Drag Challenge preview: Pro Mod party time

A sneak peek at the almost 200 entrants who will hit the track tomorrow for Drag Challenge 2023

Photographers: Shaun Tanner, Noah Thorley

We had a fantastic day at the new Dragway at the Bend, welcoming almost 200 racers to a week of action at Drag Challenge 2023.

Racing kicks off tomorrow from 9am. You can get tickets for Tuesday and Saturday at a discount here. This included tickets to the Shannons Show & Shine on Saturday, which gets you the best park in the house, for the same price as a general admission ticket.

For now, let’s check out some of the rides that caught our eye during the day.

Harry Haig – Chevy Camaro

The climax of the day was when Harry Haig’s newest build rocked up right before scrutineering cut off late in the evening, sitting atop two trucks. Harry simply touts the Camaro as the replacement for POP666, but there’s a lot more to it than that. The Camaro runs the twin-turbo big-block from the HQ, freshly rebuilt for the new chassis. As for that chassis, it’s said to be more pro mod than late 60s
Chevy metal, but we’re yet to see under the skin and confirm that. What we do know is that it’s not a runner, so the boys have given themselves a long night ahead to sort wiring gremlins and get the
thing fired before racing kicks off at 9am tomorrow.

Chris Kaarsberg – SUB12

Queenslander Chris Kaarsberg has returned in his SUB 12 LX Torana, the twin-turbo LS combo virtually unchanged from his efforts earlier this year at DC 2022/23. His speed at the last event saw him nab a Seven Second Club hat. The man himself is actually somewhat wounded with a bung left leg, but regardless, still be running the entire week solo and without a trailer or roof rack.

Charlie Dixon – CV8 Monaro

AFL star forward for Port Adelaide Charlie Dixon is lining up for his first crack at Drag Challenge in his CV8 Monaro. Charlie crewed for overall winner Frank Marchese in 2018, but this’ll be his first crack
driving his own machine. The Monaro has been updated with a bigger GTX45 turbo and transbrake since we last featured with single-turbo LS1 machine, and he’ll be looking to run right to the number in the 9.5 index class.

Warwick Meldrum – VF Valiant

Warwick Meldrum’s ever-controversial Barra-powered VF Valiant has returned to the Speed Pro Six Cylinder ranks, this time sporting a fresh new look of Toyota grey. The renovation isn’t just exclusive
to the aesthetics, either. “Everything underneath is all brand new – engine, gearbox, diff, tailshaft, wiring, the whole lot,” says Warick. “We fired it up two weeks ago and the engine had a knock, so we got another one built.” The Newcastle local managed to squeeze a quick test in at Sydney on his way down to The Bend, running an 8.90@153mph. “We’re just chasing a PB this week, and try and keep it together of course.”

Dave Carpenter – Chevy Camaro

Dave Carpenter and his slick black Camaro have come all the way down from Darwin, NT to have their first lick at Drag Challenge. “I’ve followed along for the week as a spectator a few times, so it was about time we had a go,” he says. The Camaro is duking it out in the Pacemaker Radial Aspirated class, the 434ci small-block and carby-fed Chev having run a best of 9.80@137mph to date.

Tim McClure – EH Holden

Another long distance traveller is Tim McClure and his 1964 EH Holden. Running in Hare & Forbes DYO, the EH uses a 6.0-litre alloy LS with an 80mm turbo, with a Turbo 350 and 9in on a pair of slicks.
The West Aussie has a PB of 10.40@157mph to show for what he says was “My only clean pass so far,” so he’ll be looking to improve that PB this week.

Andrew Baumgartner – HB Torana

A contender in the TurboSmart Outlaw Blown big tyre class is Andrew Baumgartner’s HB Torana, rocking a bit pair of 315s. The Torry uses an L76 6.0-litre LS, virtually untouched save for a camshaft and head studs. It takes shove from a GTX50 turbo through a water-to-air Plazamaman intercooler. It churns out 600rwkW, and has a best of 8.3@165mph. “This is our first go, we’ve done five events at
Heathcote, so we’re gunning for a seven this week if we can,” says Andrew.

And that’s just a taste! See you at the track.

Oct 10 – Day 1 – Dragway at the Bend. Gates open 8am, racing 9am-3pm

Oct 11 – Day 2 – Sunset Strip Mildura. Gates open 8am, racing 9am-3pm

Oct 12 – Day 3 – Heathcote Park Raceway. Gates open 8am, racing 9am-3pm

Oct 13 – Day 4 – South Coast Raceway. Gates open 8am, racing 10am-4pm

Oct 14 – Day 5 – Dragway at the Bend. Gates open 8am, racing 10am-4pm