South Coast Raceway will ensure 2024 gets off to a brilliant start with its January 6-7 South Coast 660 event to host a fantastic line-up of Aeroflow National Sportsman Championship racers as part of the National Drag Racing Championship (NDRC).
On both two and four wheels, racers will come to the Portland venue from all across the country as they look to fight it out for prestigious Christmas Tree trophies and valuable championship points.
Amongst the line-up will be Modified Bike’s Lucas Neagoe and Competition Bike’s David Willis, who after a big December at the Victorian venue, will have plenty to fight for come January 6 and 7.
Neagoe heads to the South Coast 660 with a fresh South Coast Nationals victory under his belt – his second consecutive national level event win.
Not only did he claim the Christmas Tree for that event, but by being the Modified Bike winner, he was also awarded the prestigious Phil Parker Memorial Trophy.
“To win the Phil Parker Memorial was really special, I was really glad to win that,” Neagoe said.
“I actually won at the Sunset Nationals event at Mildura in September too, so winning at the South Coast Nationals makes it two in a row for me which is no small feat in our bracket.
“Modified Bike is so competitive. I really like that about it, it is proper racing, and it is hard enough to get through round one, let alone to win an event. Most of the competitors are right on their dial-ins and it is hard racing.
“To win two in a row is really great, now here is hoping I can go three in a row at South Coast 660 – I have my fingers crossed for that!” he grinned.
“We are chasing championship points, so to get those wins has been really helpful and another one would be even more so.
“I am really looking forward to getting back to South Coast Raceway. The South Coast Nationals was a really good weekend, there was a good field, a really hard field to beat, and we had a lot of fun which is always good, and I expect more of the same in January.
“Portland and Mildura are actually my favourite tracks. It is always like a holiday going there, they are so relaxed and yet they always run on time as they are so well organised.
“I love it and can’t wait to get back there,” he concluded, while thanking Dean Jamieson and his partner Roselle for all of their support, as well as “all of the volunteers and medical staff at Portland for looking out for us and making sure we are safe.”
In Competition Bike, Whyalla’s David Willis is hoping to go one better at South Coast 660 after taking out the runner-up honours at the venue in December.
“While we didn’t get the big trophy it is always good to go to the final and I am in third in the points now which I am happy about,” Willis said.
“I am really looking forward to getting back to South Coast for the South Coast 660 event in January. It would mean a lot to me to go one better and get the win there.
“Everyone puts a lot of effort into their racing, and I am no different. I do it mostly on my own with no sponsorship, so a win is always a really good feeling showing that the hard work that I do pays off.”
Another good result would also be very valuable for Willis when it comes to his championship aspirations.
“I am always chasing the championship – I was the runner-up to Rob Cassar in Competition Bike in 2019, we were equal on points when the racing was done but Rob had gone one round further in the finale event so he was given the win,” Willis explains.
“It is definitely the next step that I would really like to try and accomplish, it is always in the back of my mind.”
For Willis, racing at South Coast Raceway feels like home.
“I like racing at South Coast Raceway, it is a nice track, the atmosphere is good, the facilities are good, and the people are really friendly,” he said.
“I am from Whyalla in South Australia, and it reminds me a lot of our own Club here. We always try and make the racers feel welcome and South Coast has the same feeling.”
Work is well underway now on Willis’ Kawasaki ZX10R to ensure he has the best chance possible across January 7 and 8.
“The South Coast Nationals was a bit of an up and down weekend for us with a few little issues with my bike, but even so we had a good time, qualified third and then raced through to the final,” he said.
“I got pretty lucky in the first round where the fella I was racing had an issue with his bike, and then in the second round I got a win despite a big wheelstand in the middle of my run which slowed me down a bit, and then in the third round I was up against Gavin Dohnt and he actually took that win, but I was closer to my index so while we were both on two wins I got to go to the final against Joe Khoury.
“Joe is always such a good competitor, very tough, and I congratulate him on the win. Hopefully I can go one better next time against him!”
The South Coast 660 at South Coast Raceway will open the NDRC calendar for 2024 across January 6 and 7, with the racing action to then swiftly continue throughout January with the Festival State Nationals (Dragway at The Bend – 13-14 January) and the Australia Day Nationals (Sydney Dragway – 26-27 January).