JKLHYD VL Calais wins Northern Nats Grand Champion

Lee and Anna Povey’s twin-turbo VL Calais has gone from strength to strength

Photographers: Ashleigh Wilson

Since we met Lee and Anna Povey at Red CentreNATS #7, their tough VL Holden Calais has got better and better as an all-round show and go car. And today they reached the pinnacle of their achievements so far, taking out the Grand Champion gong at Northern Nats 2024. Along the way, the VL also nabbed the roll racing win and set the best ET and MPH marks. All despite detonating an engine midway through the comp!

Lee was understandably stoked at the win: “It’s awesome! We were up there in the points at Red CentreNATS last year, but didn’t quite get the cake, so to win here at Northern Nats is awesome.”

“I have to thank Anna, Kon my tuner, the boys from Spot On Performance, Troy from Warspeed and everyone who helped me fix the car over the weekend with the various breakages [laughs]. Now we get ready for Kenda in Mackay in a month or so.”

Hailing from Mt Isa in Queensland’s Gulf Country region, Lee and Anna aren’t afraid of a big drive. They’ve been to all sorts of tracks and events, including a massive 2500km haul down to the Holden Nationals in 2022.

The VL cracked the seven-second zone last year to the tune of 7.54-seconds at 183mph at Willowbank last year, followed by the car’s current PB of 7.439 at 188mph at the Sydney Dragway Jamboree last month. The car’s best time this weekend was a 7.951-secs at 184mph.

Lee and Anna have been building up to today’s win for a while. At last year’s Northern Nats, the VL took out the roll racing competition, got the fastest MPH award and took home the best presented gong.

They followed that up with a win in the 8-8.99 class of the Heavy Hitter drags at Red CentreNATS 2023, as well as giving the RCN Grand Champion title a fair shake.

Congrats on a well-earned win, guys!

The story to here, 3 September 2021


We spied Lee and Anna Povey’s VL Calais in the Macca’s car park at Red CentreNATS #7, its pearl blue paint still managing to pop under the dreary grey skies of a rare rainy day in Alice. At first glance it looks like many other VLs rolling along on 20-inch Simmons, but as soon as the bonnet goes up and you stroll in for a closer look, that’s when it reveals its secrets.

Lee and Anna hail from Mt Isa and will be putting the Calais to the test in the Heavy Hitter drags at Alice Springs Inland Raceway tonight.

Bought as a rolling shell, the car already had some decent street cred, running well into the nines with RB30 power, but Lee had other plans that involved an LS Next block and heads from Dart that had previously been screwed together by Warspeed. The block and heads were all that was salvageable from a previous VL Calais that Lee had built, which tragically burnt to the ground, but sometimes, from adversity comes great things.

Thanks to the crew at Spot On Performance & Fabrication, the already tough VL got stepped up several notches, with a custom engine bay featuring a smoothed firewall and fabricated tubs that free up a lot of space in the engine bay thanks to the Rod Shop front-end that replaced the factory strut set up. The twin GTX 4202 turbos are mounted low behind the front bumper and the pipework and plumbing was also expertly handled by Spot On.

You’ll notice that’s a lot of motor to fit under a stock bonnet with no hint of a reverse cowl and that’s largely due to the Velocity Engineering dry sump allowing the engine to sit a fair bit lower. Velocity also supplied the beautiful intake manifold that sports a Plazmaman throttlebody. Moving back, there’s a Turbo 400 built by Paul Rogers and a 9-inch that’s narrowed to fit the 20×12 rims and 345/25 rubber under the mini-tubbed rear.

After a two year build it was time to see if all the time and effort was worth it, and after just two outings at the dragstrip, the car has run a best – so far – of 8.2 @ 166mph! That’s in full street trim with a full exhaust weighing in at 3542lb (1610kg) without the driver. Plans are to get the car to run a seven in its current trim before turning up the wick a bit and going on a bit of a diet.

The car’s current PB makes Lee a cinch for the the 8.000 – 8.999 Heavy Hitters bracket, which goes down tonight. The racing runs heads-up, on a pro tree and in Chicago Shootout format. If Lee can hook up on the ASID surface, he should be in with a shout at grabbing a decent wad of cash. Good luck, mate!