The Aeroflow National Sportsman Championship ushered in the new year with a bang at the South Coast Raceway. The weekend was abuzz with excitement as over 140 competitors descended on the Portland venue for the South Coast 660, marking the first National Drag Racing Championship (NDRC) event of 2024.

As the Western Conference points battle intensifies, every race win becomes increasingly crucial for the racers of the Aeroflow National Sportsman Championship. As racing resumed on the  weekend of January 6 and 7 in Portland, several racers kick-started their 2024 racing campaigns in the best possible way by claiming event wins and the coveted Christmas Tree trophies in their respective brackets:

  • Shane Baxter (Supercharged Outlaws) 
  • Todd Wagner (Junior Dragster) 
  • Michael Jennings (Super Street) 
  • Steve Norman (Super Comp) 
  • Edge Mallis (Competition Bike) 
  • Jamie Dohnt (Modified Bike)
  • Colin Griffin (Super Gas) 
  • Simon Barlow (Modified) 
  • David Todd (Super Sedan) 
  • Glenn Henley (Top Sportsman)                                                          

In the Supercharged Outlaws category, Melbourne’s Shane Baxter emerged victorious, taking the event win from top qualifier Doina Day in his Neil and Parks Dragster. Baxter had earlier defeated Brendan Carr in the first round before a bye in the second round. Day, on the other hand, had a bye in the first round before claiming victory over Bob Sherry in the second round, only to break out in the final.

Baxter was ecstatic about the outcome of the event. He felt as if he was on top of the world. The final was not just satisfactory, but it was a thrilling race with Doina Day that kept everyone captivated. He was particularly impressed with the performance of his car, which didn’t give him a single issue throughout the day. This flawless performance made him quite hopeful about his chances in the final.

He also took a moment to appreciate the efforts of Brian Oakley and his team. Their consistent support and hard work were instrumental in his success, and he was deeply grateful for their contribution.

The Junior Dragster category saw 12-year-old Todd Wagner of Mildura South (VIC), who was left speechless after claiming his first-ever Christmas Tree trophy. Wagner took the win over three-time tree winner Sarah Osborne, after emerging victorious from match-ups against Lachlan Walker, Luca Lamattina, and Jason Maggs. Osborne had taken on Brock Furlanetto, James Barlow, and Cooper Plummer. Taylor Horton had earlier been celebrated as the top qualifier.

Edge Mallis had a very successful weekend at the race track with his Kawasaki H2R in the Competition Bike category. The Moonee Ponds (VIC) racer top qualified before going on to take the event win over Joe Khoury – a defending Australian champion and the last round winner.

Competition Bike employs a three-round Chicago Shootout format, and Mallis and Khoury faced off in the final after Mallis had won races against Gavin Dohnt, Rob Church, and Jake Hamilton-Moderate while Khoury had also taken three wins over Church, Hamilton-Moderate, and Nathan Stone to earn his place in the final.

In the Super Street category, Michael Jennings backed up his December South Coast Nationals victory in his 1970 Nova, with Allan Brooks this time being the runner-up. Jennings, of Valley View in SA, ensured his place in the final by taking wins from Bill Farrugia, Andrew Waight, and Andrew Smith before a semi-final bye, while Brooks had taken on Henry Spicak, Nathan Micallef, Rodney Kerr, and Benny Phillips. Ji Ackland claimed the top qualifying honours for the bracket.

Finally, in the Super Comp category, Whyalla’s Steve Norman took the win over top qualifier Matthew Forbes with his championship-winning BMW M3. Forbes red lit in the final, giving Norman the win.

The Aeroflow National Sportsman Championship at South Coast Raceway was a thrilling start to 2024, setting the stage for an exciting year of racing ahead. With over 140 competitors taking part in the South Coast 660, the first NDRC event of the year was a resounding success. As we look forward to the rest of the year, one thing is certain: the world of motorsport has a lot of excitement in store.

The first event of the 2023/24 season not only showcased the skills and determination of the racers but also highlighted the spirit of competition and camaraderie that makes the sport so captivating.

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