All good things come to an end, and this was the final chapter of what today’s generation will refer back to as the ‘good old days’.
Willowbank Raceway located in Ipswich Queensland Australia, is arguably the best drag racing surface in the southern hemisphere. So what better place to wrap up the newest era in the sport. During the last year, the sport has seen a split with most racers moving to be sanctioned under IHRA rules, which in turn bringing a new championship, The 400 thunder series. And what a championship it has been with easily some of the most incredible racing seen in the modern era. That being said it was time to settle the score. The final round. The 2016 City of Ipswich Winternationals.
The Winternationals is the largest drag racing event anywhere outside of the United States of America with over 400 racers chasing glory. Over the past years weather has played a part with rain adding delays and even seeing the event cancelled on raceday. But in 2016 the City of ipswich Winternationals ran under some of the best weather and track conditions in recent memory.
One of the great aspects of drag racing is that for the basic admission price fans can wonder the pits getting up close and personal with their favorite drivers. With crowd favorites signing autographs and selling merchandise and even broken parts for a unique keepsake. This year saw the return of NHRA star Larry Dixon return to Willowbank after his spectacular save from the Santos event a few years prior. Larry was just the ingredient needed to push the top fuel bracket over to boiling point.
Alot of people ask, Why dragracing what draws you to the sport. Well during the Pro alcohol qualifying session on Friday night John Cannulli ran what is the fastest ta/fc pass in the world. With an astonishing 5.358sec @ 256.3MPH. Its what happened next that shows the true passion and dedication the drivers have to this sport. When told what he had run John was over come with emotion and could barley contain his excitement. Screaming and jumping around the braking area while his team came down with the horn blaring. Its this outburst of emotion that is rare in most forms of top level motorsport.
Just because the inaugural 400 thunder championship has come to a end doesn’t mean the rivalries will be forgotten with some huge names fighting right till the end. With the most notable being the racing incident between Gary Philips and John Cannuli which saw both cars damaged, it’s these rivalries that will push the sport into the future and continue to put our local racers on the world stage.