Qualifying abandoned as Spring Nationals hit by high wind
Sunday 22nd October, 2023 - 10:35am
Competitors at the inaugural Spring Nationals at the Dragway at The Bend will head into race day with minimal laps on the new track surface after a combination of high winds, dust, and rain combined to force event organisers to cancel the remainder of qualifying.
Winds of over 50km/h pummelled the 20,000 strong crowd on Saturday afternoon, who earlier in the day had witnessed the first nitro runs in South Australia since 2018.
The change in the schedule is a blow to racers and fans alike, who had packed the venue to capacity to celebrate the opening of the $30 million facility in Tailem Bend.
The primary concern was the dust that had been raised by the temporary pit area that sportsman racers were pitted in due to the 360-plus racers that saw the pit facilities overflowing.
It is understood that this area was only graded days prior to the event, meaning the surface was quite loose and created considerable dust when combined with the wind.
The ensuing dust then settled on the prepared racing surface which is sprayed with traction compound – usually providing a smooth sticky surface and perfect traction, but in this case making the race track unsuitable for high-horsepower vehicles.
Some participating Top Fuel teams, including Rapisarda Autosport International, PremiAir Racing, and Lamattina Top Fuel Racing, agreed to do burnouts and a launch for the crowd, with the times recorded not counting towards qualifying.
With racing scheduled to start today, the fields will be set by results from the one and only qualifying session for the professional categories.
The venue is set to be officially opened by SA Premier Peter Malinauskas later today, along with Shell V-Power Motorsport Park owner Sam Shahin and other representatives from the Australian drag racing community.