Super Seven: Northern Nats 2024

Seven of our favourite rides from Northern Nats 2024

Photographers: Ashleigh Wilson

Big street machine events usually have a thousand tales to tell. We can’t tell them all, but we give it a shot! Here are seven cars with a story to tell from Northern Nats 2024.


Nate Tabone made his first trip from Richmond west of Sydney to Northern Nats west of Cairns in 2023. Nate loved Northern Nats and has plans to make the two and a half day drive every year. “Northern Nats is the best car event in Australia,” Nate commented, “the people, the staff, the climate, the venue… it is worth the drive.” Nate also loves his 1984 TG Gemini which has a cast LQ9 block drinking methanol, with a 6/71 blower, all mated up to a Turbo 350 gearbox and a 9in diff.

To make the mighty Gemini stand out a little bit more, Nate welded up the rear doors to give it a two door coupe feel. Nate is a regular competitor at events throughout the southern states but has yet to take home a trophy. His next planned car to build will either be another Gemini or a Mighty Boy.


Antony Price couldn’t finish his VC Commodore in time for Northern Nats so he gave his good mate Angelo Tudini a call to ask to borrow his 1972 four door HQ. Being the top bloke that he is, Angelo agreed to leave Antony unsupervised at the wheel of his favourite race car with a 430ci donk.

Angelo had only had two track days before Northern Nats setting his own PB run with a 9.01 seconds. With Antony in the drivers seat, the orange weapon laid down its first 8 second pass with an ET of 8.995 seconds at 148.66 miles per hour. Rumour has it, that if Antony made it into the 8 second club he would marry his long time girlfriend Kayla. Street Machine is looking forward to an invite to that wedding.


Pat LePlastrier had a terrible tale to tell in 2018 when he destroyed his beloved blue 1971 XY and left it in shambles. Most people would have sold it off for parts but not Pat. He tore the big girl down and rebuilt her from the ground up. The new build included a 393 Windsor with FiTech EFI, a 150 shot of Nitrous, a C4 gearbox, a 9 inch diff, Truetrac coil overs and Willwood brakes.

These days the big Ford is a regular on the roads of Far North Queensland and a staunch competitor at Springmount Raceway. Pat was all smiles on the weekend pushing out a best elapsed time of 11.1 seconds over the quarter mile.


Renee Rees is Mad Keen on all things burnouts making the trip from Charters Towers to Northern Nats to throw her big pink VY one tonner with the LS1 under the bonnet around the Springmount Raceway burnout pad. Renee took home the trophy for best female driver on the weekend and credits her success to her partner Kyran who built the car for her. “The best thing about burnouts is the people, it is all about the people” Renee told us.

Renee is a regular at burnout competitions in North Queensland spending her weekends traveling to pads everywhere between Cairns and Mackay. Her first competition skid was at Northern Nats 07 last year when her ute was stock. Since then Kyran has added plenty of fruit to the big girl including a twin throttle body set up, high rise manifold, and a custom pink paint job. Renee has her sights set on Red Centre Nats and Rocky Nats in 2025 with plans to give the pink machine a new tune, a new exhaust and extractors.


Local Mareeba real estate agent Rino Gava always wanted a street car that he could race.  His dark blue split bumper Chevy Camaro seems a little over the top for a street car but it makes Rino happy.  

Originally imported from California with a 572ci under the bonnet, the big muscle car landed in Brisbane for a son to race, but the son lost interest (yeah we don’t know how either) and so it was sold on to Mick Hooper in Perth.

Mick noticed the car was set up for a chute and figured it had been a quick car in her day.  He took the Camaro to the track and raced it for a few years but became very ill so he parked it up in the shed where it sat for nearly three years.  Unfortunately Mick died and his widow put the race car up for sale.

Springmount Raceway GM, Michael spotted the Camaro for sale and knew Rino was looking for a beast to race.  They shipped the car back by sea from Perth to Queensland where Rino stepped straight into the drivers seat at Springmount Raceway.  The 572ci and T400 combo delivered a respectable 10.4 second pass but of course Rino wanted to go faster.

With a little help from his friends, Rino dropped a Tremaniac-built 632 tall deck Chevy motor in the engine bay to make 950 ponies at the fly wheel.  This 2024 season is the first season with the new build and Northern Nats 08 saw Rino hit a new PB with a 9.2 second pass at 144 miles per hour.  Rino thinks there is still plenty more in it.  Through a giant grin Rino commented, “I love the Northern Nats and Springmount Raceway, not only for the racing side and the amazing facility; it’s such a great place to meet and catch up with so many amazing  people from near and far. Such a great social event.”


Springmount Raceway like many motorsport tracks is dependent on a community of supporters who love racing and give their time and energy to make events like Northern Nats a reality.  A regular at Springmount Raceway, Trent Vidler takes care of the electrical work between race meets but on race day he is in the driver’s seat of his Commodore ute.  

With a L98 engine swap and a Trimatic gear box the black ute is understated, but fast. Trent ran a 11.62 second PB over the weekend at 122 miles per hour.  We know he will be back for the next round of the track championship to improve that time further still.


General Manager of Springmount Raceway, Michael Gonzales was a gear head long before he was a GM.  His shed at home is filled with an assortment of prime Aussie muscle cars. but the one that has a sentimental soft spot for him is his Choc Top.  The 1980 VC Commodore SL/E is what Michael calls Proper Wog Spec with velour trim and gold Simmons wheels.  The colour combination of dark Carmine over a Firethorn red is one of the rarest options ever produced by Holden and a much sought after paint scheme.

When Michael first bought the car from Perth in 2017, it had a 355ci with a T400 and ran a reliable 11.4 second pass on street registration.  Michael tore the car down and dropped a 418ci LSA with a two speed power glide and a 2650 Kong blower giving her 1,000 horses at the rear wheel. Om 275 Pro Radials in street trim, the VC will run a 8.92 second pass at 155 miles per hour.

Michael snuck in a little time in Choc Top on the weekend to try his hand at the Northern Nats Roll Racing. He recently converted the race car back to street cruiser by removing the chute and the roll cage.  Future plans for Choc Top include dropping some of the horsepower and enjoying more street cruising.