AUSTRALIA was represented strongly at the World Sport Compact Finals in Orlando, Florida. Five Australian racers – Collin Willshire, Kelly Scott Porter, Nikki Hepburn and Archie Kajewski – took part, along with New Zealander Rod Harvey.
Sport Compact drag racing is big in Florida thanks to the strong influence of Puerto Rico, the small US island territory. The fans and racers are as passionate as they come, with brightly coloured shirts representing their favourite race cars and air horns going off in the grandstands. The Australian drivers enjoyed something approaching hero status with the spectators, pausing many times a day for selfies and autographs.
Two world records were set by the Aussies. The first came from Willshire, who piloted his Jett Racing Mitsubishi 4G63-powered Eclipse to a 6.200-second pass during testing before the event – making him the owner of the quickest four-cylinder sedan in the world. The old record of 6.228 by Tekno Toyz Racing’s Nissan 200SX was barely a month old.
Next to set a mark was Scott Porter. His Nissan 350Z, equipped with a VQ35 V6, became the quickest Nissan-powered vehicle in the world with a 6.030, besting the former record of 6.065 held by Puerto Rico’s Lazcano Racing. While Porter had several runs with increments good enough for a fivesecond pass, engine dramas held him back from completing any more full runs.
Race day saw a mixed bag for the assembled teams. Willshire made it through round one with a strong 6.22 pass, but withdrew with some hurt bearings. Porter also took a win light, but like Willshire succumbed in the pits. After barely making the field in the Extreme class, Rod Harvey lost in round one, as did Kajewski. Hepburn was top qualifier in Street Rod on her radial-tyre Toyota 86, but bumped through the beams while staging and copped a surprise first-round exit as a result.
Australian hopes thus largely rested with Bettes, driving the Jett Racing Datsun ute, also powered by a 4G63. After setting a new personal best for the car of 6.94 in testing, the current Australian Top Fuel champion used her skills on the tree to great effect once the racing started.
A bye run saw her through the first round before she claimed a holeshot scalp in the second round, with a 0.008 reaction time getting a 7.04 across the stripe before her opponent’s 6.99.
A 6.99 in the semi-finals pushed Bettes into the final round against Hector Mendez’s Mazda RX-7. After putting a tenth on her opponent at the green light, Bettes had to leaving get out Mendez of the throttle to take when the win. the ute s got loose,
WANT a chance to win either a brand new LSA or LSX engine? Well thanks to Holden, ACDelco and Eagle Auto Parts you can, with their Power & The Passion competition. There are multiple ways to enter, but to nab a bonus free entry, just visit the ACDelco stand at Street Machine Summernats 32! There’s also multiple chances to win a ride in ACDelco’s Pro Slammer Monaro, and an ultimate 2019 Bathurst experience with the Red Bull Holden Racing Team, so get moving! For full details visit ACDelco.com.au/offers.
HUGE congrats to Street Machine snapper Nathan Jacobs and his better half Brooke on the birth of their brand new young fella – Charlie Allan Jacobs. Charlie arrived safe and well at 4:57pm on 24/11/2018, weighing in at 3.38kg. Nathan hasn’t yet got a baby seat anchored to the rear bench of his beloved XB Fairmont, but he’s assured us it’s on his to-do list. Happy cruising to the new and improved Jacobs clan, from everyone at SM.
AH, FEBRUARY. That can only mean our annual Street Machine Summernats report, distilling four days of total awesomeness into its purest form for your enjoyment. Telfo checks out the latest and greatest from SEMA and Boris Viskovic pays tribute to the life and many achievements of the late, great Mario Colalillo. We’ll also chat with Frank and Lou from Dandy Engines and educate ourselves with Dr Tim’s wisdom on engineering braking systems. All this and more when the mag hits the stands, 24 January.