Kenda Radial Riot 2019

Aussie radial racing hits a new high-water mark at the Kenda Radial Riot

Photographers: Dave Reid, Chez Prior

THE Kenda Radial Riot meeting at Willowbank Raceway this Saturday was very likely the greatest radial drag event ever held in Australia. With a star-studded line-up of cars, promoters Justin Simpson and Scott Harker threw everything at the event, and the results spoke for themselves.

This was just the second Radial Riot, with entrant numbers up from 148 to 165. A great element of this event is the seeding system, where every final sees a racer from the top half of the field race a car from the bottom half, unlike the regular process of the number-one qualifier taking on the lowest-seeded qualifier.

To add some extra spice to proceedings, the promoters ran a $15,000 shootout on the Friday night before the meeting proper. $5000 was on offer to the winners of Outlaw Radial, Outlaw 275 and Outlaw 235, with Wade Wagstaff, Steve Bezzina and Michael Della taking out the cream.

The track preparation was incredible, with famed US track prep king Kurt Johnson flown in. As a result, records tumbled and PBs were had from early in the day.

After some incredible qualifying times, Wade Wagstaff posted a stunning 3.90@197mph in the opening round of racing, followed by successive PBs and records, with a weekend best of [email protected].

6boost CamaroThe race of the event was surely the match-up between the hard-charging Wagstaff and Kyle Hopf’s 6boost Camaro, driven by Terry Seng, which saw the first side-by-side three-second radial pass in Australian history. It was classic radial racing, with both cars fitted with Aussie-built billet Noonan Hemi engines – Wagstaff with a PSI supercharger and Seng with 98mm Garrett turbos. There was very little in it; 3.859 to Wagstaff at 196.53mph and [email protected] to Seng on what was probably the 10th full pass for the car.

Stuart Henry was pulling out all the stops, flying in Kevin Neal, a three-time Lights Out winner and former owner of his stunning Fox-body, to help with his preparation. At the maiden meeting for the Vortech-equipped 572ci-powered car, Stuart claimed the title of the quickest 275 car in Australia with a blistering [email protected] pass.

Ben Bray CorvetteAfter some trash talk on the interwebs about driving a Hyundai in Sports Compact, Ben Bray decided to throw his hat into the ring and strap a set of radials to his Corvette ’Slammer. Despite having had fewer than 10 passes in the car, Ben became the first in Australia to run over 200mph with a 3.95 ET in just the fourth pass of Kenda racing.

It was a killer weekend for the Westend Performance team; Simon Kryger ran a PB of 4.34 in his nitrous Torana against Craig Hewitt’s blown and injected Hemi-powered Monaro. Kryger also cemented himself in the number-one spot as Australia’s quickest nitrous car. Hewitt’s Monaro, meanwhile, just goes from strength to strength, with a recent win at Grudge Kings in Sydney and a series of PBs culminating in a 4.16@171mph against Kryger.

Kenda Radial RiotWhat separates this event from so many others is the excellent camaraderie between racers. Everyone is keen to see their fellow competitors do their best, donating a set of tyres or shocks to a racer who needs them, or offering a word of advice or encouragement. While the crowd numbers weren’t huge, the event is still in its early stages of development. One thing’s for sure: Simpson, Harker and the racers have delivered the entertainment and a world-class event. Next year’s series will be huge, with unconfirmed whispers that the first round will be in Sydney.

Kenda Radial RiotRandall Laurie in the blown and injected LJ Torana, MR NUTS, produced the longest and highest wheelstands of the year, with all four wheels off the ground! The extent of the damage is unknown, but it was spectacular to watch

Kenda Radial RiotThere seems to be no stopping Nathan Farrugia, who has recently ditched the twin-turbo LS in his RX-3 coupe in favour of a twin-turbo big-block Chev. The move looks to be paying off if his incredible 4.26@181mph at Kenda is anything to go by

Kenda Radial RiotLorenzo Gullotto’s VL always impresses, but sadly the Kenda meet was the end of an era, as the car now moves on to a new owner. Jeff Johnson and the boys from Streetbuilt Racing made the long haul over from Western Australia, and with 57psi of boost (pre-cooler), Lorenzo ran [email protected] mph, which calculates to 2245hp!

Kenda Radial RiotThe king of the show was certainly Wade Wagstaff’s Noonan-powered 1957 Chev, which had been shipped straight from the USA, where it had run in the Radial vs The World meet at Valdosta, Georgia. The car had run 3.79 in the States, and backed that up with a record-shattering 3.82 at Willowbank in much warmer conditions

Photographers: Dave Reid, Chez Prior