Video: Hardass 1000 invades Wilby Park Raceway

The super-chilled drag 'n' drive reaches one of Australia's best party tracks


Day two of the Hardass 1000 saw entrants complete a dedicated drive day between Heathcote Park Raceway and Wilby Motorsport Park, as Harry Haig and Ryan Ford took us on a significant (but beautiful) detour through twisting mountain roads on the outskirts of Victoria’s High Country.

Harry also challenged entrants to dress up for the drive route on Tuesday. We got The Wiggles, The Justice League, the Blues Brothers and, uh, a few more choice outfits in the mix.

To get to the final stop in Yarrawonga, we had to pass through Euroa, Bonnie Doon, Mansfield and Oxley. As intermittent thunderstorms and rain started to hit, we reached the first checkpoint at MOVE (Museum of Vehicle Evolution) just outside Shepparton. If you’ve never been to MOVE, do yourself a favour – it’s a cracker!

The dark clouds played cat-and-mouse with the convoy all day, making for unpredictable conditions that always seem to crop up on drag ‘n’ drives. It gave plenty of entrants a reason to take advantage of the many pubs along the way, and wait out the soggy weather.

Day three at Wilby Park Raceway’s country eighth-mile drag strip was like stepping back into the glory days of simple, grassroots drag racing. It’s long been one of our favourite party tracks and is in better shape than ever.

No glue or timing boards on a skinny track in the middle of a paddock is about as old-school as it gets, but there were no complaints to be heard, and it matched the philosophy of this event perfectly.

As expected, many tyres were turned on the cold surface early on, but with a bit more heat and seat time it all started to come together for the faster guys as the track came alive.

Evil Dread!

Ryan and Larry Palmer’s XF wagon-based hearse is a less-familiar sight at a dragstrip. Found on eBay in Warwick, Queensland, the boys just couldn’t say no to it. With 250 crossflow power it’s no rocket ship, but the extended wagon body makes for plenty of room for all their camping gear.


Phil Whitford’s 1969 HK Belmont windowless panel van is one my of my personal favourites of the week. The 186 has been trucking the pano along nicely all week, and Phil has been doing it properly camping out the back each night.

Street cred!

Pat Shaw travelled all the way down from Canungra, Queensland to take part in the Hardass. He had a ball at Wilby, throwing the V8 VL down the ‘strip all day.

They call me Bruce

SM Drag Challenge veteran Bruce Howie hit hard luck the second he slipped his foot off the clutch, stripped the diff gears in his nitrous-huffing XL ute on his first launch of the day.

He got a spare set of highway gears in, only to find the Jerico four-speed was locked up. After a moment of reflection, the boys pulled the ‘box out and found first gear was toast. They deleted it and slammed the box back in, Howie limping the XL down the track from a second-gear start to keep himself in the show. What a champion!

A bunch of the top-runners managed to squeeze themselves into the sixes by day’s end, loving the challenge of Wilby’s basic surface.

Today is another drive day via several checkpoints back to Heathcote Park Raceway; we’ll then see another two days of racing action on Friday and Saturday. Catch you then!