Hardass 1000 2024: off and racing!

Action from day one of the Hardass 1000 drag and drive event

Photographers: Michelle Porobic

When two-time Street Machine Drag Challenge winner Harry Haig announced he was running his own version of a drag and drive event, you better believe we were onboard to check it out. 

Having done drag and drives both here and in the States, Harry and good mate Ryan Ford wanted to combine everything they loved from those events with a few trick ideas of their own and create the ultimate week-long pub run.

It’s not about speed, it’s about having fun with mates. Everything from seven-second capable machines to 20-second stocker 202 HQs are throwing their hats in the ring, and it’s bloody brilliant. 

It’s open to any car or driver, regardless of how quick or slow. It’s resulted in a crazy variety of cars, with many of the drivers having their first crack at drag racing.

Day one saw us at Heathcote Park Raceway, running for glory over the quarter. Harry warned the Hardass crew well in advance about breaking diffs, and early on we had two casualties with Drag Challenge veteran (and 2023 Border Battle winner) Jason Vyner’s XG ute smashing its rear end to bits. Ryan McPherson also broke a tailshaft uni in his VL Turbo, but was able to find a replacement and continue on.

AJ’s 1951 Chevvy gasser is already a crowd favourite, running a 60s F100 straight axle. Power is from a built, aspo LS1, sent through a TR6060 ‘box and 29×11.5 dirt track tyres. He rowed to a best of 11.80@114mph.

The event even has a US visitor, in the form of David Gallimore from North Carolina. Dave races a Barra-powered Chevelle in drag & drive events back home and bought a unfinished turbo Barra-powered XH Falcon van project to compete in Oz as well. What a legend!

2023 Drag Challenge competitor Dave Carnell set some early pace in his turbo-LS HQ Tonner with a pair of 9.7s.

Anthony Burns debut a fresh look for his Barra turbo XE Falcon ute, formerly known as the Farm Ute. Now sporting an S-Pack glow-up, it confirmed its new nine-second credentials with a 9.98@138mph.

There are stacks of other Drag Challenge repeat offenders in the mob, including Andrew Baumgartner in his mental HB Torana, Dom Pelle’s HK Kingswood, John Kerr’s Comet, Brodie Villis’s Corolla, Bruce Howie’s and Rick McGavigan’s Falcon utes, Clive Polidano’s blown HZ, Matt ‘Muff’ Murphy’s tough HQ, and Matt Carpenter’s ‘Problem Child’ XP just to name a few!

With the heat the day driving a thirst for the pub, Harry wrapped up racing at 2pm before a short drive to the Toolleen Hotel, followed by a stop for hot dogs at the silo art in Colbinabbin. 

Waranga Basin provided a stunning backdrop for the final checkpoint of the day, before the convoy carried into Nagambie for the first overnight stay. 

Harry’s format gives a full day’s drive between tracks, so day two saw no racing as it was all about the road leg. A decent detour on the way to Yarrawonga gave us plenty of twisty, switchback roads and plenty of stormy rain just for added spice. 

Stops included the MOVE Museum in Shepp, plus pubs in Euroa, Bonnie Doon, Mansfield, Oxley and Boorhaman. Tomorrow we’ll be racing no prep at Wilby’s eighth-mile, before another big drive day on Thursday to take us back to HPR. Stay tuned for more updates soon!

In the meantime, check out the the day one video here!