Aussie Rivals Drags 2021

It was a classic Ford versus Holden showdown at Willowbank for the Aussie Rivals Drag Day

Photographers: Dave Reid

SATURDAY at Willowbank Raceway saw the second running of the Ford versus Holden Aussie Rivals Drag Day, with HK-HG Holdens and XR-XY Falcons duking it out in five classes for top honours.

Luke Kestle from Motorfab is the organiser of Aussie Rivals, rebirthing the HK-HT-HG Holden Nationals drag event and turning it into the Ford versus Holden affair to include XR-XY Falcons.

“We weren’t super picky about the cars this year, and admittedly a few HQs and Torana’s and even Valiant’s did sneak through in the entries,” laughed Luke. “It’s more about that ’68-’73 era of Ford and Holden cars, which is probably what we’ll allow in the rules for next year’s event.”

The 50 entrants were divided up into five classes. Tough Street and Real Street were the two most popular, Tough Street being for aspo V8s that run 11.49 or faster, while Real Street was for aspo V8s slower than 11.50. Other classes included White Wall, requiring non-drag tyres in 215 or narrower, as well as a Six Cylinder class and the Outlaw Class where anything goes.

The racing format was super simple, all entrants were given an open track to try and run their best times. Then two fastest cars from each class were then pitted against each other in a heads up final.

The full list of class winners is below, including Michael Arnold who went back to back from 2019 by winning both the Outlaw class and the Grand Champion award for being the quickest car of the event, as well as Andrew Valentine who took home the True Aussie Rival trophy as Luke’s choice for the day.

It was a rinse and repeat of last year when Shane Clayton nailed Real Street once again over Matt Daly, while Brett Mills came up top trumps in Tough Street.

Luke was also running his own HK Monaro at the event, which he has been building on his Motor Fab YouTube channel as well as a video series on the mad two week thrash on Michael Gibsons’s 302-powered TC Cortina to get it ready for the event.

“The Monaro ran an 11.1 straight off of the trailer, but before I got a chance to use the bottle it I think I destroyed the converter in a burnout,” said Luke. “The Cortina also had an issue too. Being a car we slapped together so quickly, there was a vacuum issue with the C4 ‘box, so we had no top gear meaning it was very slow,” he laughed.

The event was received really well by entrants and fans, and Luke is already planning next years Aussie Rivals. “We had a solid amount of entrants and a lot of spectators which surprised me,” said Luke. “I think for next year we will just open it up to Holden and Fords from that ’68-‘73 era, and I’ll probably have either a class or award for the stick shift guys as well,” he said.

“The aim of the event isn’t to just see all the big turbo bangers out there running big numbers,” said Luke. “It’s about having everyone from experienced racers to first timers out there having a crack, that’s the kind of vibe I’m after.”

Aussie Rivals Award List

  • Six Cylinder
  • Winner: Trevor Owen
  • Runner up: Mal McBride
  • Whitewall
  • Winner: Steve Dow
  • Runner up: Russell Sticklen
  • Real Street
  • Winner: Shayne Clayton
  • Runner up: Matt Daly
  • Tough Street
  • Winner: Brett Wills
  • Runner up: Trevor King
  • Outlaw
  • Winner: Michael Arnold
  • Runner up: Andrew Valentine
  • Grand Champion
  • Michael Arnold
  • Track Side Trimming Promoters Choice
  • Mick Sheather
  • True Aussie Rival Trophy
  • Andrew Valentine