Video: Drag Challenge 2022/23 day three results

Rain tried to spoil our party on day three of Drag Challenge, but the Sunset Strip track staff and entrants pushed on to almost 11pm!

Photographers: Shaun Tanner, Chris Thorogood

We’re officially past the halfway point of Street Machine Drag Challenge 2022/23!

One of the coolest parts of DC is watching the landscape change as we tour country Victoria, and this year’s Day two/three journey delivered in spades. The twisty mountain roads of the Grampians gave way to the scrubby expanses and wide open stretches of Mildura as we hit the Sunset Strip eighth-mile.

The checkpoint at the 78 billion-litre Lake Bellfield prompted lots of racers to hole up in Halls Gap for the night, and hit the road early on Thursday morning for racing from 4pm. The scenery was awesome, but it was a tough day to be a beefy stall converter in the hills.

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

An ominous sky turned into drizzle and then outright rain by 5:30, which put a stop to racing for a solid few hours. Mildura’s awesome volunteer track crew (helped along by racers including Harry Haig, Luke Foley and Jarrod Wood) thrashed to dry out the track, and things were pumping again by 8:30.

ETs were tumbling by the time the lanes closed around 11, with Harry Haig extending his overall lead with a 5.12@148mph late in the game. Second-place Luke Foley responded with a 5.21@141 on the final pass of the night, while Chris Kaarsberg handed over a 5.29@139mph to hang in contention.

A number of entrants chose not to bet on the weather clearing up, including Pacemaker Radial Aspirated leader Keith Hards in his angry Camaro. Unlike last DC, he’s so far been mostly immune to the “big-block curse” of valvetrain damage, only breaking one valve spring on the way to Mildura. Keith laid down a 5.45@128mph on his first pass, packed up his trailer, and hit the road back to Heathcote. “Racing’s easy, driving’s hard,” he mused today. “We’ve gotta make it to the end first!”

Tim Ackland’s owned his Series I AU XR8 since he was 18. It now runs a 540hp 347-cube Windsor with AFR heads, a tunnel ram, twin Holley 600 carbies and a 100hp of giggle gas on top for an old-school solution. It’s only been together for three months, but the Geelong bloke’s already had a tilt at Ballarat’s Western Highway Shootout and Portland, with a PB of 10.50. “An alternator bolt broke, but other than that we’ve had a pretty cruisy run,” he grinned today.

Kyle Jarvis has come all the way down from near Newcastle with his 2JZ Toyota Cressida to take on our Drag Challenge marathon. “I saw the event online and saw how much fun it was, so I wanted to have a crack,” he says. The big turbo mill has propelled Kyle to sixth place in the Speed Pro Six Cylinder class, with a best of 10.14@139mph on Day One at Heathcote and an eighth-mile best of 6.34@119mph at Portland.

Ricciardo Pontonio not only bombed it all the way up the mandatory route to get to Mildura, but went even further in the twin-turbo LS VK. “My dad lives in Wentworth, so we drove an extra 100 kays last night to stay with him,” he says. Ricc entered Day Three at Mildura in fourth place in the Haltech Radial Blown class, and kept running late into the night to eventually hand in a best of 6.34@84mph to end up fifth in class.

Young gun Chevy Barnes-Librio struck bad luck from the start of racing at Mildura, his Barra-swapped XB ute having to be pushed away from the start line after developing an oil leak. That leak turned out to be the pump seal in the C10 ’box, so Chevy and his dad Paul ripped it out in the pits and were still on the hunt for parts when we last spoke to them.

Clinton Kelly has been building his HT Premier for the last five years to get it ready to tackle Drag Challenge, and so far his week with the big lion has been going well. The Prem was speared to an 8.87 @158mph on Day One at Heathcote thanks to its killer twin-turbo LS combo, and as a result is currently sitting inside the top 10 in Haltech Radial Blown at the end of three days’ racing.

Check out the class results below. We’ll see you for more action back at Heathcote Park Raceway from 4pm this arvo!


1HarryHaigHolden HQ8.014175.785.14147.01514918.271
2LukeFoleyHolden Commodore7.871179.595.31139.465.217141.6918.393
4DanielSzabolicsHolden HQ7.942181.895.45130.485.691107.1219.078
6KeithHardsChevrolet Camaro8.513160.655.37129.705.459128.2319.339
7RiccardoPontonioHolden VK8.201171.585.23137.606.34884.8319.778
8AlonVellaFord Capri8.668157.155.54127.015.59126.6719.794
9DarbyHamiltonHolden Torana8.445171.665.62126.395.759125.9219.823
10RyanO’DonohueFord F1008.477160.615.73127.675.62127.3819.831
11JasonKennyHolden VN Calais8.945157.655.34133.065.649130.6119.935
12DavidBestHolden VY Commodore8.423171.055.77125.175.855123.4920.045
13DominicPelleChrysler Sigma8.904152.835.81127.025.713126.0920.422
14ClintonKellyHolden HT8.875158.265.80123.805.773ERROR20.448
15ChrisImlachChef Nova8.979156.925.78126.135.781126.7120.536
16JohnRiccaLamborghini Hurracan9.129168.985.75134.23613320.651
18StephenMicallefHolden Maloo8.752166.936.6595.645.614130.4721.013
19LukeGreenHolden Torana9.206159.325.97112.995.8747.6621.053
20RodLyallHolden Commodore8.856150.305.93112.326.399114.6721.189


1JamieTurnerHolden HQ0.007775
2AlyshaTealeHolden HQ0.036
3JamieKnightHolden HZ Premier0.043665
4ChrisOliverFord XT0.051315
5StephenHyslopHolden UC Torana0.05779
6RobbieBertramChev 570.059135
7LukeGrahamHolden VF Commodore0.061605
8MattCareyHolden VZ Thunder0.07153
9PeterHolmfieldHolden HJ ute0.07723
10MarkBakerPontiac GTO0.07835


1DonnieZurcasFord Capri9.900135.766.12111.436.176110.3122.196
2AaronJamesValiant VG9.934136.256.21110.586.243110.0122.388
3NathanGhosnFord Capri9.934138.486.20112.586.314111.3322.446
4PeterKynoch-KellyHolden HQ11.474117.837.2596.007.39295.226.112


1DominicPelleChrysler Sigma8.904152.835.81127.025.713126.0920.422
2AdamRogashFord Mustang9.288147.586.04115.986.091112.721.416
3RossCourtHolden Commodore9.818141.596.15114.956.225111.9922.190
4JakeCrumblinHolden HZ ute9.669141.396.50115.406.161115.4822.328
5DanielSmithToyota Celica11.681159.125.59127.615.688128.3622.956
6JasonSchmidtHolden VR Commodore10.916121.977.1893.456.93791.8225.034
8JasonWalterFord XG12.535109.687.7891.128.01390.5428.324
9TrevorHunterHolden HJ13.178102.247.8588.737.88288.4628.912

Speed Pro Six Cylinder

1RyanO’DonohueFord F1008.477160.615.73127.675.62127.3819.831
3GeorgeHatziFord XF Falcon9.376152.926.35120.535.944124.4821.674
4WarickMeldrumValiant Regal9.517145.596.40116.485.956120.5921.868
5MarkMillsHolden Torana9.503153.956.29125.026.699104.4322.491
6KyleJarvisToyota Cressida10.148148.906.34119.816.472120.0822.962
7PhilDynonFPV Typhoon10.147139.596.45110.736.447108.8523.046
8PeteNusserFord XR Falcon9.912150.486.81115.736.413111.2323.133
9JakeBetteridgeFord XR6 ute9.901150.266.81115.087.13107.623.836
10SarahHeaneyFord EB11.66882.476.08117.846.095114.2623.839
11MichaelBrownFord XD ute10.381135.706.63110.676.971108.9723.983
12AdrianAbelaFord BF Typhoon10.231134.777.2792.007.266108.624.765
13GlennRichardsFord Falcon11.209123.887.7176.687.86770.3226.781
14HeathBlackFord G6E12.330119.947.2699.997.21598.0126.801
15MarkGillFord EA Falcon13.175113.528.0790.068.26788.4529.515


1MichaelRyderHolden VN SS10.404134.086.54109.706.46723.406
2KatrinaReadXF Falcon11.964115.577.112100.217.13799.3526.213
3GrantGrechHolden Torana11.867118.167.4789.677.53926.877
4JakeHardsHolden HQ Monaro11.948114.767.5992.008.08727.622


1HarryHaigHolden HQ8.014175.785.14147.01514918.271
2DarbyHamiltonHolden Torana8.445171.665.62126.395.759125.9219.823
3JohnRiccaLamborghini Hurracan9.129168.985.75134.23613320.651
5MattMurphyHolden HQ9.221146.855.95117.706.035102.6521.205
7TimAcklandAU XR810.729126.746.77103.626.88324.379


1KeithHardsChevrolet Camaro8.513160.655.37129.705.459128.2319.339
2AlonVellaFord Capri8.668157.155.54127.015.59126.6719.794
3JarrodWoodFord XT9.556138.966.29109.285.977114.6521.824
4TonyDi BiagioFord XY10.274133.476.30110.486.629107.0523.199
5RodJonesFord 33 Sedan11.104119.786.7599.906.733100.3924.584
6AshleighToombsHolden HJ GTS11.087121.326.8999.177.25597.8725.234
7SteveNightingaleFord XA11.150121.527.1197.747.07197.2625.327
8DanYoungFord ZB Fairlane11.361118.687.0897.537.19196.4725.633
10JohnBusuttilMercury XR711.330120.497.1897.907.25598.225.763
11TonyLeistChev Camaro11.95585.796.89100.877.29998.4126.147
12JamesGrahamHolden Commodore11.789117.427.5194.307.632ERROR26.934
13JoshuaChiefaloHolden Torana13.188102.278.5483.188.68674.0730.410


1LukeFoleyHolden Commodore7.871179.595.31139.465.217141.69
3DanielSzabolicsHolden HQ7.942181.895.45130.485.691107.12
5RiccardoPontonioHolden VK8.201171.585.23137.606.34884.83
6JasonKennyHolden VN Calais8.945157.655.34133.065.649130.61
7DavidBestHolden VY Commodore8.423171.055.77125.175.855123.49
8ClintonKellyHolden HT8.875158.265.80123.805.773ERROR
9ChrisImlachChef Nova8.979156.925.78126.135.781126.71
10StephenMicallefHolden Maloo8.752166.936.6595.645.614130.47
11LukeGreenHolden Torana9.206159.325.97112.995.8747.66
12RodLyallHolden Commodore8.856150.305.93112.326.399114.67
13DeanSoderblomHolden Torana9.504142.485.91116.445.936115.93
15MurrayKellyHolden HT9.455141.276.40111.596.029117.94
16TimRhoneFord XP Hardtop9.717142.786.09117.026.154116.11
17TonyBoskovskiHolden Commodore9.653143.576.40107.126.5376.91
19StevenSeroneHolden EJ10.421130.146.42107.136.822103.41
20SimonRenderFord XC10.294135.636.40104.217.31264.75
21RowanEllemKB Centura10.712127.586.724105.536.618103.99
22JasonDavidsonChev Camaro10.892130.026.99104.547.105102.63
23MickHeawoodChev nova11.212118.456.93101.256.99199.76
24JohnUrquietaValiant Charger10.864131.666.94106.217.60697.71
26PaulMulcahyHolden VH11.630121.657.4399.537.52698.52
27ReeceGehrelsHolden HJ Kingswood9.716150.775.75122.5811.15861.61
28AnthonyBurnsNissan Skyline20.00050.007.55102.1926.8374.1