The quickest run in Top Doorslammer history and a fifth straight title was John Zappia’s reward at the conclusion of the Fuchs Winternationals at Willowbank Raceway as the rest of the field wonders what they need to do to keep up with the iconic HQ Monaro.
“It was a very proud moment for our team,” said Zappia. “After getting knocked out in round one, we all had to watch in awe as our championship played out in front of us with Peter Kapiris going rounds with a chance to overtake us.
“In the end we got through and it was a big moment for Fuchs Lubricants and Procomp Electronics as our co-naming rights sponsors. Our strategy and execution over the season has paid off for all of us.” Zappia top qualified with Australia’s quickest pass – 5.750 seconds, in a field that ended with a 6.007 bump spot over two days of sometimes challenging conditions.
“Everything came together on that pass with excellent conditions for our car. Sticky track and great air suited our high horsepower combo,” he said.
However things did not go so much to plan come round one when /Ben Bray strapped a holeshot on Zappia and took the win light.
“We were quicker with a 5.814 to Ben’s 5.877, but drag racing is all about first to the finish line – and his 0.046 reaction was killer to my 0.126,” Zappia said. “But the hardest to take was Kapiris getting through by beating Stuart Bishop. My heart was in my mouth watching the semi finals, as Judd’s 5.881 just took out Kapiris with a close 5.897 guaranteeing our championship win.
“The whole crew were in the grandstand watching the race and erupted into cheers for Robin Judd and celebration at achieving the fifth straight Top Doorslammer championship.”
The tentative nature of the final event summed up the season for Zappia where he has been challenged by Kapiris in particular.
“It has been a mixed season and it looked shakey early when we were behind on the points as Kapiris beat us in the semi of the Nationals and then pipped us in the final of round two at the Goldenstates,” he said. “The Westernationals was our defining moment though – beating Judd to win the event. That set our championship up after three rounds.”
After a short break Zappia will be back on the road to take in the Slamfest event at Darwin before the next ANDRA championship season resumes where he will shoot for a sixth straight title in Top Doorslammer, a feat only achieved by the legendary Victor Bray.
Image courtesy Fred Dwyer.
To read more on John Zappia's fifth title, make sure you pick up this month's Motorsport News.