THE Myers freight train rolled into Collie Motorplex for the long weekend in March, and the result was another epic fire and smoke show at the Fordhold Wreckers Gazzanats WA.
With a couple of other major events happening on the same weekend, we didn’t have our usual suspects available to cover Gazzanats, so we chucked the notepad and pencil to deadset West Aussie burnout legend, Matt Purnell.
It was Matt’s first show back after a lengthy break from competing, so he was pretty busy making sure his HJ Holden ute, BLACKOUT, was all good to go. It’s hard enough keeping track of everything when you’re just standing around and watching, so we have to send out a big thank you to Matt for helping us out while still managing to kill tyres and even take home some tinware.
Strap yourself in for the ride while Matt gives us a bit of a rundown on what it takes to be one of the top burnout competitors in the land.
GAZZANATS was my first show back after having a four-month break from competing, so I was feeling excited to be back behind the wheel of BLACKOUT. Pre-event car prep is always a little testing, and never as straightforward as most people think. You would reckon that after all these years of competing I would have a scheduled plan of checks, but all I have are just some notes from the last time I drove the car.
So on the Thursday night before the event I decided to give the car the final start-up checks, trying not to leave it too late as the neighbours don’t always appreciate a blown,
injected big-block rattling their windows at dinner-time!
Great – the left-hand extractor was leaking, making the ute sound like it was misfiring.
Further inspection revealed a two-inch split on the inside of the extractor. This needed repairing or it was definitely going to lead to an engine bay fire.
By the time I finally got the exhaust system and extractor removed it was 9pm, and with the welding repairs done and the header bolted back up by midnight, it was off to bed I went.
Friday morning was a bit of a rush loading the car, but eventually I hit the road and it was a nice drive to Collie heading down South Western Highway.
The Collie burnout pad is different to other pads around Australia, with no run-in and surrounded by huge earthmoving tyres. It’s big, but the gaps between the tyres make it harder to judge the distance and they have caught me out in the past, forcing me to select reverse.
Pushing the car up to skid, I watched the last car before me so I would be aware of any oil or water spills on the pad. When I lined up I reminded myself to hold the brake at the start, then get off the brake and push as far down the side of the pad towards the bar as I could; turning the car around and saluting the bar always gets them going and cheering for you. I always try to push to all four corners of the pad and run up and down along the tyre walls, getting as close as possible – just not too close, as those tyres don’t move much if you hit them!
Having the finals on the Saturday night saw a huge crowd filling the hill and grandstand, while the bar area was absolutely going off.
In the end I managed to bag fourth spot in the Blown-class burnouts, and some minor changes to the tune-up of the ute paid dividends in the Super Skids, where I picked up the win ahead of F-DIS and UNWANTED.
Mick Hamon did double-duty as the tyre changer and he was flat-out all weekend. I myself went through seven sets of tyres – two for the burnout comp and the rest during track time. That’s when you know you’ve had a good weekend!
While the event was held over the March long weekend this year, it is most likely going to be held a little earlier next year, but still with the three-day format, kicking off around lunchtime Friday. It means you have to get organised and plan the day off, but it gives the guys in the Blown class a whole day to get ready, and the added benefit of running in the cool night air. It also means the unintentional fire shows that tend to occur whenever large amounts of methanol, tyre rubber and an ignition source are mixed look even more impressive!
See you next year! s
1ST – Matty Hughes – MON5TA 2ND – Jason Fletcher – RUCKUS 3RD – Grant Martins – RUFFANUFF
1ST – Peter Grmusa – F-DIS 2ND – Matt James – UNWANTED 3RD – Anthony Page – PAGEY
1ST – Xaviera Perkins – PHATPREM 2ND – Tracey Tolver-Banks – HER TOY 2
1ST – Tracey Tolver-Banks – HER TOY 2 2ND – Dale Sprague – SUPERMANG 3RD – Brian Tolver-Banks – HIS TOY 2
1ST – Matt Purnell – BLACKOUT 2ND – Peter Grmusa – F-DIS 3RD – Matt James – UNWANTED