More than 200 race teams came together from all over the country on Australia Day weekend for the Atlantic Oils Top Fuel Slam to race in front of a capacity crowd in honour of Sam Fenech

Emotions were high at Sydney Dragway, with the sell-out crowd entertained by high quality racing from start to finish, and moved by emotional tributes to Sam.
The opening ceremonies were just one way Sam was remembered across the event and included a Missing Man formation, speeches, and the unveiling of Adam Brand and Matt Cornell’s incredible new release, ‘Our Church.’
The song, celebrating community and the fact ‘we all race for the same reason’, was set to footage of Australian drag racing while featuring both Sam Fenech and Louie Rapisarda. The video was created by Top Fuel Australia’s own Nathan Prendergast and the production is already being hailed as the new drag racing anthem.
On the track, the racers left nothing on the table as they all did their best to race for Sam and bring home the win in his honour.
When all was said and done, in the group one brackets it was Peter Xiberras (Burson Auto Parts Australian Top Fuel Championship), Kelvin Lyle (ADRC Top Doorslammer), Rob Dekert (ADRC Atlantic Oils Pro Stock), Jeremy Callaghan (ADRC Pro Mod) and Chris Matheson (ADRC Top Fuel Motorcycle) who held the big trophies aloft with A-Final victories, taking wins over Phil Read, John Zappia, Chris Soldatos, Neil Murphy and Rob Cassar respectively.
“This one was always about Sam. After it happened, I think everyone for the last three weeks has been on tenterhooks and talking themselves in and talking themselves out, I know I have been,” Xiberras said.
“I wanted to come here for Sam and then work out what I wanted to do, and I am just so proud that I could do it in his honour.
“He is such a loved character, and we won’t forget him. I had his brother and his son come and see me, and it was such a vote of confidence that they approve of what we do still.
“Thank you very much to everyone, and to my team – I just can’t believe it, this is just fantastic. And to Phil, to race him and his team is an absolute honour and a pleasure.”

In Top Doorslammer, Kelvin Lyle had his hands very full, taking out not only the A-Final win for the Atlantic Oils Top Fuel Slam, but also the top qualifying honours, and the A-Final win for the held-over Willowbank Raceway A-Final which was held during qualifying in Sydney.
“This means a lot,” Lyle said at the bottom end of the track.
“And it is not just about getting the two trophies, but to just do it in Sam’s honour. It means a lot.
“I was racing him at that last meeting, and to have that happen was just tragic.
“So, I really, really wanted these, for him.”
In Atlantic Oils Pro Stock, top qualifier Rob Dekert was another with plenty to smile about, taking the A-Final win over Chris Soldatos with a 7.011 pass at 315.59kph, with Soldatos forced to settle for the runners-up trophy with his 7.125/308.69kph pass.
In Pro Mod, top qualifier Jeremy Callaghan faced off against Neil Murphy in the A-Final and took the win with a 5.944/400.26kph pass over Murphy’s 6.054/390.27kph result.
In Top Fuel Motorcycle, Chris Matheson took out the A-Final win over Rob Cassar, with a 6.306/344.26kph pass enough to see him beat Cassar’s 7.334/292.64kph to claim the big trophy.
The next round of the Burson Auto Parts Australian Top Fuel Championship will be held at the Perth Motorplex’s Westernationals event, across March 4 and 5.

For more information, visit www.topfuelchampionship.com.au