Lamattina Top Fuel Racing has celebrated an amazing national 2017/2018 Top Fuel season in the best
possible way - a championship win!
Arguably the best driver of the season, Kelly Bettes secured the very first Top Fuel Championship for a female
driver in Australia.
Kelly was elated to record a first for the sport and deliver a championship in her rookie season with the team.
“I am so grateful to the Lamattina family for giving me this opportunity but I always wanted to do more than
drive the car – I wanted to win for them and for me!”
“To be able to reward the crew and the team plus our team sponsors such as Fuchs, is just the most amazing
“Phil (Lamattina, team boss) was nervous over the weekend but I told him to trust in our entire team, we have
been working so well all year and I knew that it would continue at this event.
“Our head tuner, Aaron Hambridge, had the car set to run very low 3.80s and we did that and made the rounds
that we needed to secure the title. I knew we had a good package and I had to just do my job as a driver.
“We really went after it for the final run against Damien Harris and we went a little too aggressive but that’s
how it goes. We wanted to see what we could learn for next season.”
The LTFR team had an ongoing battle with the nitro front runners, RAI Autosport, who fielded an impressive
three car line-up throughout the season.
Phil Lamattina added, “To race against the Rapisarda guys so competitively this year made it even better, we
know that we have to be on our game every time we hit the track.
“They have some great cars and great drivers and that’s what has raised the level not just for us, but for the
entire Top Fuel field.
“Some people thought we took a chance when we appointed Kelly to the driver’s seat – I always thought we
took a chance if we let someone else get her – I’m glad that on this occasion I was right!”
The team now prepares to head to Darwin’s Hidden Valley for a non-championship round.
Kelly added, “Now we have the championship we have some other goals in mind – bring on the quarter mile in
Nitro Up North – 13-14 July 2018
Hidden Valley Dragway
Featuring Top Fuel Motorcycle, Top Doorslammer & Top Fuel Exhibition
TBR READY FOR WINTER WONDER
Team Bray Racing is set for a huge Gulf Western Oil Winternationals at its home-track of Willowbank Raceway this weekend.
TBR’s Ben Bray will undertake double duty by competing in both the Pro Slammer and Factory Xtreme brackets at the 51st running of the event, while Frankie Taylor is back from the US and on a mission to beat Bray to a 5.6s ET.
At the same time, the TBR compound at the June 7-10 event will host many of the cars sponsored by team supporter and event sponsor, Gulf Western Oil, including four Pro Slammers, two Sport Compact cars, two Modified Dragsters, one Nitro Harley and one Junior Dragster alongside a bustling corporate guest area.
“The Gulf Western Oil Winternationals is always a huge event for Team Bray Racing, but this year is just on another level altogether,” Ben enthused.
“I will be doing double duty, podium positions in the Pro Slammer championship are on the line, and we will have a host of amazing racing vehicles as well as plenty of GWO corporate guests calling the TBR compound home during the event
“It is really exciting for us too to race at yet another event sponsored by our own partners, Gulf Western Oil. GWO is the biggest sponsors in Australian drag racing at the moment I believe, backing not only ourselves but some great events, Top Fuel racers, Sportsman racers and more. Hopefully, we can bring home a great result for them at the Winternats.
“We won’t be the only ones chasing winning results though - with 498 racers lined up for the event that everyone wants to win, you can expect to see racers putting it all on the line in the pursuit of victory.”
One racer excited to take in all the Gulf Western Oil Winternationals festivities is Texan Frankie Taylor.
“The Gulf Western Oil Winternationals is a huge event with four huge days of both on and off-track entertainment scheduled, it is one not to be missed. I can’t wait to see it all unfold and to be a part of what will be a very big and busy event for Team Bray Racing,” Taylor said.
“When it comes to the racing, the championship positions are certainly on our mind but at the same time, Ben’s PB is a 5.700s while mine is 5.703s (in Australia), so the race is on to see who can be the first to run a ‘five-six’!”
Heading to the Gulf Western Oil Winternationals? Remember to tag your Team Bray Racing captures with #teambrayracing and #gulfwesternoil for a chance to be featured on the TBR Instagram account (Instagram.com/teambrayracing).
To keep up to date with all of the latest news from TBR, visit www.teambrayracing.com, follow the team on Facebook at www.facebook.com/teambrayracing, or interact with them on instagram (#teambrayracing).
Volunteer manpower behind the horsepower for Winternationals.
The Gulf Western Oil Winternationals is a world-class event, where over 500 race teams gather across four days in front of over 30,000 spectators to take part in the largest drag racing festival in the Southern Hemisphere.
The logistics behind producing an event of that scale are complex and would be next to impossible to manage without the valued contributions of some 140 volunteers who will be looking after everything from directing spectators in the car park to activating the green light for a pair of 500kmh Top Fuel dragsters.
Some volunteers have been with Willowbank Raceway since it opened, others will be new for the event. But in total they will all contribute around 1700 hours of effort into making the Gulf Western Oil Winternationals the greatest drag racing event in Australia.
The Gold Coast's Dale Wong volunteers in the high pressure area between the staging lanes and the track, where pairings of vehicles are formed and the 'fire up' signal is given. Timing and communication between race control and track safety officials are vital with Wong giving the command for vehicles with up to 10,000 horsepower to come to life.
“Volunteering at the Gulf Western Oil Winternationals gives you the greatest feeling of euphoria just from knowing that you have played a part in one of the greatest motorsport events in the country,” Wong said.
“I enjoy the challenge of being able to keep the event moving forward, particularly when things start to go in different directions and you might have delays.
“During the running of the event it can be hard to gauge how the public and racers are finding it but when you speak to these people and they praise how awesome the Gulf Western Oil Winternationals are or were, the sense of pride is almost overpowering.”
One of Wong's favourite moments is the Officials' Parade, which takes place on Sunday morning before the opening ceremonies.
“When the crowd is cheering the whole team of volunteers it gives you the biggest feeling of achievement,” he said.
While Wong's role will be virtually invisible when performed smoothly, Yamanto's Mark Allan will be heard by almost everyone attending the Gulf Western Oil Winternationals as one of the commentary team.
Allan splits his time between racing and commentary, enabling him to give back to the event while still enjoying it on the track.
“I’m very fortunate to have the role that I have,” he said. “I get to call the racing from the best seat in the house. I’m invested in every race that I announce. I feel the jubilation of a record breaking run to the heartbreak of a team not qualifying in that final session. I like to think that way of calling a race engages the spectator to have some of their own personal emotional investment into each run from the stands as well.
“The Gulf Western Oil Winternationals is the pinnacle of the sport and to contribute that tiny bit towards such a large event is rewarding.”
Mark is not the only member of the Allan family to be involved, with cousin Kristie greeting racers at the front gate. As a former racer herself, the role allowed Kristie to keep meeting more teams.
“When I finished racing Junior Dragsters in 2010 I was a little lost on what I could do,” she said. “I had always spent a lot of time with the officials at the track and always loved giving them a hand. So when I was asked if I could volunteer on the front gate I was a tad excited!
“At the time I was only 17 and I thought it was an opportunity to learn new things; it was a totally different approach to customer service than what I was used to.”
The position is unique, with Allan getting to see racers with all their pre-event excitement and nerves.
“I always find the Gulf Western Oils Winternationals an exciting time of year. For me personally I think it has this amazing feeling, the atmosphere is just something you can’t explain. Everyone is so upbeat and ready to kick butt.
“Coming from a racing background I love seeing the racers and the crew, having a chat and a joke with them all. It’s also great to see the spectators coming in and having a chat to them, so many of them travel from overseas.”
The Gulf Western Oil Winternationals run from June 7 to 10 at Willowbank Raceway. For more information head to www.willowbankraceway.com.au.
GOUWS FAMILY LOOKS TO MAKE IT 2 FROM 2.
SCG Racing will soon be heading out to the biggest drag racing event outside of U.S.A with the 51st running of the Gulf Western Winternationals. With more than 500 competitors racing over 4 days, it will certainly be jammed packed full of action with Stephan and Liezel looking to take bragging rights!
Stephan Gouws Jnr who is competing in a strong 52 car modified field with his SCG Electrical and Lucky Bling dragster is looking to defend his current national title, currently sitting in 2nd position only 30 points adrift.
“It has been an amazing season with lots of ups and downs while learning the new car and what conditions it likes and doesn’t like” said Stephan Jnr.
Stephan has shown signs of why he is the reigning national champion by recently putting together ‘0.00’ packages at the Queensland Championship event, where he was undefeated for the day with 3 out of 3 wins racing Chicago Shootout format.
“I think the car and I are starting to become one. I’ve started to learn where I can push myself and when it is time to back off. Certainly, getting a perfect (0.000) reaction and a 0.001 in our recent Sydney trip is testimony to how I can push the car”.
Modified is one of the toughest racing brackets in the Australian drag racing scheme and though there are higher accoladed racers with multiple national and track championship, Stephan is prepared to take it all head on.
Liezel Gouws, the other family member of SCG Racing is looking for her first Junior Dragster National crown. Running for SCG Racing Parts, Liezel is the current points leader after a solid performance at the Gulf Western Oil Nitro Thunder. Making it all the way to the Semi-Finals, the crew was thrown a curve ball by the sudden weather change which ended their day.
“It was great going rounds at a major event before the Winters” said Liezel.
“I have started to believe in myself more and more in my car after we did an engine and clutch swap. Having the B/JD in my car was a huge boost and certainly showing.”
Liezel also has to contend with a 54 car Junior Dragster field and with only having a 20-point lead needs to be on her game if she is going to hold off the other competitors chasing her.
Rod Harvey may drive a Toyota Celica but there is nothing pedestrian about this sports compact drag car: it is, in fact, the fastest import car in the southern hemisphere and the fifth quickest in the world.
The Kiwi driver, who holds more than 20 tracks records, national records and event wins across Australia and New Zealand, splits his time between his homeland and Kallangur, Brisbane to compete in the Australian racing circuit season.
Rod’s best race to date was at last year’s Willowbank Raceway Winternationals where he reached 253.1 miles per hour. In June he will again take to Willowbank for the Winternationals and is stopping in at Battery World Ipswich on Tuesday (June 5) at 10.30am with his car to meet with fans who can get up and close to the car.
In 2017, his car was the first ever Factory Extreme/Sport Compact car to run a five-second pass in Australasia at the Gulf Western Oil Winter Nationals and the third fastest in the world for mile per hour at 253 mph.
It is nothing for this driver to reach speeds as fast, and faster than some competition door slammers: full-bodied racing sedans with V8 supercharged engines fuelled by methanol.
“To qualify for door slammer, at the last Winternationals you needed to reach a 5.90: that’s covering a quarter of a mile in 5.9 seconds, or faster,” Rod says. “What makes me passionate about this machine is we have been able to do that and faster. So, to be able to get this much power out of this engine is something pretty special. They say you’ve got to drive these cars like you just stole it.”
Rod and his small team are hitting the 51st Gulf Western Oil Winternationals this year thanks to a joint sponsorship by Battery World Australia and Century Yuasa.
“Sponsorship is critical in racing,” he said. “The duo of Battery World and Century Yuasa is a great fit for us and it is great to support an Australian-made manufacturer. There is a standard joke on how you make a million dollars in racing – you start with 10 because it quickly whittles down. I was always attracted to racing cars from motorbikes and streetcars: racing V8s until 2000, when I switched to sport compact, but I also have a trade. My dad made sure I would have something to fall back on if racing didn’t pan out.”
While hitting speeds of over 407km per hour is all in a day’s work for the 46-year-old builder his 10-year-old daughter Shavaun, who races alongside him in the junior categories, and is also sponsored by Century Yuasa, is only allowed to reach speeds of 100km or 11.9 over an eighth of a mile.
“Shavaun says she can’t wait until she can race as fast as me,” Rod says. “And her younger brother Carlos, 6, also can’t wait for the day when he can get his junior dragster. It’s definitely a family affair with my wife Natalie down on the track with us. She is the one talking to us through our headsets keeping us calm and she is also our chief ‘strapper-inner’: she won’t let either of us drive unless she has made sure the seatbelts are safe and secure and only she can do it. She is also in the tow vehicle that brings the cars back in.”
To keep up to date with all of the latest news from Rod Harvey, visit https://www.facebook.com/