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Robin Judd misses golden opportunity

A shock first round loss at the recent 39th annual Goldenstates Title at the Perth Motorplex has seen Robin Judd lose his lead in the (Australian National Drag Racing Association) ANDRA Pro Series Top Doorslammer championship.   







Judd was looking to win back-to-back Top Doorslammer events after winning the Australian Nationals at Sydney Dragway in September and, for the second year in a row, the Nationals-Goldenstates double.

Judd started his Goldenstates title defense, posting the quickest and fastest pass for the event in the first qualifying session, 5.845 seconds at 245.23mph (394.57km/h), early on the Friday (December 3) evening. The time was his fifth quickest-ever pass.

With the second and third qualifying sessions run in cooler than expected conditions, Judd’s William Buck ’59 Studebaker had trouble hooking up to the track.

Judd failed to get in a clean pass in either of the two remaining sessions. In the second session, he crossed the centerline after losing traction, narrowly missing Murray O’Connor, who also had handling problems in the other lane. 

“The Kwinana Motorplex track is normally a good racing surface. However, it was recently scraped and ground so is still a bit green. I expect it (the track) will get better as the season progresses,” Judd said. 

“We were right on the edge running the 5.84sec (in the first session). It just happened to be the right setup for the conditions at that time with the car on the brink of tire shake. The data and TV footage confirm I feathered the throttle twice in low gear. In the next two sessions we simply overpowered the track.”   

The final qualifying order saw Judd (5.845/245.23) top the eight-car field, followed by arch-rivals, John Zappia (5.924/243.24) and Maurice Fabietti (5.969/238.72), then Mark Belleri (5.994/234.98).

For top qualifying, Judd picked-up a $1000 check courtesy of Perth-based Pro Auto.

In the first round elimination (Saturday, December 4), Judd (6.115/241.93) lost to Perth racer, Daniel Gregorini (6.140/236.84) after Gregorini employed what many onlookers described as questionable tactics on the start line. Despite running a slower time, Gregorini won on a holeshot, having the quicker reaction time.

“It was a terrible run all-round. After a slow start I was behind, but hauling in Gregorini. I felt a bit of tire shake and pedaled to gain traction, but lost a little more time doing so. I was gaining on him again when his car moved over towards me, nearly crossing the centre line.

“I was momentarily distracted and accidentally hung on to second (gear) a little too long. After I hit top (gear) I was starting to overtake him again, but just ran out of track.”

After the race, Judd was critical of the highly controversial ANDRA rule that allows 20 seconds for the last racer to move from pre-stage to full-stage. In the USA, Pro Racers (Group One) are allowed seven seconds.

“In pre-stage, racers push their vehicles up to a high rpm to maximize acceleration at launch. This heats up the clutch quickly and puts strain on the motor, so minimizing the time in full-stage at high rpm is critical. Despite the ANDRA rule (brought about mostly by non-supercharged Group Two racers lobbying ANDRA) being in place, there is an understanding amongst Group One racers that they do not deliberately hold the other racer in full-stage at high rpm for any longer than is necessary,” Judd said.    

“I was dirty for allowing myself to be put in a position where I could be hung out on the start line. It is a technically legal tactic, not practiced in Group One because these (supercharged Doorslammer) cars cannot be held for 20 seconds at five or six thousand rpm without hurting something. I won’t let that happen again.”    

Judd’s first round loss meant he missed an opportunity to capitalize on his championship points lead.

“I should have done better, but now I have to fight to regain the championship points lead,” Judd said. 

Belleri (6.009/230.09) beat Gregorini (6.422/233.76) in the semi final. Belleri (6.109/235.60) then went on to defeat Zappia (6.299/221.67) in the final. 

With Perth championship events carrying 50 percent bonus points, Judd picked-up the maximum 15 points for top Elapsed Time and Speed and 12 points for top qualifying.

In the championship series race, Judd is in second place with 200 points, behind Belleri (227pts) and ahead of Fabietti (186pts) and Zappia (151pts).







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