Pro Alcohol, Pro Stock and Top Bike will be the marque categories after the withdrawal of Top Fuel from the Santo’s Super Thunder meeting at Willowbank Raceway April 19.
The one-day event has also been renamed the Super Thunder meeting.
Top Fuel Australia, the governing body for the elite category, had earlier announced they were boycotting the event due to safety issues due to the lack of a safety net. According to TFA, “The decision has not been made lightly and no one likes to disappoint our valued fans and supporters who have been looking forward to the race meet, but safety must always come first – we have seen and know what can happen.”
Willowbank Raceway has released a statement announcing changes to the event and took a swipe at TFA for withdrawing from the event at short notice.
“Willowbank Raceway has been working towards the installation of a catch net system for some time, with the initial goal being to try and have the first net installed for the Easter meeting coming up on April the 19 th. Due to a variety of reasons, this is no longer possible without compromising the quality and safety of the installation.
“As part of these planned upgrades to the braking area, Willowbank Raceway has kept in touch with all Professional categories in relation to the upgrades. At no stage prior to this event has any bracket communicated to Willowbank Raceway management team their non-attendance if this was not achieved. As such, the Willowbank Raceway Board has been surprised and disappointed by the decision of these Top Fuel teams to withdraw so close to the event.
“Willowbank Raceway has always strived to provide the highest level of safety for all of its competitors however we recognize the rights of any competitor with concerns to not attend events.
“However, in the last fortnight one of the Top Fuel teams that have withdrawn from the event was testing at Willowbank Raceway running over 270 mph with no concerns around safety issues.”
The battle for honors in Pro Alcohol is expected to be an all-Queensland encounter between current 400 Thunder champ Steve Reed and fellow veteran Gary Phillips. Reed trails Phillips by 52 points and with three rounds remaining Reed will need a strong result this weekend to keep his hopes of consecutive finals alive.
Reed’s title defense got off to a shaky start with a lowly sixth finish at the opening round then at his last outing was disqualified after crossing the center line in the final against Phillips.
Pro Stock will pit under-rated Chris Soldatos and Aaron Tremayne who has dominated the category since the inception of the 400T series. Soldatos, after a win and a second place to date, leads the championship by 22 points. The bracket will be sponsored through the Tremayne business, NxtGen Engineering.
In Top Bike there have been three rounds that have produced three different winners. Western Australian Jay Upton making the 2650-mile cross country trek holds 31 points lead over Queenslander Gavin Spann with last round winner Chris Matheson two points behind in third place.
— Competition Plus (@competitionplus) January 4, 2019