Posted: Tuesday, 27th January 2020

RAI star Wayne Newby has claimed back-to-back wins after defeating Phil Lamattina in the final of Santo’s Summer Thunder meeting at Sydney Dragway, January 25.

“This is a good result for our team,” said Santo Rapisarda. “Each time we come out to race, it seems that the level of competition is getting better and better. That is good for Top Fuel and also more exciting for the spectators as well. I also want to pay credit to Bruce and Phil Read. They have got their car running fast, have landed a new sponsor and ran a personal best of 3.80. Well done boys.”

Expat Richie Crampton making his first appearance in Australia since January 2019 was a major hit with the crowds off the track but struggled on track when he raced his RAI teammate Wayne Newby twice in elimination rounds. `

“For sure I’d love to return to race again,” said Crampton. ”This has been a quick trip. The Rapisarda team has treated me like family, and I've had a great time this weekend.  I’ll be there anytime that Santo gives me a call to come back and race.”

Round one pairings were decided by placing’s in the championship, consequently, series leader Newby faced off against Crampton.

In their opening encounter, Newby ran a 3.86/504 km/h for the easiest of wins after Crampton broke rods on the hit. Their second matchup was a much more entertaining affair. Crampton got a holeshot and looked set for victory until Newby clawed his way to the front then hung on to take a photo finish 3.88/497 km/h win. Crampton stopping the timers at 3.90/503 km/h. Two wins and a bagful of et and speed bonus points guaranteed Newby a spot in the final.

Teammate Damien Harris overcame a sluggish reaction time of .247 and a two-step to comfortably defeat veteran Phil Read. In their second encounter, Harris tossed a belt but was still able to hang on for the win. 

In the final pairing Victorian Phil Lamattina scored two wins over Sydney team owner-driver Peter Xiberras.

With Harris and Lamattina tied on two wins, apiece the rulebook said that whoever had the lowest et in the second round would claim the coveted spot in the final against Newby. That privilege went to Lamattina thanks to his 3.88 pass while Harris ran a 3.89 against Read.

The final was won when the green light appeared. Newby with a superior reaction time of .051/. 071 was never headed and was untroubled to claim his second win of the year.

“The car was on song all weekend,” said Newby. "The driver was a little bit off on the first two runs, but he got his act together in the final when it really was all on the line. This team of guys and girls that work on the car are amazing. I can't describe the feeling, but it’s almost like something magic is happening. There’s a sense of excitement in the team and we are all enjoying ourselves.“