LIONSí DEN

WE HIGH-TAIL IT TO HEATHCOTE PARK RACEWAY TO SEE SOME OF GM-HíS BEST OFFERINGS HIT THE STRIP AT THE 2019 TUFF MOUNTS HOLDEN NATIONALS

STORY KIAN HEAGNEY

WHEN the April sun is shining, there isnít a cloud in the sky, and the Heathcote Park Raceway pits are filled to the brim with some of GMís best and baddest cars, you know the Holden Nationals are town. Now in its fourth consecutive Tuff Mounts Holden Nationals has become one of the greatest single-make car events in the country, and the 2019 outing broke records both on and off track.

Todd Foley is the Holden Nats mastermind and, after selling out all 175 entries in just five days, he knew it was going to be a cracker. ďI knew weíd get plenty of support, as people were busting my balls for the entry for ages, he said. ďWe opened entries on a Monday and they were sold by that Saturday; last year it took two months to sell out the same amount of spots.

CAMERON JONESíS EIGHT-SECOND HQ UTE GOT AROUND TROY LEISHMANíS BLOWN VZ SSZ SEDAN IN THE BOOSTED LS FINAL

The event has exploded in popularity in recent years, with many competitors hailing the quality of racing as a major drawcard. The principle is quite simple: the event is open to Holdens (obviously), but also other makes running Holden or Chev powerplants. There are four different classes: Holden Aspirated, Holden Boosted, LS Boosted and Outlaw. All the racing is dial-in, with competitors getting three qualifying runs to set their desired times before eliminations start. What this means is that a race can boil down to an eight-second car chasing down a 10-second car, with a two-second handicap. The pressure to not break out of your dial-in is huge, making it a tightrope exercise in both speed and self-control.

For what is ostensibly a one-make event, the variety of cars in the lanes this year was vast, from a VS Commodore ute hiding a turbo Ford Barra six under the bonnet, an HB Torana (a rare sight these days!), and even a few L67 V6s making their claim amongst the V8 boys.

The Holden Aspirated class was where you found heaps of angry old-school muscle, with plenty of ear-bashing V8 thunder. Dom DíAgostino won the class this year in his nine-second, 690hp LX Torana hatch, Caine Reed jumped the gun in his HB Torana and red-lighted in the final.

With the newfound interest in turbo iron lions, along with RB-powered VLs, the Boosted Holden class was also a hotbed of variety and action. One minute an RB-powered kebab machine came screaming down the track at full boost, the next an old-school Holden V8 being gassed to the hilt with nitrous. At the end of play, Paul Surkitt took out the class win in his 355-powered LJ Torry, beating Chris shootout. Threlfall inscribed class trophy with his UC Torana, the Boosted LS class were tail-lights of Cameron Jonesís ute the end the day. The Quey is a freshly completed package for completed around Leishmanís blown VZ SSZ in the final.

01: Holden Nats wasnít a pushrod-dominated affair, with plenty of RB-powered VLs flying the flag for the turbo six guys. A delicious example of that was Steven Janevís VL SL, running a SOHC RB30 thatís had the full JPC treatment. That meant over 1100hp of screaming RB fury, and a best run of 8.84@168mph for the dayís racing

02: The staging lanes werenít just a minefield of blown LS cars; Brendan Cherry represented the big-block Chev boys in his VL Calais. He encountered a few dramas during testing with the 1400hp, twin-turbo 572ci Merlin donk, before going out and running two 8.3sec passes, at 159mph and 173mph respectively

03: Paul Surkitt took home the cherries in the Boosted Holden class, his LJ Torana running a best of 10.12@137mph. The magic mill is a Flowcraft Engines 355ci Holden, fed with a 150hp shot of happy gas to make 450rwhp. While he previously raced at Holden Nats in 2017, 2019 was Paulís first crack with the new mill and it worked wonders

04: Lee Nardellaís Torana was one of the more budgetfriendly examples hitting the strip. His combo consisted of a stock-bottom-end LS1, re-tuned factory LS1 ECU and flipped LS1 manifolds. With some basic head work, it also sports a GT42 Chinese turbo, cranking out 640rwhp. He made it all the way through to the semi-finals of the Boosted LS class, running a best of 9.6@147mph

05: Ryan Holzís stunning 2JZ-powered LC Torana (SM, Feb í19) fittingly took home the Best Presented award at Holden Nats. This isnít just pretty show car though, travelling all the way down from Queensland to lay down three 8.3sec passes

01: Luke Foley was in fine form, consistently running low 8s to put down the quickest time of the weekend and the quickest 275 radial pass for the second year in a row. Unfortunately he broke out of his dial-in, which ended his day prematurely

THE HOLDEN NATS HAS BECOME ONE OF THE GREATEST SINGLE-MAKE CAR EVENTS IN THE COUNTRY

Jason Giortsiosís VS Senator is missing its iron lion heart, replaced with a built L98 monster. The mill has been given a birthday with a forged bottom end, ported heads, and an LSA blower. Running 14psi, it makes over 690hp, with a PB of 9.90@145mph recorded during Friday-night testing

THE PRESSURE A TIGHTROPE TO NOT EXERCISE BREAK IN OUT BOTH OF YOUR SPEED DIAL-IN AND SELF-CONTROL IS HUGE, MAKING IT

Todd Foley reckoned this yearís Holden Nats was a roaring success and was stoked with both the quality of racing and the ďThis year was probably our best said. ďA record number of spectators gate to see!Ē

While Todd whatís next in 2020, that the and Holden we canít Nationals wait. s will continue to grow, and we canít wait.