Series leader Wayne Newby will take a 94-point lead over LTFR owner-driver Phil Lamattina going into round four of the 2023-24 TFA Championship at the Riverland Nationals on April 6-7. 
Defending champion Harris is third, eight points behind Lamattina.

Newby and RAI teammate Harris are coming off a tough outing at the Perth Westernats last month, where both crashed heavily. 

Newby’s car has since been repaired, while Harris will race the team’s ‘C’ car, driven by NHRA champion Larry Dixon, to victory at the 2013 Nitro Champs meeting at Sydney Dragway.

“We got both cars back from Perth, looked at the damage and what was the best option, knowing we only had four weeks to come up with a solution,” according to Santo Rapisarda Jr. “Wayne’s car sustained less damage. That’s because the car kept going straight when he entered the gravel trap until it got caught up in the safety net. ‘Damo’s’ car lost the front right wheel at the top end, made contact with the wall, and suffered more significant damage. We decided our best choice was to shelve the car and go with the ‘C’ car for this meeting.”

“What happened in Perth is history, and the team is focused on this weekend,” added Santino Rapisarda. “We’ve only raced at the Bend once before. That was at the season’s opening round in October when RAI went 1-2, and Damien took the win. We’re ready to go racing this weekend and hopefully take home a win.”



Two-time champion Phil Lamattina, chasing his first title since 2014, has emerged as a serious contender after finishing runner-up to fellow veteran Phil Read at the Westernats.

“I think some people would be surprised to see we are in second place and knocking on the door,” said Lamattina. We are running consistently and creeping up on the leaders. The car is in a happy place. The plan it to hit the track running in qualifying. No quarter or half-track shut downs, just two full on passes. We need to win to narrow the gap to Damien. There are four rounds remaining before the end of the season. A win this weekend will be a major step in landing the championship.” 

After a sluggish start to the season with two fifth-place finishes, Phil Read returned to the winner’s circle at Perth and is theoretically a chance to take his first Top Fuel title since 2008. However, 122 points behind Newby may be a bridge too far to overcome. Nevertheless, the team will likely play a key role in deciding the 2023-2024 championship winner. 

Owner-driver Peter Xiberras, who missed the Westernats, is returning to the series. Although he is out of contention to win the championship, Xiberras, with a pair of wins in the B-Finals thus far this season, has the pace and talent to disrupt the front-running teams. 

Rising star Kyle Putland is absent from the meeting. The Western Australian privateer is unlikely to race again this season as the series moves to the Eastern States.

The 2023-24 Doorslammer championship has developed into a slugfest between newcomer sensation Russell Taylor and veteran John Zappia. Taylor took the honors on two of the three occasions they have faced off in finals. However, Zappia leads the championship by 17 points with two rounds remaining before the finals at the Winternationals in June.

“I didn’t buy a Doorslammer to chase points or win a championship,” according to Taylor. “I got into the category to drive as fast as possible and set some challenges. I’m serious about racing, and if the team gets some wins along the way, that’s a bonus. To beat John Zappia is no easy feat. He has been the pinnacle of the sport for a long time. To race against ‘Zap’, go fast and take a win here or there is a real dream come true, and hopefully, there will be more to come.”

While the Zappia and Taylor show has dominated racing, the category has been rejuvenated this season with the introduction of Gen Z racers Ronnie Palumbo and Lisa Gregorini.



Third-placed Palumbo, who landed the plum drive with Fabietti Racing this season and defeated Gregorini in the final of the first event, trails Taylor by 52 points, with Gregorini 48 points out in fourth spot.

Pro Stock returns to the series for the first time since the Sydney Nationals in October 2023 with two stand-alone events. 

Victorian Rob Dekert leads the championship by 41 points over veteran Rick Chilton, with a further 31 points to Chris Soldatos. 

The category has been boosted by the entry of Queensland powerhouse team Tremaniac Racing, led by Tyrone Tremayne, who defeated sibling Aaron the last time they raced at the 2023 Winternationals in June.