LIKE many things in life, size doesn’t always matter when it comes to a successful drag racing event. Take two very different meetings at Queensland’s Willowbank Raceway in June. At the start of the month was the 50th Winternationals. Despite the final day being rained out, Australia’s most prestigious drag race saw the pits bursting with entrants, the stands chock-full of spectators and some outstanding performances on track – including the first-ever 4.4-second pass on Australian soil.
Then, at the end of the month, Adam Reeves from HKTGStuff held his third HK-T-G Holden event at the same track. That’s right; you can enter anything you like at one of Adam’s meetings, just so long as it’s an HK, HT or HG Holden. The meeting attracted 123 examples through the gates in every bodystyle – yep, even a big-booted Brougham! Of these, 70 drivers put their names down to race.
That may not seem like a lot, but the number of entrants isn’t the point of niche events like this – it’s to gather together folks who have the very same obsession and celebrate that joint interest by burning rubber.
Of course, Adam doesn’t want to go broke in the process, so he runs the HK-T-G event in the daytime before an evening test ’n’ tune, which keeps the track-hire costs down.
Like other successful niche events like Warwick’s Six Banger Nats, the HK-T-G day is designed to attract everyone from seasoned racers to first-timers. The classes are simple: Outlaw for cars running quicker than 10.50 seconds, Quick Street for those in the 13 to 10.51-second zone, a Street Class for anything running 13.01 seconds and higher and a Wicked Whitewall class for anyone competing on a whitewall radial.
Winners in each class are decided by the quickest ET and there are also trophies for Best Burnout and Best Wheelstand. Simples!
Luke Kestle took out the Outlaw class with his bad-arse turbo smallblock Chev-powered HG ute dubbed BUMPIN. Luke ran a best of 8.2@165mph, making it the quickest car on the day. The ute is getting better with every outing and will surely slide into the seven-second bracket in the near future.
Scott Skews won the Quick Street Class in his stunning ANARCY HG Monaro, getting right down close to the 10.50-second cut-off with a 10.535@130mph!
And the Street Class? “As it turns out, we only had one entrant in Street Class and he ran quicker than a 13.01, so he ended up in Quick Street,” laughed Adam.
One of the toughest cars at the event was Pete Robins’s blown BADREP HG Belmont from NSW. Pete last raced in 2000 and was keen to get out on the track again. The first run produced a 10.60@117mph, hitting the limiter. On the second run, she went bang.
“It felt strong until the shifter neutralised going into top gear and zinged the engine,” he lamented. “I saw the tacho hit 9000 and found top gear as the engine blew, but I stayed into it as long as I could; I didn’t want to lose my call-out race!”
With oil and coolant blowing all over the windscreen, Pete went through for a 10.7@117mph to take his victory.
“The clean-up crew gave me back a pushrod, half a lifter, a bit of piston skirt and a chunk of block, but the engine failure couldn’t spoil the weekend.”
The Best Burnout award was a no-contest, with Joel Blake’s CRAYZE HG Monaro smoking the other contenders into submission, while the Best Wheelstand gong went to Brett Wills in his 434-cube HT Premier.
Event organiser Adam was stoked with the turnout. “Honestly, we were blown away by the popularity of the event. The fact that guys will come all the way from Sydney and Cairns just to hang out and race speaks volumes.”
He’s already booked Willowbank for 23 June next year. “And we’re looking at holding an event at Sydney Dragway and in Melbourne,” he said.
Street Machine Drag Challenge veteran Dominic Pelle summed up the attraction of days like this.
“Even though it was just for a very specific group of cars, the variety within that is awesome. I’m into the turbo stuff, but it was great seeing – and hearing – the tough aspirated small-block and Holden-powered cars in action. It is such a relaxed day and tops atmosphere – the way the drags should always be. Everyone is having fun and no one is racing for sheep stations.” Baa! s