Ipswich drag racer Luke Crowley.
Ipswich drag racer Luke Crowley.

Ipswich record-breaker eyes top Willowbank conditions

MOTORSPORT: Ipswich competitor Luke Crowley is looking to smash more records at next month's Gulf Western Oil Winternationals after recently making drag racing history.

Crowley recorded the first six second run ever on a Pro Bike in Australia at Sydney Dragway earlier this month, with his 6.903 second blast breaking new ground for the class.

An 'aha moment' with clutch settings helped the Queenslander ride to the super-quick time.

"That was some of my best riding," he said. "On the 6.90 pass, I hit every shift point and I finally had the bike do every-thing right. For a time I thought I had lost the touch of riding, but when everything goes right they are easy.

"We changed the air gap in the engine so the bike now drives off the line quicker. We have more control over it."

With the Gulf Western Oil Winternationals at Willowbank Raceway from June 6-9 providing ideal racing conditions thanks to the cool air, Crowley is confident he can go even quicker over the quarter mile (402m) strip and set a new Pro Bike record.

"With the data we acquired from the pass we can see improvements we can make," Crowley said.

"If we can go quicker early in the run, which the numbers say we should, I believe it has got a low 6.8 second time in it - so long as we can get the dry winter air conditions."

Pro Bike has been getting much attention ahead of the Winternationals thanks to renewed competitiveness and the impending arrival of the USA's Katie Sullivan, who will be among the 10 riders searching for victory at Willowbank Raceway.

Crowley said the quality of the field, the strength of the equipment and the mix of experience of the riders will make for unpredictable results.

"This will be one of the better quality Pro Bike fields ever seen in Australia," he said.

"This will be a quick field and you will see a few upsets. There are riders coming back with excellent bikes, but who haven't raced in a while, while others come in very race ready.

"Then you have Katie coming, and she will have the same engine as me, tuned by Rhett Lougheed who set records here a few years ago. Rhett and I have good banter about who can tune the motors better so it will be interesting to see what we do on the same track.

"One thing about the Gulf Western Oil Winternationals is that the track will be like nothing Katie has raced on before.

"The NHRA has started prepping their tracks less, whereas Willowbank will have a killer start line. But Rhett is a smart man and Katie can ride so I can't see why they won't be successful."

Tickets for the Gulf Western Oil Winternationals are available online at www.willowbank raceway.com.au, or at the gate.