KING OF THE SKIDS

TRENT SMITH RULES THE POWERSKID ROOST IN HIS 1400HP, BLOWN SBC-POWERED TORANA

MARK ARBLASTER

ANYONE who has ever been to Powercruise in Sydney would almost certainly know of Trent Smith and his absolutely killer hatchback Torana. speciality is the powerskids, Powercruise’s signature dish, which he has won 10 times in the past 15 years.

Powerskids are held on the main straight at Sydney Motorsport Park. From a standing start, the objective is to smoke the tyres as far as you can without using the brakes to slow the vehicle. If your speciality is helis in the Macca’s car park on a wet night in a stock V6 Dunnydoor, more than likely this is not an event for you. At a minimum, you need a tough car, big pills and the ability to drive/drift at high speed.

While it has never been exactly measured, Trent’s best powerskid was around 600m!

Even 10 years ago, with a field full of blown and injected big-cube and mega-horsepower cars, Trent could beat the best of them with his 308-powered Torana. That little motor often saw 8600rpm on factory A9L rods with nothing more than a 150-shot from an OZNOS nitrous kit.

These days, Trent can more than hold his own in his hatchback. The old 308 is long gone, replaced by a supercharged 386ci small-block Chevy that is simply brutal.

“Around five years ago I bought a blown SBC that that ended up being junk,” Trent recalls. “I went and saw Aaron from Advanced Performance Machining and we basically used everything from the manifold up. I really didn’t give him much of a brief on the motor; I just told him I wanted 1000hp and left it to him. I just kept dropping money off until it was done and Aaron did the whole job from the build to the tune – and still does.”

When the engine first went on the dyno it made 1080hp. What a difference compared to the old 308! But last year Trent broke a rod, so he’s since made quite a few changes to the original motor combination. It’s a Little M block with a Callies crank, Oliver rods and JE slugs. Heads are Brodix Track II items, while the supercharger has been upgraded to a 14/71 with hat and port nozzles, with a Bird injector and a 110 pump.

THE NEW BLOWER MEANS MORE BOOST, AND THE LITTLE 386 RECENTLY PUNCHED OUT 1436HP ON THE ENGINE DYNO WITH 980LB-FT OF TORQUE

> ARBY CHAT

QUICKEST AUSSIE

WADE Wagstaff has become the world’s quickest Australian radial racer, after running an incredible 3.79@196.47mph in his twin-turbo, Noonan-powered 1957 Chev at Lights Out 10 in the USA in February. “Our plan was to try and run into the 3.80s after qualifying in the top 32 cars, but we managed a 3.79,” Wade said after the event at South Georgia Motorsports Park.

NEW RIDE FOR LEWIS

WOLLONGONG racer Craige Lewis is in the final stages of the build on his new Fox-body Mustang that should comfortably run into the mid sixes. The ex-USA race car has already run into the 4.40s over the eighth, but after seeing the quality of some of the fabrication work when the car arrived, Craige has elected to strip the car, cut the ’cage out and start afresh.

Matt Marsh at Pro Street Industries (PSI) has been steering the rebuild, with a new chrome-moly chassis and funny car-style rollcage, sheet-metal rear end with 40-spline floater, full carbonfibre interior including tubs, RHD steering conversion with a custom RHD carbon dash, and 315 tyres on 14-inch beadlock rims under the rear.

The engine is a fresh Pro Line-built 427ci Windsor combo with a front-mounted ProCharger and full Holley EFI system. Local racer and buddy Tomi Raikko will handle the tuning and set-up.

The car still needs a bunch of work at PSI, including tinning out the boot, mounting the dual ’chutes, rear wing, polycarbonate windows, panels, exhaust, fuel tanks, carbon seats and more.

While it’s too early to predict exactly how quick this car can run, it’s pretty clear that it’s aimed at the bottom four-second zone. It’s set for completion in late 2019.

METAL GURU

IF YOU want to see some serious fabricating skills, check out a guy called Kamakazi on Facebook. Yep, that’s his real name, changed by deed poll a few years back.

What this guy can do with metal is astounding, and his current project is fitting a 1967 Mustang fastback body to 2015 Mustang running gear and interior at OZ Rods in Meadowbrook. So far he has put in over 2000 hours of fabrication on the job.

“This is not your average conversion,” Kamazaki says with considerable understatement. “We are making the impossible happen, fitting this body to a taller, wider and longer vehicle.

“Every part of the car is steel and it is all made from scratch. I can’t go to Bunnings and get a manual on how to do this, as it’s never been done before.

“I reckon I’ve probably got a few months’ work left before we get to paint.” Fortunately for us, a lot of the job has been captured on time-lapse video, so there’s plenty of footage to watch on his page. Check it out!

The new blower means more boost, and the little 386 recently punched out 1436hp on the engine dyno with 980lb-ft of torque.

“Despite the engine upgrade, I don’t have a big budget for my motorsport,” Trent says. “At some stage I will race the car, but for now I just want to do Powercruise-style events, and have done every one in Sydney since they started.

“I run the same tyres all the time; just a 225/60/16 through a nine-inch rear end with 2.86:1 ratio by Jimmy at Speedy Diffs in Mascot. The trans is a BTE Powerglide.

“I give it about 10 per cent throttle out of the hole, which is around 6200rpm, and as I get towards the end of my skid step it up to 7000. The motor makes peak power at 7700, but I never need to turn it that hard.” Any advice for prospective powerskidders?

“Get out there and have some fun, and make sure you hold on!”

JET TAKES OFF

UNLESS you have been living on another planet, you would have heard about Jeremy ‘Jet’ Martin’s incredible recent accomplishments in the USA in his 4000hp, twin-turbo, 526ci 481X-powered VB Commodore. Late last year he had a whirlwind ride to the quarterfinals of the greatest radial event in the world, No Mercy.

“We kept the car here in Sydney for Grudge Kings, which meant we were on a really tight timeline to get it ready once it landed in Savannah, Georgia,” Jeremy says of his rushed preparation for the event. “We literally had two weeks from landing to be racing at No Mercy. Luckily the car was only in customs for one day before it went to Pro Line, where they basically did everything: four-link radial weight package, changed the converter, upgraded the fire system to NHRA standards and fitted an M&M Transmissions shifter.”

THERE WERE 42 OF THE LATEST AND GREATEST AT NO MERCY AND HERE I WAS WITH A THREE-YEAR-OLD CAR AND AN OLDER MOTOR THAT DIDN’T HAVE THE POWER OF THE OTHERS

Once things were sorted, Jet borrowed a dually and trailer and headed to South Georgia Motorsports Park with Josh Ledford, one of the Pro Line guys and tuner for the car, along with a few friends and family.

Before they knew it, it was go time at No Mercy 9.

In the first round, Jet drew Tim Slavens (whose ’69 Camaro became the quickest radial car on the planet in mid-February with a 3.62 pass) and ran a 3.93 to Tim’s 3.94.

The second round saw Jet up against Mark Micke, then the radial world record holder. Jet’s VB defeated Micke’s Malibu with a 3.94 pass. “I had nothing to lose, and Micke blew the tyres off on the startline!” Jet says. In the third round, Jet blasted out a PB of 3.90, but it wasn’t enough to take out Alex Laughlin’s Corvette, which ran an amazing 3.78. Despite bowing out, Jet couldn’t be prouder of his achievements against some of the toughest cars in the world.

“Talk about a tough line-up! We found the event to be very competitive, with such a large amount of high-quality cars,” he says. “There were 42 of the latest and greatest at No Mercy and here I was with a three-year-old car and an older motor that didn’t have the power of the others – and all totally self-funded on wages.

“The car was very popular and I think it was just that we offered something different – a right-hand-drive car from Australia – and we went rounds. People were coming up to us and thanking us for bringing the car over, and the guys from Pro Line were just awesome.”

Incredibly, after No Mercy they took the car to a PDRA event at Darlington, where it clicked off a 3.84!

But despite his great showing in the US, Jet’s taking a break from racing.

“I gotta hang the gloves up for a while,” he laughs. “The missus is pregnant and I’m building a house, so the combo is up for sale and I’m out for two to five years.

“Who knows what’s next; I may go with a water-jacketed motor and do Drag Week.”