AS WE PUT this mag to bed, entries were zooming in for the third Street Machine Drag Challenge. The floodgates had only been open a few days, but we already had 70 paid-up entries! Not bad, considering we had 18 entries for our first run and 50 for 2015. There are some big names amongst the newcomers too, including George Haddad, Jamie Farmer and Jake Edwards. We have a cap of 100 entries, but it looks like this may blow out a little. We’d love to have as many competitors as Hot Rod Drag Week – they got 400 entries in 11 minutes – but we need to make sure we can give every entrant a good shot at running their best number at every track.
And speaking of tracks, we are back in Victoria again this year, at Calder, Portland, Mildura, Heathcote and back to Calder. We would have loved to include the magnificent new Swan Hill venue, but they aren’t quite up and running. The rules remain the same – entrants have to race at five tracks, make their way between each track under their own steam and hand in their best timeslip from each. Break down on the highway and need to call a tow truck? You’re out! It is the ultimate test for Aussie street cars, to see who can find that elusive balance between outright speed and streetable reliability.
Classes are simple, with Radial Aspirated and Blown for those running 275-or-smaller radial tyres, and Outlaw Aspirated and Blown for those running anything else, including slicks. Aside from that, entrants can run what they brung and hope they brung enough! While masses of power is certainly critical at the pointy end of the field, it is important to remember that most of the tracks we race on aren’t as smooth as Willowbank or Sydney Dragway – getting power down is just as vital as making it.
As well as the heads-up classes, there is a DYO class for those that just want to have a whole bunch of fun, while putting their street car to the ultimate test. DYO veteran John Kerr will be back in his Mercury, and seems keen to make life really hard for himself – his plan is to race an ANDRA meeting in Mildura, do Drag Challenge and then compete in the APSA meet at Calder the day after! That’s three events in just over a week!
John’s zeal for his sport is pretty much emblematic of what Drag Challenge is all about. Sure, competition is super-serious for outright honours, but what has stood out from the first two events was the fun and camaraderie. Finishing Drag Challenge in any fast car – especially a chrome-bumper classic – is tough, and that shared experience has created some very strong friendships amongst people from some very different backgrounds.
It is a real blast to be a part of, and I have to thank Street Machine’s Scott Taylor for steering the ship, the tireless track staff, and our sponsors Turbosmart and Haltech for their ongoing support. s