THE Boostane Outlaw classes at Street Machine Drag Challenge Weekend are for racers who run on slick tyres, or radials greater in width than 275. There were some quality entries this time around, including two Drag Challenge veterans who sealed the wins in their respective classes.
Cubes are king in Outlaw Aspirated, and Drag Challenge regular Stephen Micallef has plenty of ’em – his HQ One Tonner packs a mental 632ci big-block Chev. Steve is the proprietor of Shift Right Automatics, and at past events he’s run a heavily modified GM 4L85 four-speed, but went back to a Turbo 400 three-speed for Drag Challenge Weekend. “I thought being a shorter event I’d do that to try and get some better numbers out of the car, but it was the biggest mistake and I wish I had left the four-speed in it,” he admitted.
Stephen had his fair share of battles at Drag Challenge Weekend, including an engine bay fire at a mandatory stop. “The car had some issues with the fuel boiling in the carby and the needle and seat were sticking, so it started to pump fuel out and I didn’t notice,” he said. “I went to start it and it backfired and the engine bay caught on fire. I got onto it pretty quickly and blew it out with the extinguisher; then I cleaned it up and away we went. On Day Three we had a few ignition issues, but we sorted them out. Then when I went back out the oil light came on, but I found the gauge and the line got hurt in the fire. The motor is still happy.”
Even happier is Stephen himself, coming away with the win in Outlaw Aspirated for the third time at a Drag Challenge event. He went 9.2 with a pedal on Day One, then battled suspension issues at Warwick, where he pulled off one of the ballsiest drive jobs of the week. “Yeah, I was a bit panicky after that pass to be honest!” Stephen laughed. “Everyone said I should have got out of it, but I’m not that type of person.”
A 9.4 on the final day back at Willowbank was enough to seal the deal, edging out Rahim Tarr’s positively evil-looking Falcon ute by a cumulative 1.9 seconds to take the class win.
Boostane Outlaw Blown saw two nitrous small block-powered entries going head-to-head, with Noel Inman’s crazy wheelstanding ’22 Ford battling for the win with Greg Mason’s El Camino. Greg fought fuel system dramas all week and never really got the opportunity to make a clean nitrous pass, while Noel’s hot rod was doing work all weekend, with no dramas save for spitting a couple of belts at the track on the final day.
Noel’s focus was on having fun and doing wheelies for the crowd, with his little 302 singing a sweet tune as he continued to rack up passes across the weekend. He stopped to help some fellow competitors en route to Warwick, and so was late arriving at the track and only handed in his timeslip in the dying moments of Day Two competition. Otherwise, it was a low-stress run to the flag for what was the oldest car at the event by literally decades. Inman ended up edging out Mason for the class win by a safe margin of just over two seconds, and picked up the Longest Distance Travelled award in the process.
Interestingly, Tanya Thompson was forced to withdraw from Outlaw Blown competition on Day Two due to circumstances beyond her control, but the car made appearances at Warwick and Willowbank and continued to lay down passes regardless. Had her wild VH Commodore’s times been considered official, she would have decimated the competition in Outlaw Blown by over five-and-a-half seconds!