CRANBOURNE racer Michael Braggs made the most of an 800-kilometre round trip by claiming top honours at South Coast Raceway at Portland.
Braggs, in his small-block Chevrolet-powered altered dragster, defeated Stuart McBain in the final at the season-opening meeting.
He clocked 4.8 seconds for the 200-metre journey, having nominated a dial-in of 4.78 seconds. Racers are disqualified if they go quicker than their dial-in.
South Coast Raceway publicity officer Greg Holland said 42 cars chased victory in the feature.
Prizemoney was about $6000 — rather than the $10,000 organisers had hoped for — due to the car count failing to reach 70.
Holland said Braggs, who is a South Coast Raceway member, was racing his dragster for the first time.
“He only bought the car last week, it was the first time he drove it. This is the second car he has bought in the last few months,” he said.
“He won in the first car and he’s gone out and won in the second.”
Almost 80 cars and bikes featured at the meeting — the first at Portland for the season — in the $10,000, super street and modified bike classes.
Casterton rider and Australian champion Gavin Dohnt claimed the modified bike honours aboard his Suzuki GSX-R.
And Portland driver Des Jefferies won super street in his Holden VZ Commodore.
But the highlight of the day was Wayne Talbot attempting to break the track record as part of an exhibition class.
Talbot clocked 4.150 seconds, reaching 282km/h. He fell agonisingly short of John Zappia’s mark of 4.015 seconds.
“He had three or four cracks at it. One pass he ended up crossing the centre white lines and took all the timing blocks out,” Holland said.
“It had everyone up and about keeping an eye on the timing boards to see how close he got. He had a couple of big moments.”
Holland said the successful meeting boded well for the rest of the South Coast Raceway season.
Racing continues with round one of the Aeroflow Sportsman Championship on January 4 and 5.
“We’re already receiving a large amount of entries for that, we’ve got 50-odd entries for that already,” Holland said.
“Bikes and cars that are all keen to come down, from all over the country — Queensland and New South Wales.
“It’s the only round on the eastern side of the country until May.”