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KARCHER Nitro Champs Sydney 1st - 3rd May 2009

Athol burned some good miles per hour down the track.
Athol burned some good miles per hour down the track.

The race team waiting in the staging lanes
The race team waiting in the staging lanes


Athol against Chris Porter - the media really want to get the shots
Athol against Chris Porter - the media really want to get the shots

The bike with new livery...
The bike with new livery...

A quick celebration at the end of the track
A quick celebration at the end of the track

The crowd loved us........
The crowd loved us........

Thanks to Chris & Virginia Thornton
Thanks to Chris & Virginia Thornton "The Organic Coffee King"

Crew chief does a quick check of things at start up
Crew chief does a quick check of things at start up

The big screen gives some great shots
The big screen gives some great shots

This was the meeting that the team was really looking forward to – we weren’t saying it, but we all knew it could be the one where we claimed the ANDRA championship title.  We were crossing our fingers that the meeting wasn’t going to be destroyed by bad weather, which had been the case with the two previous meetings (Australian Nationals and Summer Nationals).  For those of you who don’t know what a “Christmas Tree” is in dragracing terms, it is the golden trophy, depicting the startline lights that ANDRA gives to winners at only three meetings a season, and it is highly sought after by racers.  We wanted to get the whole series  .......



........ Australian Nationals, Summer Nationals, Winter Nationals and Championship – we already have the middle two from last season, but as the weather had put paid to us getting the Australian Nationals trophy we didn’t want it to happen again at this meeting for what could be a “one-off” trophy – never mind all the effort and money to get there going to waste.  The Team was eager to improve the catch.

The time and dedication of the team members cannot be excelled and they cannot be thanked enough.  Roger, our crew chief had landed on the previous Saturday, and set the container up with awning etc – a strenuous and tiring task for one person.  Trevor landed on the Tuesday from Wellington to assist with getting bits and pieces on the bike ready – the flights out of Wellington are extremely early, so the day was literally 24 hours long for the man and that is nothing out of the ordinary.  The rest of the New Zealand crew arrived on Thursday and last but not least Daniel (our token Aussie) flew down from Brisbane on the Friday morning the 1st May.  Also on this occasion, Steve and Margie Paris arrived from Darwin on the Saturday, and were present in the pits and helping in a big way as they have so often done in the past.  They are considered part of the team and are so enthusiastic, we really wouldn’t want to be without them.  Anyway that’s the team the lead up, - a lot of organisation and dedication just to get there.

Our first qualifying run was scheduled for 8pm Friday night – it turned out to be 9:15pm and Jay Upton went out first with Craig Bonwick.  For those of you reading this you will probably know the outcome of that run, Jay’s bike headed directly in front of Craig in the left hand lane, tossing Jay off at 194mph and the bike then hit the left wall, with Craig just managing to go between the bike and Jay.  The bike was totally destroyed, and Jay was lucky to get up and walk.  Not a nice sight to see as you are waiting to race. 

The track took some time to be cleared, but when Athol’s turn came round, the result was nothing else but positive for the team, crowd and track after Jay’s devastating incident.  First run of the meeting and we produced an E.T of 6.169 at 238.51 mph, both better than the Australian records!  This was another one of the teams goals and we were half way to achieving it.  That was one big startline YAHOO, YAHOO, YAHOO!  Lotsa team hugs.  Good Start.

The next day, and we had three qualifying runs available and we wanted to do them all; 4pm, 6pm and 8pm.  Second qualifying run and first one of the day and we go out and produce a 6.179 at 232.87mph – well that backed up our record breaking ET from the night before and set the mph record at the lower speed just achieved.  Great!  But AAAAArgh, Athol had to get off the brakes to pull the bike away from the wall leaving him not enough room to stop and put the front wheel in the sandtrap.  Not what we expected to happen, but no where near as bad as Perth when the entire bike ended up in the trap.  A bit of cleaning needed to be done, not too difficult.

Second run of the day and Athol had to do a bit of tough riding to keep the bike away from the wall but still kept the peddle down, so to speak, and popped out a 6.176 ET at another 238.51mph – exactly the same as our first qualifying pass – how’s that!  Well the records were well and truly stamped by Stud Racing now!  Good one!

The crowd in Sydney were very supportive.  Every time we came back down the return road, we had constant clapping and cheering, even if there was another vehicle running down the track.  We could always spot the “Flying Kiwi” teeshirts in the crowd and any Silver fern flags that were being waved …….(if you are at the track you must come and buy one off us – they really stand out in the stands folks), its amazing how many faces we remember from visitors to our pit area.  It’s a neat feeling.  We have gathered quite a following and we get a lot of visitors to our pit.  That is sooooo awesome.

Anyway, last qualifing run, and Amanda Shepherd’s top fuel car had blown up big time making a big mess in the righthand lane, so all the top bike field had to run solo passes down the left lane.  By this time the track had gone off and was getting slippery, resulting in our last pass of the day being a 6.25 at 232mph.  Still a reasonable pass, but it seemed just a bit Ho Hum after the previous runs.  Never mind. 

Everyone was eager to get back to the pits, to start tinkering, and to get some tucker – it was late (like usual) and there were a few adjustments to be done into the night in servicing the bike.

As Jay wasn’t in the elimination line-up, this ticked one thing off our list of goals for elimination day, we knew we had the Championship.  Not exactly how we wanted to take the win, in fact it was a sad way, we weren’t jubilant. Nevertheless, we still had a goal to achieve, that was to win the meeting.

The next morning arrived with a few things to get done before racing at 11:30am.  The guys were on a mission while Athol went up to collect the Longest Travelled award, and Top Qualifier award.  Half and hour later and we were in staging for the quarter final eliminator round.  There were only seven bikes in the field so, as we were number one qualifier, versuses number eight qualifier, we had a solo pass.  The bike was started and it didn’t sound quite right.  Athol proceeded thru the water trough and then remained seated on the bike while the crew pushed him to within a metre of staging.  Athol toe’ed himself into stage, the bike wasn’t sounding right still, so when the tree came down he move forward slightly and then shut it down.  The Andra official disqualified our team on the pretext that the bike didn’t go into stage under power – Athol’s toes were on the ground.  All bikes stage like that, so a protest was lodged, money paid and the decision was overturned.  In turn a protest in regard to the overturning decision was lodged by another team, and that was disallowed.

Anyway, the fact is we were still in the running and the crew had to put their thinking caps on for a short while to fix the mechanical problem – not a major. 

The semi final time came round rather quickly and we were out up against Phil Parker. The run was uneventful and ran as expected producing a 6.66 ET at 217mph, not fast but sufficient to gain the win and put us into the final.  We felt all okay.

We were looking forward to racing Chris Porter in the final round – they are a great bunch of guys and it was Chris’s first top bike final, he was chuffed.  A kiwi, against an Ozzie, a metric bike against a Harley, like Holden and Ford scenario.  The end result, another win to the Stud Racing team and the fourth Christmas tree trophy for our cabinet!

Well, it was another late night – doing nothing else except TIPPING THE CANS!  What a weekend!

Point of interest

The flight crew on the way home worked out that Athol was travelling at an average of 107metres per second at the end, and that his average acceleration was just over 1G (about 1.05 to 1.1, so how’s that!




Number One Qualifier                                                Top ET (bonus points)

Event Win                                                                   Top MPH (bonus points)

Gained the Sydney ET track record                           Gained the Sydney mph track record

Gained the National ET record                                  Gained the National mph record

Became the 15th quickest bike in the world(ET)        Became the 4th fastest bike in the world(mph)

Became the fastest bike outside the USA

Gained 110 points and wrapped up (WON) the Championship with one round to go                     

Have 5 out of a possible 6 track records (Perth, Sydney and Brisbane)

Have 2 out of 2 ANDRA records

Became the first kiwi team to win an ANDRA championship

Became the first international team to win an ANDRA championship


“Not Bad for a bunch of kiwi’s who make their own engines, no not assemble them, actually hand make from billet our own crankshafts, crankcases, barrels, primary drive and auxillary drives.”





Thanks To


Chris and Virginia Thornton of The Organic Coffee King Pty Ltd



Also Thanks For the Continuing Seasonal Support From:

Stud Welding New Zealand Ltd                                  Jackson Electrical Ltd

HILTI                                                                          APS Tools (Lista)

Gates Racing Ltd                                                        Crystal Colour Graphics Ltd

R B Performance Ltd                                                  Redline Oil

Rocket Industries

AND we would like to welcome  on board Mondiale Freight.



Athol Williams                                    Rider

Roger Bloor                            Crew Chief (RBP Performance Ltd)

Bruce McGonnell                   Number Two Man

Mike Gearing

Trevor Fellows

Daniel Booby

Steve and Margie Paris