The epic tale of Drag Challenge 2022/23

After a three-year lay-off, the full five-day Drag Challenge finally returned, with nearly 140 entrants subjecting their cars to the ultimate drag-and-drive odyssey

Photographers: Chris Thorogood, Michelle Porobic, Noah Thorley

Drag Challenge 2022/23

> Day One
> Day Two
> Day Three
> Day Four
> Day Five
> Results & awards

Yes, it finally happened. After more than two years of delays thanks to COVID and massive Victorian flooding, Drag Challenge 2022-23 finally kicked off on Monday 30 January. Some 139 entrants rolled through Heathcote Park Raceway on scrutineering day, locking up their transport vehicles, hooking on trailers and stickering up their cars in readiness for a week of drag-and-drive glory.

The more-than-three-year gap between our last five-day DC event meant there were plenty of newbies (both people and cars) turning out, alongside a strong roster of seasoned veterans hoping to take home the choccies.

Big contenders included DC 2019 champion Harry Haig and the Haulass Garage boys, back in the mighty POP666 HQ following a more relaxed Drag Challenge Weekend ’22 campaign in their HG; and Luke Foley, hungry for a maiden win in his seven-second VH Commodore.

Dan Szabolics, who holds the record for the quickest and fastest DC pass, was also back for another go in his incredible HQ Monaro, while Robert Giangrave’s twin-turbo big-block XR ute rolled up in suitably large fashion aboard a huge excavator trailer towed by a tip truck!

1. Tim Ackland’s owned his Series I AU XR8 since he was 18. It now runs a 347-cube Windsor with AFR heads, a tunnel ram, twin Holley 600 carbies and 100hp of giggle gas on top for an old-school solution that’s good for mid-10s.

“An alternator bolt broke, but other than that, we’ve had a pretty cruisy run,” he said.

2. Stephen Hyslop’s UC hatch is LS-swapped with an STA blower and, as of very recently, a 750 Holley blow-through carb. “It had FiTech EFI on it for years, but the other day the computer decided to give up the ghost,” Steve explained.

“It didn’t matter what I did, I couldn’t fix it, so I just grabbed a 750 Holley, modified it, chucked it on and loaded the car on the trailer.”

3. John Ricca had jaws dropping with his DC entry: a twin-turbo Lamborghini Huracan. Precision Racing in Sydney upgraded the Lambo V10 with beefy internals to take boost from a pair of turbos for 1500hp at the hubs.

The cargo pod was a last-minute addition: “We’re carrying 30 extra litres of fuel and we realised there was no extra room for my clothes and helmet,” John laughed. “So, we measured up the roof and got one from Autobarn to put our luggage in.”

4. Superstar DJ Carl Cox is having a few issues with his 1600hp HT sedan (SM, Dec ’21), so he rocked up in a one-of-100 Tickford Trans-Am Mustang.

The expat Englishman drove the American-built tribute to a Canadian racer around country Australia all week, ending the week with a .306sec split in Vibrant Performance Dial Your Own.

5. John Busuttil found his ’67 Cougar as a super-rough six-cylinder in Queensland. “All that’s left of the XR7 now is the body,” he said, referring to the 3V-headed 434ci Clevo, C4 and 3.5-geared 9in that’s now in the car.

All in all, it’s a capable street-and-strip package that ran bottom 11s all week.

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Day One – Heathcote Park Raceway

Central Victoria switched on the summer charm for Day One of racing at Heathcote Park, with eight classes ranging from the big tyre and slick-wearing GJ Drivelines Outlaw Aspirated and Turbosmart Outlaw Blown categories to the bumper Vibrant Performance Dial Your Own pack.

The first pass was made by John Ricca’s eight-second Lamborghini Huracan and Bruce Christian’s Chev-powered FJ40 Land Cruiser in an awesome show of race-car diversity.

Luke Foley quickly stamped his authority on both the Haltech Radial Blown and overall standings with a 7.87@179mph, which would prove to be the best ET of the day. The BOLICS Monaro was close behind, turning over a 7.94@181mph, while Harry Haig slotted into third in POP666 with a slightly off-pace 8.01@175mph. Trent Blainey’s VL Walkinshaw tribute (SM, Feb ’23) was also in the mix, pulling off an 8.05@175mph.

It was a traumatic morning to be a diff in a three-pedal car, though. Bruce Howie grenaded the pinion in his nitrous-huffing, Windsor-powered, Jerico-shifted XL ute’s Borgy, fresh off a 2200km drive from Alice Springs. Undeterred, he cannibalised his taller road-going diff and fronted up hours later for a solid 10.7-second pass.

Anthony Burns fared no better with his turbo LS-swapped R31 Skyline, which smashed the BW78’s crown wheel on its maiden DC launch. A jaunt to ATS Automatics got the diff back in action, but it was a sign of things to come.

The first leg of DC’s drive component took racers south-west to Portland via a checkpoint in the tiny town of Amphitheatre, near Avoca. Locals quickly got wind of what was happening and posted up with their own classic metal to watch some of the country’s quickest streeters roll through.

1. Anthony Burns managed a rare feat at Drag Challenge this year, breaking a BorgWarner diff on his first pass on days one, two and three! He rebuilt four diffs before calling it quits.

He now plans to upgrade to an 8.8in unit that should withstand the punishment of his turbo LS/ stick-shift driveline.

2. Daniel Smith got quicker all week in Brendon de Ruyter’s screaming K24-powered Toyota Celica, running 8.38@164mph on Day Five to finish second in Tuff Mounts 235 Blown.

“It drives really well down the strip, and on the road we’ve had zero issues,” Daniel said. “Now we’re just learning how to creep up on it to get some decent numbers.”

3. Trent Blainey’s freshly built WALKE VL (SM, Feb ’23) has to be one of the neatest cars we’ve ever seen fronting up to Drag Challenge. The VL went 8.05@175mph on Day One and made it to Portland before family issues meant Trent had to head home.

Still, those are very promising numbers given the car is still early on in its development.

4. Peter Holmfield’s blown Chev-powered HJ ute became the loudest vehicle on-site on Saturday afternoon thanks to some alcohol-fuel silliness.

He ran a 9.79@143mph to finish off the week and landed mid-pack in Vibrant Performance DYO.

5. Luca Torresan went from a too-grumpy Hemi six in his VJ Valiant ute to a stock-bottom-end turbo LS and ran high 10s at DC. “I’m not trying to break any records; I just want to experience the event for myself,” he said.

The turbo is a 7576 VR Racing item, and a Shift Right Transmissions Powerglide and 31-spline diff out of a ’98 Ford Explorer round out the driveline.

6. Gremlins meant Paul Hamilton’s twin-turbo BBF-powered XA Falcon was unable to complete the event, but the car did plenty of miles and ran a best of 8.89sec on Day One.

7. Bruce Howie hurt the Borgy diff in his Windsor-powered, Jerico-shifted XL ute, fresh from a massive journey from Alice Springs.

He cannibalised his road-going third member parts and got everything back together to complete the event, running a respectable best of 10.47@122mph.

8. Steve Serone hopped between 98 and E85 all week in his tough, 408ci LS-swapped EJ Holden, running a best of 10.20@130mph on Day Four.

It’s good for 500hp before a 150-shot of giggle gas, with a transbraked Turbo 400 and stout 9in taking the shove.

9. Luke Foley was the quickest man on the property on Day One with a healthy 7.87@179mph lick. His VH Commodore runs a Dart 440ci LS with twin Pulsar G42 turbos, backed by a Turbo 400 and sheet-metal 9in.

“Before we came up on the line, there were a lot of people turning the tyres, so we backed it off a touch to make sure we put a sensible one down at this time of the day,” Luke said following the pass.

10. Dan Young’s ZB Fairlane is dubbed LFT OVRS, as he says it was cobbled together out of spare parts from an ongoing XY Falcon project.

Powered by a 408ci Windsor, the ZB didn’t quite achieve the 6sec eighth-mile pass Dan was chasing, but he matched his PB of 7.0 over the eighth at South Coast Raceway on Day Two, staying in the adjusted low 11s all week.

11. Tasmanians Darby Hamilton and Mark Whitla came up with some ingenious solutions to help Darby’s new Barra-powered LC combo survive the road miles – including the wild overhead exhaust and a (sadly ineffective) hillbilly air conditioning system.

12. For obvious reasons, a late-model Holden One Tonner makes for a pretty handy DC rig. Darren Vartuli’s example runs a 5.7 LS with Higgins heads, a Holley high-rise manifold and a Vortech V2 T-trim blower.

Coming all the way from Broken Hill to compete in his second DC, Darren was stoked to run a new PB of 10.71sec.

13. A scary moment for Michael Ryder on Day One as the bonnet smashes the windscreen of his Holden-powered VN. Nevertheless, he was able to record a class-leading 10.40sec pass and then make it to Bendigo for a new windscreen.

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Day Two – South Coast Raceway, Portland

“The weather was great until you guys turned up,” laughed the servo worker as we fuelled up in a grey Portland early on Day Two. South Coast Raceway has a reputation for drizzly weather, but that just means the crew are track-drying gods. Between the kerosene-powered jet dryer and the bulk horsepower filling the pits, the eighth-mile facility felt more like an airport.

Some big class battles had opened up on Day One, including a potential shake-up in Pacemaker Radial Aspirated. Keith Hards’s ’67 Camaro was mounting a challenge to Alon Vella’s mental Capri, which had long dominated in every Drag Challenge event since 2015. A string of broken rockers had put Keith out of contention at DCW 2022, but this year the car was chewing up road and race miles more reliably, handing over a 5.37@129mph over the Portland eighth to edge out Al’s 5.54@127mph.

Luke Foley and Harry Haig traded places up top of the overall standings, despite the latter smashing his car’s grille on a kangaroo somewhere between Heathcote and Portland. A few on-the-go repairs later, Harry doled out a 5.14@147mph.

We found Dan Szabolics, Frank Marchese and the rest of their crew pulling the Monaro apart, the big-block having broken a valve spring on the way. The boys wedged a piece of fuel hose under the rocker to save a dropped valve and limped to Portland on seven cylinders. Dan ran a 5.44@130mph late in the piece to cling onto fourth outright.

Darby Hamilton and Mark Whitla’s Barra-swapped Capri had the wildest ride of the day, turning the tyres around half-track and scraping the left-hand side against the wall.

It was 5pm by the time we closed the staging lanes, meaning those who stuck around to the end had to be extra wary of wildlife as they headed up to Halls Gap and our next checkpoint at the 78 million-litre Lake Bellfield.

1. Lazo Rostankov’s BOSSLX Torana runs a 600rwhp, Whipple-blown L98. It was Lazo’s first go at a DC event, driving the Torana all the way down from Sydney, competing all week in the Vibrant DYO class and then driving home. “It even has a/c, so it’s been cruisy as,” he said.

2. Warick Meldrum’s Barra-powered VF Valiant hurtled to a new PB of 8.90sec at 153mph on Day Five to claim third spot in Speed Pro Six-Cylinder.

3. Jason Waye came into Drag Challenge with an injury, so he handed the driving duties of his Barra-powered Mustang to Adam Rogash. The combo performed flawlessly, with a new PB of 9.28sec and third place in Tuff Mounts 235 Blown.

4. Ryan O’Donohue maintained his lead in the Speed Pro Six-Cylinder class on Day Two behind the wheel of his wild Barra-powered F100. He backed up his 8.47sec Day One pass with a solid 5.73 down the Portland eighth-mile.

5. Even Dan Szabolics’s HQ faced dramas, snapping a valve spring on the road leg. Frank Marchese and the crew held the valve up with a chunk of fuel hose before pulling the left head off in the Portland pits.

Several hours of industrious work and a few tyre-turning attempts later, Dan ran a 5.44@130mph to finish fourth overall on Day Two.

6. Mark Whitla had a wild ride in Darby Hamilton’s Barra-powered Torana, kissing the wall after a wild, balls-out trip down the track. The boys were unfazed, though, having played similar games at Portland before – including DC 2019, when Mark’s Capri tore up the sway-bar mid-pass.

7. Simon Render has crewed on four DC events, but this time he did his own thing in this fully engineered XC Falcon. “It was all home-built in my garage and it runs a single-turbo 6.0L LS, Turbo 400 and 9in with 3.5 gears,” Simon explained.

“The car itself is really original and only has 120,000km on it.” Simon completed the event with a best of 10.29sec over the quarter and a 6.39sec
pass at Portland.

8. The road trip from Portland to Mildura was one of the most scenic in Drag Challenge history, taking the convoy through the Grampians and Halls Gap. Shane Neumann’s XF made light work of the road miles and finished second in Speed Pro Six-Cylinder with a best of 9.01sec.

9. Josh O’Brien’s VP ute parked beside our Day Two checkpoint, the 78 million-litre Lake Bellfield! Josh’s ute packs a Harrop-blown 355 Holden and ran a best of 9.31sec.

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Day Three – Sunset Strip, Mildura

One of our favourite Drag Challenge experiences is watching the landscape change as we notch up the hours around Australia, and this year’s journey to Mildura was one of the best trips on record. Heading north from Portland took us through the gorgeous, twisting roads of The Grampians, which eventually gave way to scrubby expanses and wide-open highways as we neared Sunset Strip for a night racing session.

Bruce Christian heralded our arrival in self-destructive fashion. He launched his Cruiser into one of the biggest DC wheelstands ever recorded, jolting down hard and smashing his front end for an early retirement.

Meanwhile, a trio of 70s Holdens were duking it out at the top of our biggest class, Vibrant Performance Dial Your Own. Jamie Turner wrapped up Day Three on a tiny 0.007-second split to top the class leaderboard, followed closely by regular place-getter Alysha Teale.

Some of the most ominous skies you’ll ever see turned into rain by 5:30pm, putting a stop to racing for a few hours. Some entrants who’d already made a pass chose not to bet on the weather clearing up and got a head-start to Heathcote.

Sunset Strip’s super-dedicated volunteer track crew are more accustomed to dust issues than rain, but they did an epic job of sorting out the eighth-mile alongside some extra manpower including Harry Haig, Luke Foley and Jarrod Wood.

Hoodies, thermoses and portable barbecues were out in force by the time we got back to racing at 8:30. Though we didn’t get to bestow any new Four-Second Club hats, Harry Haig managed to extend his outright lead late in the night with a 5.12@148mph, while Luke Foley held onto second by handing in a 5.21@141mph on the night’s final pass. Less than half a second separated the top three when the lanes shut at 11pm.

1. Racing got off to a destructive start for Bruce Christian when his SBC-powered FJ40 pulled a massive wheelstand, snapping the shorty’s front end like a toothpick and no doubt giving Bruce a major jolt.

2. Rowan Ellem sent his Centura to a bunch of mid-10s courtesy of an R3-blocked Chrysler mill swinging 440 cubes. He bought the car essentially as-is, tweaking the suspension to improve its 60ft times. “It’s running out of camshaft out there,” he admitted. “But it’s been mint; we haven’t had to put a spanner on it!”

3. Here’s Jason Davidson and mate with Jason’s bad-arse ’67 Camaro in front of the iconic grain silos at Nullawil, 250km out of Mildura.

4. Apart from some minor electrical issues on the first two days, Jarrod Wood’s screaming 440-cube XT Falcon ran like a train all week, with a best of 5.97 at Mildura and a 9.39 at Heathcote to finish third in Pacemaker Radial Aspirated.

5. Chris Imlach’s crusty Nova has seen three different engine combos over four DC events, and the car turned out an 8.61@160mph best this time around. “It’s been very smooth sailing; just the transmission’s been getting hot and spitting boiling-hot fluid at us,” he chuckled.

The iron-block LS is stroked to about 360 cubes, and wears “the cheapest eBay turbos you can buy”, according to Chris.

6. Tim Rhone had his twin-turbo SBF-powered XP coupe on fire, running 6.15sec at Mildura before finishing the week with a scorching new PB of 9.34sec back at Heathcote.

7. After helping dry the track, Harry Haig came out towards the end of the night on Day Three to extend his lead with a 5.12@148mph pass.

8. Drag Challenge OG Alysha Teale had another great event, fighting hard to finish second in Vibrant Dial Your Own in her much-travelled HQ.

9. Robbie Bertram’s twin-turbo 383-powered ’57 performed strongly all week, finishing fourth in Vibrant Dial Your Own.

10. A lock-up 4L80E four-speed auto helped Rod Jones’s 427ci ’33 Ford chase down DC road miles with ease. He replaced the 83⁄4in diff from his last DC outing with a 9in, which helped him run a PB of 10.87@121mph on Day Four.

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Day Four – Heathcote Park Raceway

Mother Nature didn’t let up on her confusing tirade over the final road leg of DC ’22-23, hitting racers with alternatiing sun and pouring rain as they snaked along the Murray towards Heathcote. Though the rain cleared up by 3pm and light was appearing at the end of the tunnel for our weary racers, there were still a few curveballs in store. 235 Aspirated front-runner Donnie Zurcas flipped his trailer on a nasty bump, and Luke Foley wrecked a lifter on the way to Swan Hill.

The VH limped into Heathcote Park later in the day, sounding more tractor than seven-second streeter. Luke snagged some new lifters and a mystery bumpstick from fellow Geelong racer Mark Drew, thrashing all afternoon to slot it in before running a promising 5.53 half-track test pass. A couple of dropped cylinders on the following passes saw Luke turn in a well-off-pace 8.68@142mph, essentially nixing his chance at the top spot outright.

Tunes got spicier as the fears of dragging a half-broken car across the state under its own steam were forgotten. Shane Baker’s boosted iron lion-powered VH Commodore sliced half a second off its Day One time, clocking an 8.05@173mph to keep the Chev guys honest.

The BOLICS Monaro’s run of valve dramas continued, which Frank Marchese put down to a tired set of valve springs. The cam in the current 540-cube rat motor was specifically intended to be softer on valve springs than that in the previous 632, so he was confident an all-new set of springs would solve the problem.

The car got quicker again in spite of all the issues, running a
7.85@186mph to end the day second in Haltech Radial Blown and third overall. An 8.00@167mph kept Harry Haig’s HQ in front overall, though with a full day’s racing left, the final order was still anybody’s guess.

1. Aaron James brought his stunning VG Valiant all the way from Perth for another swing at DC. This time he finished runner-up in Kool Wrap 235 Aspirated, won the Quickest Mopar gong and ran a new PB of 9.80sec on Day Five!

2. Luke Foley’s VH Commodore hurt its valvetrain on the road from Mildura, so he yanked the manifold in the middle of nowhere for some emergency surgery. It managed to roll into Heathcote under its own power, and the boys got straight into replacing the cam with an ex-Crusty Torana unit from Mark Drew, finally staging the car around 9pm. Luke managed an 8.68 on Day Four, and ended the week in outright third.

3. Kyle Jarvis came down from near Newcastle with his 2JZ Toyota Cressida to take on DC. “I saw the event online and saw how much fun it was, so I wanted to have a crack,” he said. The mill propelled Kyle to fifth place in the Speed Pro Six-Cylinder class, with a best of 9.143 on Day Four.

4. Andrew Holdsworth not only sponsors the 235 Aspirated class via his Kool Wrap business, but he also brought his stunning GTA Fairlane back for a swing at Vibrant DYO. “The car ran perfectly,” Andrew said.

“The trailer was another matter! The drawbar snapped off in Elmore, sending the trailer into the bush and scattering tools and spare parts across the road. Luckily it happened only 100m from Elmore Panel & Paint, and those guys got us sorted.”

5. Scott MacFayden’s Torana looks like it popped out of the showroom, 4.2L badges and all! Even with the bonnet popped, it looks factory, but careful inspection reveals a VN-headed stroker hidden beneath the tin air cleaner.

6. Six-time DC veteran Dominic Pelle brought his son Luke along for the first time, winning Tuff Mounts 235 Blown in his turbo LS-powered Sigma. “I couldn’t care less what happens,” he grinned on Friday arvo.

“The experience has been terrific!” Little has changed since last DC aside from a GT47 turbo, which Dom reckons has improved the car’s mid-range power.

7. Reece Gehrels’s HJ came to DC packing a new turbo LS set-up that treated the crowds to some spectacular passes. After some initial struggles, Reece laid down an 8.86sec pass on Day Four, but turning up the wick saw the input shaft pack it in.

8. Queenslander Shane Baker and his son Sebastian were flying the flag for the Holden faithful, the turbocharged iron lion V8 in their Commodore keeping the big boys honest with a smattering of PBs on Day Four, culminating in a best of 8.05@173mph.

Shane couldn’t quite crack a seven on Day Five, but still placed a highly creditable fourth in Haltech Radial Blown.

9. Matt Murphy’s HQ is both stunning and spectacular! Packing a nitrous-assisted big-block, the Quey ran a best of 9.12 to finish fourth in Turbosmart Outlaw Blown.

10. David Best of DC Automotive in Tassie has had many a crack at Drag Challenge in his VY SS. The 432ci LS-based combo runs twin 79mm Aeroflow turbos and makes 1700rwhp on 34psi.

It’s outfitted with a Powerglide, McDonald Bros four-link rear and Haltech Nexus engine management. He smashed his 8.54 PB on Day One with a 8.42@171mph.

11. Queenslander Chris Kaarsberg has completed multiple Drag Challenge events, running solo in his SUB12 Torana. This year he claimed his third Top 10, finishing fourth outright and third in Haltech Radial Blown. He also ran a 7.97sec pass to gain entry into the Seven-Second Club.

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Day Five – Heathcote Park Raceway

Two consecutive race days at HPR meant our surviving entrants could focus solely on racing, and the big hitters upped the ante as soon as the lanes opened. “I’ve got a tilt-tray; I’d be mad not to, wouldn’t I?” said Harry Haig in the morning, before throwing caution to the wind and belting out a 7.64@184mph just an hour into the final racing session. It was more than enough to keep the Quey in first outright. “No one’s more surprised than me,” he laughed during the trophy presentation.

Dan Szabolics gave a cracking 7.53@194mph for the quickest and fastest pass of DC ’22-23, but the car’s frustrating problems during the week had bloated its cumulative ET, leaving Dan in second place. “Last night we had a boost leak we couldn’t find, so we were stuck in the 8.1s,” said crewmate Frank Marchese. “The car was telling us all week that it didn’t want to play ball.” It was all capped off with a blown converter seal.

Luke Foley came back to hand over a 7.89@177mph – a monster effort after the big cam swap operation on Friday. It was good enough for third overall, and you can bet he’ll be back for another crack at the top spot soon.

The Seven-Second Club finally got some new members, too, with solo flyer Chris Kaarsberg earning a red hat, plus third in Haltech Radial Blown and fourth outright in his unassuming LX sedan. A hot-lapping Riccardo Pontonio came agonisingly close to a seven multiple times in his VK Commodore, even pulling an 8.00-second pass. His dreams eventually came true with a 7.92@171mph, roof rack and all.

Out of 139 entrants, 110 would collect their ‘I Survived Drag Challenge’ sticker on Saturday afternoon, 29 competitors having bowed over the week thanks to hurt drivelines, run-ins with local wildlife and just about everything else in between. But you can bet that many of them will be only too happy to sign up for more punishment at our second five-day DC event later this year – for
those who’ve experienced it, Drag Challenge can be habit-forming.

1. Harry Haig stomped his authority over the event early on Day Five, running a 7.64@184mph just an hour into proceedings.

That was enough to do the job, securing his second consecutive wins in both Turbosmart Outlaw Blown and outright.

2. Dom Pelle’s turbo LS-equipped Sigma ran a best of 8.88 on Day Five to win Tuff Mounts 235 Blown, despite Dan Smith improving rapidly behind the wheel of his second-placed Toyota Celica.

235 Blown will be a ding-dong battle at the next event!

3. Dan Szabolics made a cracker 7.53sec pass in his crazy HQ Monaro on Day Five, but a blown torque converter seal forced him to stop here. A second-place finish capped off a challenging week for Dan, Frank Marchese and the rest of the crew.

“Last night we had a boost leak we couldn’t find, so we were stuck in the 8.1s,” Frank said. Still, Dan won Haltech Radial Blown as well as Fastest MPH and Quickest ET of the event.

4. There’s a new Pacemaker Radial Aspirated king for the first time ever, with Keith Hards prevailing over reigning champ Alon Vella. Keith’s Camaro held together long enough for him to perform an epic half-track skid before handing over an 8.49@160mph on Day Five.

Al naturally followed in second, having run 8.6s in his Capri over all five days.

5. Relax, Michael Ryder is a panel beater by trade and will get his GJ Drivelines Outlaw Aspirated-winning VN looking a million bucks before too long.

6. Donnie Zurcas led Kool Wrap 235 Aspirated all week in his Chev-powered Capri, keeping a small but comfortable margin ahead of Aaron James’s Valiant and Nathan Ghosn’s SBF-powered Capri.

7. Vibrant Performance DYO leaders Jamie Turner (pictured) and Alysha Teale lined up in the arvo on Day Five for an HQ sedan grudge match. Alysha hit a perfect 0.00 reaction time off the tree for an impressive (but too quick for her 11.6 dial-in) 11.37, gapping Jamie’s 11.73.

Jamie ended up with the win, with second-placed Alysha’s final split just two-hundredths of a second behind.

8. Ryan O’Donohue and his Barra-powered F100 led the Speed Pro Six-Cylinder class from Day One, when he ran an 8.47@160mph. Its pace dropped over the week, which Ryan put down to a hurt auto.

“It’s been getting worse all week, and it probably only has a few more passes in it,” he said on Day Four. He sealed the deal with a 9.63 on Day Five.

9. Alexis Margaritis brought his stunning LC Torana to Drag Challenge untested, and while a 9.58sec pass on Day One looked promising, dramas on the road leg to Portland took him out of contention.

The car packs a 427ci LSX mill with a massive front-mounted 94mm turbo, and Alexis was pumped to bring the car back for some test hits on days four and five, resulting in a pair of 8.4sec passes.

10. Riccardo Pontonio was stoked to run a 7.92sec pass on Day Five to place fifth in Haltech Radial Blown and earn himself a red hat that symbolises entry into the exclusive Seven-Second Club.

11. Geelong’s Clint Kelly spent five years building his HT Premier in readiness for DC. It runs an epic TDR- built Dart 427, hooked to twin 64/66 turbos for somewhere between 1300 and 1400 horses.

The Prem speared to an 8.62@160mph on Day Five to finish seventh in Haltech Radial Blown and 11th outright.

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Harry Haig – HQ Holden


  1. Harry Haig – HQ Holden
  2. Darby Hamilton – LC Torana
  3. John Ricca – Lamborghini Huracan


  1. Michael Ryder – VN Commodore SS
  2. Katrina Read – XF Falcon
  3. Grant Grech – Holden Torana


  1. Daniel Szabolics – HQ Monaro
  2. Luke Foley – VH Commodore
  3. Chris Kaarsberg – LX Torana


  1. Keith Hards – Chev Camaro
  2. Alon Vella – Ford Capri
  3. Jarrod Wood – XT Falcon


  1. Dominic Pelle – Chrysler Sigma
  2. Daniel Smith – Toyota Celica
  3. Adam Rogash – Ford Mustang


  1. Donnie Zurcas – Ford Capri
  2. Aaron James – VG Valiant
  3. Nathan Ghosn – Ford Capri


  1. Ryan O’Donohue – Ford F100
  2. Shane Neumann – XF Falcon
  3. Warick Meldrum – VF Valiant


  1. Jamie Turner – HQ Holden
  2. Alysha Teale – HQ Holden
  3. Chris Oliver – XT Falcon



Bruce Howie


Matt Carey


Chris Kaarsberg


Shane Baker


Darby Hamilton


Aaron James


Harry Haig


Luke Foley


Darby Hamilton


Daniel Smith


Bruce Howie


Anthony Burns


Daniel Szabolics – 7.532sec


Daniel Szabolics – 194.18mph


Chris Kaarsberg
Riccardo Pontonio

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