not be involved, at least for the first phase.

Street Machine Summernats promoter Andy Lopez has been brought on board to help run and promote the series. “The focus is to put on a great show and get the fans to the tracks,” said Andy. “We want people to be able to come into the pits and meet the teams. We think that is more important than TV at this stage.”

More information to follow, including details on tracks and dates.

The new national series will include Victoria and Western Australia for the first time in years, and will feature the four current Australian Top Fuel teams.

Jim Read Racing, Lamattina Top Fuel Racing, PremiAir Racing, and Rapisarda Autosport International have all committed to the new championship.

While the finishing touches to the calendar are still being finalised, the Australian Top Fuel Championship will include six races across four states and territories in 2022, with at least six Top Fuel cars planning to race at each round.

With the first round scheduled for January 2022, and the Grand Final locked away in June, drag racing fans around Australia will be treated to six months of nitro-burning action.

The series will have a massive focus on fan engagement, giving spectators unprecedented access to the teams, the drivers, the cars, and all the action in the pits.

Engineering the Australian Top Fuel Championship are Nathan Prendergast of Ignition Productions and Andy Lopez of Out There Productions and Summernats. Both have extensive experience in delivering motorsport festival events.

“Lamattina Racing is excited to be hitting more tracks with a full field of Top Fuel racers,” said Phil Lamattina.

Peter Xiberras of PremiAir Racing added: “Each round of the national series will be exciting and engaging so we can get more fans through the gates to watch Top Fuel race with other quality brackets.”

“Victorian and WA fans have been wanting Top Fuel championship events, so it’s great to add these regions to the mix,” said Rapisarda Autosport International’s Santino Rapisarda.

The Championship will include three brand new events, and the remaining three races will be partnerships with existing series. It will not, however, be running alongside 400 Thunder in 2022.

Bruce Read from Jim Read Racing said: “We want to thank the 400 Thunder series for the last few years. Even though we’re not part of 400 Thunder in 2022, we encourage fans to continue supporting them.”

This exciting new series can only help grow the popularity of drag racing and encourage fans across Australia to support their local track and attend as many events as possible.

“Fans will be treated to a feast of horsepower at every round,” said Nathan Prendergast. “In addition to the on-track action, they’ll be able to enjoy a next-level festival experience including burnouts, drifting, car shows, live music, fan activations, a quality food and beverage experience, and more family-friendly activities.”

Andy Lopez added: “It’s exciting. More cars, more racing, more tracks, and more fans. Aussie drag racing fans can get access to top-quality racing no matter what track they’re close to, whether that’s at our new Australian Top Fuel Championship, the ANDRA Australian Drag Racing Championship, 400 Thunder, or any number of other great events.

“Other auto shows I’m involved in like Street Machine Summernats, Red CentreNATS and Rockynats have become iconic events because of their festival atmosphere. We want to see Australian Top Fuel drag racing become just as much of a must-go event.”