Street Outlaws versus Australia Perth wrap up

The Street Outlaws: No Prep Kings juggernaut hits the Perth Motorplex, with Aussie racers facing a tough weekend against the US invaders

Photographers: Jordan Leist

Discovery Channel’s Street Outlaws: No Prep Kings has landed in Australia, kicking off with two days of no-prep, eighth-mile racing at Perth Motorplex. Ten personalities from the hit US series brought along mostly small-tyre cars to race against some of our biggest names. Thursday was for testing, with racing kicking off on the Friday.

The event itself was divided into two sections. The Street Outlaws stars took on the Aussie racers chosen by Discovery Channel, while big- and small-tyre classes raced amongst themselves on 6.0- and 7.0-second indexes.

As per the Street Outlaws norm, grudge racing against the Americans was negotiated in an effort to create parity between small- and big-tyre cars. Some racers were granted a ‘back tyre’ advantage, in which they were allowed to stage with their rear tyres on the startline instead of the fronts.

The biggest talking point was the Friday-night showdown between Jeff Lutz’s twin-turbo GTO and John Zappia’s ‘Zap’s Rat’ Monaro. Pre-race negotiations saw Lutz given the ‘hit’ on Zappia, meaning the latter couldn’t move until he saw Lutz leave first. He held the Aussie challenger on the line for five seconds after the green light showed, before taking the win. Zappia looked promising in their second race of the night, but broke loose and got out of the throttle, granting Lutz two for two. While these negotiations are commonplace on Street Outlaws, they were something of a foreign concept to many local punters, which led to some robust discussion online.

By the end, the visitors tallied 28 wins to the locals’ six. Even so, many of the Aussies were stoked just to take part, including Glen van Dongen, who lined up his Chevy Nova against Justin Swanstrom’s Fox-body Mustang.

Transmission problems left van Dongen’s car without reverse gear despite his crew’s efforts, and he left off the foot brake on too-cold tyres thanks to a small burnout. Swanstrom ran away with the win, but van Dongen was stoked to simply get a run. “We raced the rock stars of our sport, and for a few days, we all got to feel like a rock star too,” he enthused.

The biggest local underdog win was taken by Phil Rowles in his all-steel, ProCharged small-block Mazda RX-4 in the last race of the night. Having sat out the main show on Friday, he lined up against ‘Disco Dean’ Karns’s ‘Stinky Pinky’ Chevelle.

“It was a massive eye-opener,” Phil said. “Some of the negotiations were taking 10 or 15 minutes each just to agree how to race. Disco had seen my car, and when he knew I wanted to race him, I just heard, ‘Where is he? Where’s Phil?’ He was brilliant about it. He said, ‘You’ve got big tyres, I’ve got small tyres, but you’ve got a small engine and I’ve got a big engine. Screw it, let’s lock it in!’ So, my negotiation took about 30 seconds.”

Phil broke loose on his first $2000 race against Disco, but a random chip draw saw the pair head to a $5000 rematch. “I decided to keep into it, even though she was starting to wander in the back end,” said Phil. “I crossed the line and threw the ’chute to pull the car straight, and then realised I’d gotten past him in time. From nearly packing up that morning to winning the final and getting a payday at the same time, it was a real rollercoaster day for us.”

The other Aussies who managed wins included Adrian Hynes, who beat Swanstrom’s Mustang in his stunning HG ute; Roger Moorhouse’s HR ute defeating Lizzy Musi; and Connor Begley in the BLKOUT LX Torana vanquishing Shawn Ellington’s OG Murder Nova.

Connor McClure also beat out both Ellington and Swanstrom in his big-tyre Slime Time III Torry.

Zappia returned to make Ellington’s weekend even tougher, hosing down the latter’s Nova in Zap’s Rat.

There was more than a little carnage surrounding the event. Three-time No Prep Kings champion Ryan Martin found the left-hand wall in his ’69 Camaro during testing at the Motorplex. Martin walked away unscathed, with the car undergoing repairs at Sydney’s Moits Motorcars (pictured below) for its appearance at Willowbank.

Darryl Maxfield of Junkman Motorsports offered Martin the use of his own Pro Line-powered Camaro, though with the car proving fixable, Martin opted to borrow Maxfield’s hard-to-find carbonfibre front clip instead.

Rocco Salvo also had a bad day, pinballing off both walls in his third-gen Camaro (pictured below) but coming out unhurt.

Unfortunately, the damage didn’t end with the racing. Robin Roberts’s ‘High Voltage’ ’68 Firebird suffered considerable bruising when its transporter truck rolled in WA’s Wheatbelt region.

The car bounced around hard enough to dent the shipping container’s roof, but fellow racer Scott Taylor helped extricate it without further damage, and Roberts and his crew got the battered Firebird started the next day in readiness for a Willowbank charge.

WA legend Simon Travaglini had a tough couple of days after thrashing hard to get his BA Falcon Doorslammer ready for the meeting, starting with a brand-new Lenco oil pump failure that necessitated an overnight trans rebuild prior to testing.

This was followed by disaster when firing the car up on Friday, with the blower ingesting the burst panel! This meant pulling the blower and heads off for repairs.

After sorting a few more gremlins, Simon went out for his match race with Robin Roberts and got a holeshot off the line, only for the car to start to turn left, forcing Gonzo to lift and concede victory.

The Willowbank round kicks off tomorrow, and the thought is the Queensland racers may be better prepared to deal with the pre-race negotitions than those in Perth. Some of the locals have more experience with no-prep racing as well, including Matt Loy, who has run his own no-prep events at Warwick Dragway and will be competing in his ballistic LX hatch.

And compatriot Justin Simpson has designed his ‘Kryptonite’ Monaro specifically to be a no-prep weapon.

In Sydney, we’ve got Tristan Ockers in Milan Ozegovic’s 940ci Torana, Danny Makdessi in his ‘Devil’s Taxi’ Valiant, Mark Hayes’s LC Torana, the Mansweto Racing Team’s Capri and more set to do battle with the Yanks, so awesome racing is assured.

The final round at Calder Park goes down 17-19 March, so get your backsides trackside and watch the rivalry continue!