WHEN it comes to street car events, Tunnel Vision’s King Of The Street is one of the most anticipated – at least in Victoria. Over the past four events, KOTS has remained true to its mission to bring street-style racing to a safe and legal environment, with the aim of determining who has the quickest street car around.
The rules are pretty simple: The event is for road-registered cars in street trim, including full exhaust to the diff, and running on DOTapproved tyres. The racing is done heads-up style – first one across the line wins and loser is out of the comp. Last year’s event at Heathcote Park Raceway saw Frank Marchese’s seven-second Dandy Engines-built XW Falcon take the win for the second time in a row, while Jason Kenny won the first KOTS with his VN Commodore.
This year we were at Ballarat Airport, under the auspices of the Ballarat Drag Racing Club. While the event was going to run no-prep, it was decided to give the first 60 feet of concrete a light spray in the morning for safety reasons.
Even so, it was nothing like the kind of full-prep track you’d find at a normal meeting, and that’s the point. KOTS is meant to be challenging for the drivers and entertaining for the spectators. Cars were still blazing tyres on the startline, and once they hit the asphalt and the painted runway markers, it became a case of: Hang on and hope it sticks! As more rubber was laid down throughout the day and competitors figured out their tunes, cars got quicker with every pass.
The eighth-mile distance also helps equalise performances between blown and aspirated cars – particularly important as all the cars compete in a single class at KOTS. With no times recorded to establish seeding, competitor match-ups were determined by drawing balls marked with each entrant number out of a bucket at the start of each round.
Eventually 41 cars were whittled down to just two: Brendan Cherry’s twin-turbo Monaro and Jason Ruby’s all-wheel-drive RB-powered Nissan Silvia.
The Silvia’s all-paw traction had made it hard to beat off the line all day, and with a big-boost Precision 76/75 turbo on board, it had the legs in the top end to pull away from the rest of the pack.
Brendan Cherry’s twin-turbo big block-powered Monaro, on the other hand, came strong in the finals. From skating all over the track during practice to hooking up surprisingly well for a 1000rwhp car on 255 tyres in the comp rounds, Cherry had the thing sorted – impressive considering the car’s new rear end was finished the day before the event and hadn’t even been painted. Still, once the 572ci BBC got the twin BorgWarner S480 turbos pumping in the top end, the tyres had a hard time sticking to the unprepped track.
You couldn’t have asked for two more different cars than these for the final, and boy, the race for the $4000 first prize was close!
Surprisingly, Brendan managed to get out of the hole ahead of the Nissan, and then it was neck-and-neck all the way down the strip. Less than 100 feet from the finish, the Monaro really came on song and started blazing tyres, and that’s when the Silvia flew straight past for the win. Epic!
Both Brendan and Jason had a killer time at the event and were happy win or lose. Both cars were relatively new builds, so the guys had no idea they’d get as far as they did against guys like Luke Foley, Jason Ghiller and George Chalikouras in their tried-and-tested cars.
“We’re working on locking it in again at Ballarat Airport sometime during March next year,” said King Of The Street co-organiser John Colaidis. “We’ve had a lot of interest already, but we’d like to keep it to under 100 cars so everyone gets plenty of track time.”
It sounds like the 2018 event will be bigger and better than ever, so if you’ve got a hot genuine street car, what’s your excuse? s