IF HIGH-OCTANE shenanigans are your thing (and if they’re not, you’re probably reading the wrong mag), Gazzanats WA is one of the most epic weekends on the calendar.
This year, promoters Gary and Deby Myers extended the twoday event at Collie Motorplex by another half a day, and it turned out to be a successful move. While the event revolves around the burnout competition, cruising is also an integral part of the weekend, so giving entrants even more track time was a no-brainer. After all, who wouldn’t want a few extra hours to take their mates for a lap and burn some rubber?
The cruising action kicked off Friday afternoon, with family-friendly cruise sessions alternating with stints reserved for more spirited beasts. Luke Birss put a few kays on his new blown combo in PRO HQ, while Jason Rapoff threw his PARALINES Commodore around the track like a man possessed – all the more impressive since he does it all with hand controls! Some of the more unusual stuff to hit the track included a Chev-powered Bedford van, Colin Byrne’s Holden shuttle van, and even a Toyota-powered VK Commodore.
The show ’n’ shine was a highlight this year, with plenty of high-quality rides on display. Tim Harwood’s 434-powered HK was a stand-out, taking out King of Show ’n’ Shine, and Best Paint for its perfect black duco. Russell Taylor won Top Engineered with his STOCK HK – and it is stock from the firewall back, though an 8/71-blown and injected 540ci Chev now sits where the tired old 186 once lived. Dennis Harley’s HG GTS Monaro grabbed Top Undercarriage; it’s had the entire floorpan cut out and repaired and detailed to perfection. The HG’s Graphite paint and custom-made 17-inch Center Lines certainly drew plenty of attention when it was parked up, and it looked simply
stunning in the evening light when Dennis was out cruising. Brad Durtanovich won Best American with his ’57 210 Chev, and to prove it is no trailer queen he even took it out on the pad for a few doughnuts.
The burnout pad was indeed the place to be when the cars weren’t circulating around the Collie racetrack, and what a show the punters got this year! With two Golden Tickets for the Street Machine Summernats 30 Burnout Masters up for grabs, and a handful of eastern-staters over for the weekend, the competition was fierce.
Jay Bloss brought his GEMWAR Gemini over from Victoria, and with its metallic purple paintwork and blown LS it commanded attention as he threw it across the pad.
Peter Grmusa had his ATRISK XR Falcon out to play, and honestly, there are no words to describe this thing. The 16/71-blown and injected 702ci Chev (yes, you read that right) makes an estimated 2000hp, and I’m pretty sure that if I wasn’t wearing earplugs I wouldn’t have eardrums anymore. The noise and smoke that Pete’s XR made on the pad was just insane, and he was rewarded with first place in the Blown category. Since he had already won a Golden Ticket earlier in the year, it was handed to the next in line, local legend Justen Brown.
It wasn’t all smooth sailing for Justen though; he smashed a header pipe unloading his STRUGLIN VE Commodore wagon, necessitating an emergency midnight repair. Then during qualifying he had a huge
tyre fire, which led to an exhaust swap for the Saturday night finals.
Darren Green had a successful weekend in LX383, finishing third in the Blown-class skids, winning Awesome Super Skid and being crowned King of Show ’n’ Go Champion.
In the Naturally Aspirated class, Jono Kelly flogged the living daylights out of his 3FIVE5 VK Commodore, proving unequivocally that you don’t have to be blown to be known. Jordan Scott won the six-cylinder burnouts, as well as placing fifth in the N/A class in his 30PSI2FRY Barra-powered Mustang. Colin Byrne came away with the atmo class win though, with an impressive skid in his L98- powered Holden Shuttle van, winning the second Summernats Burnout Masters Golden Ticket.
Debs Benedetto showed the guys how it’s done, taking out Best Chicks’ Skid with a solid display in ANDROMEDA, her efforts also being rewarded with the Iron Maiden trophy.
There were plenty of other burnout highlights though, even if they didn’t figure at the pointy end.
Jarred Fiorenza’s BIG ITALY Falcon ute was a crowd favourite, but the blower belt just didn’t want to stay on the supercharged crossflow during his finals attempt.
Always the showman, Jason Fletcher put on an entertaining display in his LS2-powered Patrol, RUCKUS, complete with Fordhold flags, stubby holders, and of course his signature handstand at the end of his skid.
Sindy Kent brought the noise in her bright pink Chev-powered HiLux, but unfortunately the wheels fell off during her skid – literally!
Although not on the burnout pad, one of the most exciting cars
to watch over the weekend was Ben Mitchell’s supercharged LS-powered Corolla. He took to the track with gusto during the drift demos, throwing the short-wheelbase Corolla around with such speed and precision he made it look easy.
All in all, the quality of vehicles present at this year’s Gazzanats really was impressive, and with plenty of Australia’s toughest machinery on show, more track time and a fantastic atmosphere, there really is no excuse not to get down to Collie to have a look.
My only gripe for the entire weekend: I made the mistake of wearing a white shirt on the first day. s