PremiAir Racing has dominated the 2021 Gulf Western Oil Winternationals at Willowbank Raceway, claiming the 400 Thunder Top Fuel Championship and the event’s Top Fuel trophy while rewriting the national 400 Thunder Top Fuel ET record and the track record.
The impressive performance delivers a maiden national title and Winternationals win for the team, and heartily expands an accomplishment-list that already included track records at Sydney Dragway, the Perth Motorplex and event wins at Sydney, Perth and Willowbank.
The weekend got off to a good start for the team with a personal best (at the time) 60-foot ET in their first qualifying run, before Saturday’s opening race saw them run what was the quickest Top Fuel pass in Australian history over the 1000-foot distance with a 3.767 second effort at 322.42 miles per hour, despite a red light.
In the next round, held on Sunday morning, the team bettered that marker even further with a 3.742 second pass at 325.22 miles per hour to officially rewrite the national record books while clinching the race win.
Two more passes beckoned for Sunday afternoon, with the penultimate race of the championship fight seeing the PremiAir Hire Top Fuel dragster lose a blower belt at half-track to set up a ‘winner takes all’ final against nearest title rival and two-time champion, Phil Lamattina.
The team made the most of the opportunity, returning with a vengeance to take a convincing final race win and the championship over Lamattina with a 3.76 second performance at dusk in front of a packed crowd.
“After Saturday night’s effort where we ran the quickest pass in Australia but I red lit, I really thought I had thrown the whole thing away to be honest and I didn’t get a lot of sleep that night!” Xiberras confessed.
“But here we are, we ended up in the final and to actually pull this off is what dreams are made of. I just can’t believe it.
“My crew, Timmy, Benny and the boys, they are the unsung heroes, the drivers seem to get all the credit, but it has to go to them. We were here till midnight on Saturday night just making sure everything was perfect and then we were back on Sunday morning at 6.30am to resume preparations – their commitment and their drive is just unbelievable.
“I also want to make a big mention of my wife and my kids – they are my rock and if it wasn’t for their support, I wouldn’t be here and I hope I have made them proud, I love them all to death.
“Of course, I also recognise our amazing sponsors, Rhino FSD, PremiAir Hire and especially Gulf Western Oil who are also the naming rights sponsor of the Winternationals – it is great to be able to do this for them at their event.
“I also want to thank Willowbank Raceway and 400 Thunder, and the other Top Fuel teams here this weekend – Jim Read Racing and Lamattina Top Fuel Racing who pushed and pushed, there were literally mere points between us and it was an absolute fight right to the end.
“I am just so grateful to everyone that has been involved in this journey and we are going to be celebrating this one for a long time.”
PremiAir Hire Racing Team Manager, Tim Adams, echoed Xiberras’ comments.
“We are so proud of our entire team, everyone dug so deep this weekend and there was absolutely nothing left on the table,” Adams said.
“It was getting so cold while we waited to commence the final and we were a little worried we might run into some shake as a result, but in the end, it was just perfect and here we are as the national champions, the event winner, the new national record holder, and the new track record holder – it doesn’t get much better than that!
“Thank you to everyone who has supported us in our journey over what has been a hectic and drawn-out season for all involved – we hope we have done you proud with this result!”