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Zappia smashes national record and retakes Top Doorslammer points Lead

A national record-setting performance from John Zappia’s Dananni Hotshots/Fuchs Lubricants Monaro Top Doorslammer saw him compete in two final rounds in one weekend at Perth Motorplex as he took over the points lead for the Australian Top Doorslammer Championship.

The camp was optimistic leading into the 2022 Goldenstates, as pre-event testing on the Wednesday prior saw runs of 5.66/253mph and 5.63/255mph thanks to an all-new Noonan engine combination.

“These are fresh Noonan heads with new CP pistons and rods, and it is something of an R&D motor,” Zappia said. “The idea on Wednesday was to see what it would do and it produced results right away.”

From there, Zappia Racing needed to turn their focus to Friday, which would feature not only qualifying for the Goldenstates, but also the postponed final of the Red CentreNATS from Alice Springs (in the third session of qualifying).

“The conditions on Friday were unreal and we were making way more power, even though the track was a bit cool,” Zappia said. “On our first pass we rattled the tyres early and I gave it a pedal, then it did a big wheelstand but we still made it down for a 5.71. I was like, ‘Okay, that’s amazing.’

“We came out for the second session and it left hard with a .951 60 foot time and a 3.72/204mph to half track, then it went bang and popped the supercharger off the top of the motor!

With the Alice Springs final coming up, we had to do a quick thrash to put a blower on it, change a couple of bearings and add some more fuel to the tune-up.”

Zappia would take on points leader Kelvin Lyle for the delayed Red CentreNATS final race, with fans treated to an exciting race as Zappia’s 5.66 took the win and also top qualified for the Goldenstates and also receiving the Crow Cams Top Qualifier award.

“Honestly, the engine didn’t sound like it was running on eight cylinders when we fired it up, it sounded a bit fluffy at idle, so we weren’t sure how it would go. But then we go 5.66 to win the race and set the national record, wow!”

The Zappia Racing crew could only celebrate briefly, before needing to return to work to prepare the Dananni Hotshots/Fuchs Lubricants Monaro for Saturday’s racing. A rod was replaced and the heads were serviced so the Noonan engine could be perfect for round one.

With three rounds of all-run racing to complete, Zappia would first have a solo pass. A spectacular 5.645/257mph run lowered the national record once again.

“We were blown away to go even quicker, I guess that is what a healthy motor runs like!” Zappia said.

The second round saw improvement again to a 5.644 against a tough 5.836 from Lyle, but as Zappia drove through the finish line the supercharger again backfired away from the motor.

“I thought we must have just been a bit too lean but then there was a bit of a fire and a bit of smoke. We got back to the pits and the diaper was full of oil, so we knew then it was a broken engine.”

The Zappia Racing team once again thrashed in the pits to change motors, but fell about ten minutes short of being able to make an appearance in the final round against Daniel Gregorini. The good news was that Zappia still secured enough points to take over the lead of the Australian Top Doorslammer Championship. He was pragmatic about the engine.

“Something wasn’t happy after seven runs at that power level. When you look at the conditions, we had some runs at -130 feet of density altitude. That’s supersonic air and everything gets stressed out more. We took a chance on this new motor to learn and we were really happy with the performance.

“I really think we are onto something. The car is torquing up like it used to years ago so we’re even going to have to do some additional suspension work to handle the power. We can definitely see 5.50s in there and we are only scratching the surface of what we can do with the Ty Drive converter and the three-speed B&J transmission.

“This was a huge week for us. There were some big 17 to 18 hour days in the lead up to the event and then all the work we had to handle across the weekend. The crew did great and it is just mind-blowing how well this combo went right away.”

The Dananni Hotshots/Fuchs Lubricants Monaro will be on display at the Mental Health Awareness Lunch for the Blue Tree Project at the Striker / MAXPlant Businesses at 862 Cockburn Road, Henderson on Thursday 17th from 12:00 to 2:00pm

The Dananni Hotshots/Fuchs Lubricants Monaro will next be racing on December 10 at Perth Motorplex for the Summer Slam Series, followed by a return to Willowbank Raceway on January 6 and 7 for New Year Nitro, then Sydney Dragway on January 27 and 28.

Photos thanks to: Phil Reeves ANDRA Phil Blondel



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