AFTER seven years of mixed weather and rainouts, the organisers of the Ultimate Burnout Challenge, Clint Ogilvie and Steve Loader, decided to shift the event to Ballarat in search of better weather. It was a risky decision to move further away from Melbourne, but it paid off with a beautiful day and a brilliant turn-out of smokedeprived revheads.
On the burnout side of the equation, 110 cars showed up to destroy tyres, with an almost equal split between blown and naturally aspirated entries. Another 90 pampered rides rolled out for the show ’n’ shine, and almost 5000 people rocked up to check out the day’s action.
This year, UBC spectators were closer to the excitement than ever before. In the past it was almost a matter of ‘pass the binoculars’; the burnout pad was in the middle of the speedway while the spectators were way back at the fence. But at Ballarat Airport, the cars were just a couple of metres away from the concrete walls; close enough for spectators to feel the flames and cop a load of sweet tyre smoke.
The location wasn’t the only change this year – the guys decided to mix things up a bit on the competition side, too. In the past you got one qualifying burnout and that was it; you survived or headed to the trailer on the basis of that one burnout. This year everyone got at least two shots at the pad.
“We’ve got so many guys coming from a long way away – guys from Perth and Townsville and all that
1ST: Andrew Pool 2ND: Jake Myers 3RD: Steve Edsall 4TH: Ross Heasley 5TH: Peter Grmusa 6TH: Andrew Lynch 7TH: Darren Bromage 8TH: Rick Fuller 9TH: Zac Anderson 10TH: Craig Johnson
1ST: Andrew Lynch Toyota Corolla 2ND: Justin McKinnis Holden VX Berlina 3RD: JD Gonzalez Holden Commodore
1ST: Andrew Pool Holden Commodore 2ND: Steve Nogas Chev Camaro 3RD: Brett Niddrie Holden HZ
– so we wanted everyone to get a couple of skids,” co-promoter Steve Loader said. “Everyone got two burnouts, so we took the scores of their best burnout and deleted the other one.”
It looks like Steve’s a fan of the new location, too.
“This was our biggest UBC yet. We had so many cars that it took a while to get everyone signed in. That delayed the start, and a couple of other delays with the track surface meant that we didn’t get done until after midnight. So we’ll make sure we fix that for next year.”
One of the main things they plan to improve is the track itself. The pad started out looking good, with the majority of it being concrete, but trouble started when the old asphalt around the edges started to break up and a large hole opened up on the side of the pad. It was right where a lot of cars completed their tip-ins, so after a couple of cars damaged axles or wheels, Clint and Steve called all the drivers together to present them with some options.
“They all voted to mark the hole with some witches hats and keep going,” Steve said. “But yeah, we’ll never do an asphalt pad again. It’ll all be concrete next year.”
With smoke-show festivities not kicking off until lunchtime, the second burnout session finished after dark. When the scores were tabulated, Andrew Lynch with LYNCHY won the naturally aspirated side of the competition ahead of Justin McKinnis in WIK434 and JD Gonzalez with the XBACON Commodore.
On the blown side of the equation it was Summernats 29 Burnout Master Andrew Pool with IBLOWN in first,
Steve Nogas and KILLA-B second, and Brett Niddrie with the IMMORTAL HZ Holden ute finishing third. With Pool already in the Summernats 30 Masters line-up, the ’Nats golden tickets went to Andrew Lynch and Steve Nogas.
From there the organisers took the top 25 cars and put them into a final shootout for the $10,000 first prize. It was after midnight by the time the presentations were made, but Andrew Pool from Townsville came through for the win again. He was followed by Jake Myers in the SICKO Mustang and Steve Edsall in the ROGUE Commodore.
It was a massive day for the UBC team; probably the most successful they’ve had to date.
“The new location is awesome,” Steve said. “There’s no dust, and there’s asphalt pits and tarred roads all the way to the start line. We’re getting some great feedback from the locals and it should be even better next year.” s