WHO NEEDS THE BEACH WHEN THE WEATHER IS FINE AND THE CARS ARE KICKING?
D S TH E B EACH WH E N W EATH E R
IT’S BEEN a long time since we’ve had all the classes represented at Calder Park, but Australian drag racing’s ‘Big Go’, the Nationals, returned to Melbourne in early February to thrill thousands of fans.
For many it was the first time they’d sampled the sights, sounds and full-body massage that only a Top Fuel dragster can provide. After the Rapisarda fuel cars made their first full pass down the quarter there were plenty of wide-eyed faces looking around to see if everyone else was feeling what they were feeling.
Unfortunately drag racing’s big split meant there weren’t enough of these thundering monsters for a full Top Fuel field, but most of the other categories were fully subscribed, including Top Alcohol, Top Doorslammer, Supercharged Outlaws and Pro Stock.
There was plenty of rapid sedan action in Super Street and Super Sedan, with more than a few of Melbourne’s tough street brigade laying down some numbers in front of the big crowd and using the event as a T&T for the upcoming APSA meeting.
Hopefully Calder Park can capitalise on the goodwill created at the Nationals and keep the momentum going for lots more quarter-mile action in Australia’s most sports-hungry city.
01: Adam Rogash put on a show at the Nationals, with this impressive wheelstand in the NOSHOW Clubsport.
The rear bumper actually scraped the ground, and it still went 8.23@172mph 02: Up, up and away with Louis Svingos’s wheelstanding VF Valiant hardtop. The bright orange machine runs in Super Stock under B/MS against a 10.02 index 03: Steve Hunt might not have driven his 700hp XW van over from South Australia, but it’s a seriously cool streeter and one of the cleanest-looking Falcon panel vans we’ve seen in a long time 04: For some drag racing-starved Victorians, the Nationals was a great opportunity to test. Frank Marchese ran a bunch of mid-eights at Calder while dialling in the set-up for the upcoming APSA meeting, and scored the Best Engineered Award 05: Mark Drew was wheels-up with his naturally aspirated 434ci barn-find Torana for a best of 9.70@140mph on pump fuel.
But he’s going to the dark side soon, with plans for a twin-turbo 427ci LS 06: Andrew Darby cracked the sevensecond zone in his single-turbo 355 Holden-powered VK Commodore wagon, with a pair of 7.99sec runs 07: All the way down from Sydney, SM Drag Challenge veteran John Kerr broke out in the third round of Super Street by just 0.002sec
FOR MANY IT WAS THE FIRST TIME THEY’D SAMPLED THE SIGHTS, SOUNDS AND FULL-BODY MASSAGE THAT ONLY TOP FUEL CAN PROVIDE
THE Kandos Street Machine & Hot Rod Show used to be one of the few events on during the post-Summernats glow, but these days it has to compete with a bunch of other shows around the country. Nevertheless, the family-friendly vibe at Kandos attracts plenty of loyal entrants and spectators.
This year, John Spinks and his killer LX hatch won Top Entrant overall, with John Trunzo’s Draggin’ Coupe FJ picking up Top Street Machine and Bluey’s Airbourne Eight (SM Hot Rod #14) winning Top Rod.
Kandos always features a few quirky cars, and our favourite of this year’s crop was 16-year-old Brent Battersby’s Mazda ute. If the name sounds familiar, that’s because Brent is the son of 2015 National Burnout Master Brett Battersby with the towering big block-powered BLWNLUX.
The Mazda runs a decidedly smaller motor though, with just an LS1 and 4L60E combination up front. It’s mostly stock, but they’ve gone with a methanol carby and a front-mount distributor drive.
“He’s built it as kind of a rat rod,” proud dad Brett said. “It normally runs no front guards and that was the look he was going for, but Kandos wouldn’t allow that so we had to quickly attach some front guards to get past scrutineering. It looks a little rough and rusty on the outside, but underneath it’s really well built; it’s as good as my HiLux.”
The crazy little Mazda has been built for burnouts, but they’re hoping to do all the events at Bathurst Autofest in March, and despite it running no suspension at all Brett reckons it’s not bad to ride in. “It was a little rough in the grass events at Kandos, but other than that it’s really good,” he said.
“It’s only got about 80mm of ground clearance, which is just enough to get off the pad when it pops both tyres.” Why the front-exit exhaust? That is simply because there wasn’t enough room at the back – and because Brent likes something different! 02
AFTER the insanity that is Summernats, you’d think that everyone would be too exhausted for more burnouts, but nearly 70 cars hit the Sydney Dragway pad on 16 January for the very first Burnout Outlaws event.
“We always knew it was a risk,” promoter Phil Kerjean said, “but we didn’t have a lot of choice with the dates, plus we were hoping to pick up a few of the WA and Queensland cars before they went home.”
That part worked well enough, with a few interstaters backing up for another round of tyre-frying mayhem, but a few days’ rain before the event certainly put a damper on things. A couple of light showers during the day didn’t help either, and kept the crowd numbers down to just a couple thousand punters. “We were pretty lucky actually,” Phil said. “With the weather we had in the lead-up it could have been a lot worse.”
The cars were split into three classes. There was a Street class for mostly stock cars with no engine or driveline swaps allowed, and a Modified class for the #LStheworld cars where engine swaps were encouraged. But you weren’t allowed aftermarket blowers or turbos – only factory forced induction.
For the big boys, there was the Pro class, and Phil had a fairly novel idea for the qualifying order. “We ran in reverse order, so the earlier you got your entry in, the later you ran,” he said. “That meant if you were serious, you got your entry in early.”
Phil was pretty happy with how it all went and he’s looking to do another one later in the year, so keep your eyes open around August or September for more smoke coming from Sydney Dragway. We’ll let you know the dates when they’re confirmed. s