Radial Revolution: Kenda 660 Round One

Rain stopped play for the first round of this year’s Kenda 660 Drag Radial Series at Sydney Dragway, but not before a stack of racers set new PBs

Photographers: Chez Images

RADIAL racers flocked to Sydney Dragway on the last weekend of February for round one of the the Kenda Tires 660 Drag Radial Series. Sadly, the weather gods had other plans and competitive racing was rained out, but there was still plenty of action on offer during some epic testing sessions.

Photos: Chez images

Dan Szabolics and Frank Marchese rocked up with their brand-new collaboration – a ProCharged, Pro Line Racing Hemi-powered Pontiac Firebird. The boys squeezed in 10 test passes with the 315 radial-shod beast, eventually laying down a blistering 4.02@184mph over the eighth-mile.

An oil-down prevented Daniel from shooting for a fairytale three-second pass, but fair to say getting a brand-new combination moving so quick first time out is some achievement. It’s Frank’s turn to drive next time, when he hits the full quarter for Sydney’s Jamboree.

John Ricca – winner of Quickest Six at Drag Challenge 2019 in his VL – was racing his Mustang at Kenda and claimed the honour of having Australia’s fastest turbo radial car by recording a 3.96@203mph on Friday night.

Mark Drew’s infamous “Crusty” LH Torana laid down an impressive 1.14 60ft time, pointing to some some serious ETs in the not-too-distant-future.

Drag Challenge Weekend 2020 victor Ben Vlekken had gremlins to fight in his VH Commodore wagon, but still managed a 5.0-second eighth-mile. Ben’s PB is 4.86@150mph, which he’s hoping to beat at Jamboree with his boosted LS combo.

Another DCW warrior, Daniel Ward, sent his budget-built LS-powered VG Valiant to a PB of 5.59@125mph.

Dusty Benson’s killer VC sleeper was on running on rails and nailed three PBs over the course of testing, including a 5.22.

Tony Webb’s “James Brown” LX Torana notched up a best of 4.40@170mph over the Sydney eighth, running back-to-back 1.1-second 60ft times.

Steve Bezzina’s insane leaf-sprung, 481X-powered XW had a big weekend. “To start with, we had a hot, slippery track,” said Steve. “Then we had a really good track and started doing massive power wheestands. While we were trying to manage that, we ran a PB of 4.40 seconds, which would translate to a mid-six over the quarter-mile. We’re pumped for Jamboree!”

Harley Hamilton’s Fox-body Mustang made its debut three-second pass on Friday night, recording a 3.992@193mph. It also became the first standard-suspension car in the country to achieve a three-second ET.

Rob Chaplin’s stunning new Camaro is one of the prettiest radial cars around. It’s mean too, packing a nitrous-assisted 665ci Chev donk, Holley EFI, and 275-wide radial meats. Rob was able to license on the weekend and record a 1.16-second 60ft, before transmission woes stopped further progress.

Peter Haravitsidis’s XY – a Drag Challenge vet and Street Machine‘s October 2020 cover car – set a new PB of 6.13@113mph on Saturday. The car runs an EFI 440-cube Windsor, backed by a Powerglide.

While Steve Carkeet’s CUMN4U HQ struggled to hook up on the strip, the team still walked away with a 5.56-second pass. “No PBs, unfortunately, but that’s racing,” said Steve.

We’ve seen Shannon Reeves compete at Drag Challenge in his tough Fairlane, but at Kenda he was licensing in his nitrous-assisted 588-cube Fox-body Mustang. Running on 235 radials, the Muzzy has a PB of 4.82 seconds to its name.

A new Australian 275 Outlaw record was set by Terry Androutsos, with his and Nathan Farrugia’s Mazda RX-3 achieving a 4.15@186mph.

Simon O’Carrol’s 648ci, nitrous-assisted Torana has a best of 4.57@155mph to its name so far, with a best 60ft time of 1.10 seconds.