Kelly Bettes has become Australia’s first professional drag racing champion after claiming the 400 Thunder Top Fuel Championship at the Winternationals.
Bettes despatched of Wayne Newby in the semi-final with a narrow 3.801s to 3.842s pass, a result which proved enough to crown her champ.
Though Bettes won the title, she was beaten by Damien Harris in the final, the Rapisarda Autosport International driver enjoying a near perfect event by qualifying top, setting new Australian drag racing records for time and speed.
“I don’t even know what to say. To Fuchs, all the team, I’m blown away, we’re just all stoked,” said Bettes.
“Unfortunately we went into some pretty serious tyre shake in the final and I tried to give it a pedal, but Damien was just gone. But we are stoked with our results.”
Team owner Phil Lamattina was thrilled with Bettes’ result in what was her rookie year.
“We took a chance on a young lady and she has paid us back in spades,” Lamattina said.
“She has taught me so much this year. The Rapisarda team pushed us to the limit and that is what it is all about.”
Other winners included Paul Mouhayet, who defeated John Zappia in the Pro Slammer semi final to take the title.
The pair met in what equated to a winner take all affair, his a 5.65s pass enough to see him through after Zappia rubbed the wall.
Mouhayet then rounded off the event with victory in the final, another 5.65s run enough to edge out Gary Phillips.
The Pro Alcohol Championship went the way of Steve Reed, who last claimed the crown in 1994.
On double duty, Phillips took out the Pro Alcohol event after missing out on victory in the Pro Slammer final.
Brothers Aaron and Tyronne Tremayne met in the Pro Stock final, Aaron taking out both the event and the championship while Tyronne scored enough points to move into second in the title race.
In Pro Bike, Maurice Allen claimed an unlikely victory after beating points leader Corey Buttigieg in the opening round.
He then beat Glenn Wooster in the final round after Wooster red lighted to take out the event.
Chris Matheson claimed the Top Bike championship, banking a 6.082 en route in the final round.
VIDEO: Kelley Bettes wins 400 Thunder Top Fuel Championship