Drag Challenge racers set PBs galore at Kenda Expression Session

A handful of Drag Challenge veterans headed to Willowbank to break the drag racing drought

Photographers: Ashleigh Wilson

IT has been great to see some drag racing happening again at Willowbank Raceway over the last couple of weeks and some of the Street Machine Drag Challenge crew jumped at the chance to flex their muscles at the Kenda Expression Session radial meet over the last few days.

Local Steve Carkeet put on an amazing show at Drag Challenge Weekend 2019, finishing third in Pacemaker Radial Aspirated and taking home the Spirit of Drag Challenge gong. He came out swinging for the fences at Kenda with the Lamprecht Race Engines BBC pushing the 3716lb HQ to a best of 5.40-seconds over the eighth-mile at 129mph, with a 1.240 60ft time. Steve is hoping to see a seven-second pass down the quarter by the year’s end. And yep, that big wheelie did some damage on the way down, including to the sump, exhaust and front shocks. Ouch!

The undefeated champion of Radial Aspirated is Alon Vella and his mighty BG Engines SBF-powered Capri. Like Carkeet, Alon also spent a lot of his time with the front wheels in the air, recording a best of 5.43-seconds. The Capri’s PB is 5.40-secs and Alon concedes that the team is working on the suspension to get the nose down, but not too much!

Andrew Natoli is also running BGs-built engine in his VK, but in this case he’s stuck with iron lion power. Andrew has raced at five DC events, but his new combo is something special – a 385-cube deal based on a VT block that he hopes will see the VK crack the eights with a bit of spray. At Kenda, the VK PB’d with a 6.33-seconnd pass on a soft tune. Check out the Mill of the Month column in the August issue for the full run down on this combo.

Steve Micallef’s one-tonner taken the Outlaw Aspirated title twice at Drag Challenge and once at Drag Challenge Weekend. The tonner has had a big birthday and is now powered by an all-alloy 632-cube big block Chev. “I built the new motor with Kelvin from CDA Engines,” says Steve. “It is based on a Dart block and is 120lb lighter than the old combo. We’re running on E98 fuel with Holley Sniper EFI. We ran out of injector on the dyno, so there is more to come.” The Chev is backed by one of Steve’s own Shiftright 4L80E four-speed autos. Running on 295 radials instead of slicks, Steve recorded a new PB at Kenda to the tune of 5.71-seconds.

John Huysmans’s XY-fronted, twin-turbo SBF-powered XW ute was up from from Orange in NSW for a play. John finished Drag Challenge 2018 with a best of 9.54-seconds over the quarter-mile. We’re still waiting to hear how he went at Kenda, stay tuned!

2019 Drag Challenge Weekend winner Terry Seng was behind the wheel of Kyle Hofp’s 6Boost Camaro. running a best of 3.964-seconds at 199.82. The Camaro also topped 200mph on another pass, making it the first steel body radial car to do so over the eighth.

Willowbank regular Shane Locke PB’d in his tough little Chev Luv, setting a new eighth-mile best of 6.72-seconds at 103mph on 235s. Shane took out second place in 235 Radial Aspirated at last year’s Drag Challenge Weekend.

Ian Pymble was out racing his XD Falcon ute, but a sheared alternator bolt restricted him to just one run. Ian did well DCW 2019, finishing just outside the Top 10 in Turbosmart DYO.

Ben Taylor’s single-turbo LS Camaro was out testing a new Holley EFI set up and ran a best of 5.7-second pass at 126mph.

Another survivor of the 2019 Drag Challenge Weekend Radial Aspirated class was Terry Mansfield-French in his Fairlane-fronted XY wagon. Terry set a new eighth-mile PB of 7.10-seconds at Kenda. The wagon runs a 557-cube BBF, backed by a C6 and Dana diff. Terry has run a best of 11.2-seconds down the quarter so far.