Northern Nats 2024: day one

Seven killer rides to watch for at Northern Nats 2024

Photographers: Ashleigh Wilson

Friday at Northern Nats 08 kicked off with some much needed drag racing action in the hills behind Cairns. With only a test and tune this season for Springmount Raceway faithfulls, the premier motorsport event of Northern Queensland put plenty of racers in the drivers seat.

Come sundown, the first round of the Open and Pro Burnouts kicked off in spectacular style!

The next two days promise to be massive, check out the program here and stay tuned for more coverage.

Scott’s 72AGRO HQ ute

The sticker in the back window states “Shiny Paint Causes Stress” but Scott Walsh did not look stressed at all as the HQ ute ran an 11.7 second pass down the quarter mile. The patinated ute boasted a neat set of venetian blinds and a mild 308. Traveling from Mackay with a car load of mates for their first Northern Nats, the whole crew were having a blast with plenty of wishes that they had also brought their cars.

Steve’s RACE 01 LH Torana

Not so long ago at the Townsville roll racing event, a very clean white LH Torana was spotted with a super tidy 408ci LS sporting a single turbo.  It caught the eye of plenty of car lovers including us. This week Shane Reid brought it out for it’s first official race day with his son Steven behind the wheel.  Plenty of people will know Shane who recently competed at Rocky Nats with his yellow Torana RACE 00. The Reid family bought the white Torana out of Melbourne and tinkered with it a little before letting it loose at Springmount Raceway on Friday.  At 133 miles per hour, Steven made a 10.1 second pass at Northern Nats 08.  As the driver and the car get to know each other better, we look forward to seeing what numbers they can lay down this weekend.

Murray Sutherland and the XD Falcon

Murray Sutherland found himself bored in his Townsville shed recently and so began working on his passion project, a big white XD sedan. With a 351 Cleveland under the bonnet, the Falcon is a prime example of old school, super clean Ford. Murray is proud of the car and how reliably it is running, not only entering it in the racing but also the and shine. This weekend is the first chance for the XD to stretch it’s legs on the quarter mile putting down a solid 16 second pass for the initial outing. Murray will continue to tweak the big Cleveland hoping to improve those times by Sunday afternoon.

“SPIT ROAST” Bob Conley and HQ One Tonner (Big Bobby’s Chicken Racing)

The Far North Queensland drag racing scene has a few stalwart characters and Bob Conley is one of those. Owner of Cairns Performance Parts, Bob has been a part of almost every racer’s story at Springmount Raceway. From selling parts, providing advice, or filling the role of mentor, Bob has attended almost every event at Springmount Raceway since the gates first opened. In recent years Bob has climbed behind the steering wheel of his one tonner ute to finally enjoy the sport he has been
passionate about for so long. Just one week before Northern Nats 08, the 427 small block Chev was on the garage workshop floor being built before being plumbed into the engine bay of the orange Holden. Bob was pretty happy with the ute pushing out 10.8 second runs

“HRD74” Chris Borzi and the XB Hardtop

The Ringbrothers commented that they would like to take an old school hardtop home to Wisconsin, one look at Chris Borzi’s sleek green machine and we completely understand why. Cruising out of Cairns for Northern Nats this weekend, Chris ran a 12.38 at 114 miles per hour down the Springmount Raceway track. While slinging the behemoth down the quarter mile for a 12 second run is impressive, Chris points out the that 393ci donk is mated to a six speed manual gear box making him far more of a pilot than the standard steering wheel attendant. The 2 door hardtop is racing, cruising and sitting on show in all her shiny glory this weekend.

“GASSER” Dave Norman and the Willy’s Gasser

A stand out in any crowd is Dave Norman and his little Willy’s Gasser ute. Based out of Cairns, the Far North Queensland local is a regular at Springmount Raceway. While the paint work and attention to detail could lead you to believe that the little beast is a work of art and more trailer queen than race car, the 350ci small block Chev donk punches out an impressive 11.2 second quarter mile.

“BAD565” Noah Schefe and the Chevelle

Every race day seems to have at least one hard luck story. The first day of racing at Northern Nats 08 gave the hard luck story to Noah and his mates traveling with his big bad Chevelle.

It was 10pm on Thursday night that the Townsville based lads decided to pack their bags and head North, almost 5 hours to compete at Springmount Raceway on the Friday. Noah headed to the trailer hire shop to pick up a rental trailer to get the Chevelle on the road. By midnight the lads were in convoy and heading North on the Bruce Highway for a weekend of drag racing action.

At about 3am, the bearings on the wheel of the rental trailer packed it in and the lads had to come up with a plan B. They parked the trailer at the turn off, unloaded the blue beast and drove her the rest of the way to the track. But the drama didn’t end there. Noah rang the rental company to advise them to pick up their trailer and to send a replacement. Unfortunately when the rental company arrived to pick up the trailer at the turn off, it was not there to be found. Now the lads are without a trailer to get home and
they are trying to find the rental which seems to have been stolen. In true North Queensland fashion, the trailer debacle has not deterred the lads. The LS powered Chevelle headed down the track to record a 10.22 second elapsed time and a whole lot of smiles. Two more days of racing, and if the trailer problem can’t be solved, the 10 second Chevelle will need to back up 3 days of racing with a 5 hour drive home.