35-day Summernats Fairlane build

When Matt Ball needed a hand finishing his ZH Fairlane in time for what might have been his final Summernats, his family and friends did not let him down

Photographers: Shaun Tanner, Ash Wilson

Matt Ball bought this ZH Fairlane off his best mate last year with the plan of building it into a tough streeter for the ’Nats.

“We started stripping it down, but in September I started feeling a bit crook and ended up with the shock diagnosis of secondary cancer in various parts of my body, with a pretty bad prognosis,” Matt said.

“After a few weeks of hospital stays, operations and treatment, I started to feel a little bit better and decided to have a crack at finishing the car for the ’Nats, since it was going to be my last chance.”

An army of Matt’s mates, family and workmates rallied to get the ZH done in just 35 days! “It was incredible, and on top of that, my treatment worked better than expected, and I think I now have many more years ahead of me.”

We interviewed Matt at Summernats 35, check it out here

“I’ve got plenty of people to thank,” says Matt.

“My mate Tim Barby of MOJO fame said he would be happy to give the old girl a birthday and do a bit of rust repair and paint it. Naturally, he found way more rust than we thought. But between him, his dad Garry and son Jackson, they achieved the unachievable in just two weeks.

“Once I got it back, me and my best mate Dayton Knight started putting it back together,” Matt continued. “We built the mismatched 2V, closed-chamber 351 out of parts I’ve collected over the years. It was a massive undertaking, because I am currently going through chemo, and the side effects straight after have been affecting my hands and ability to use tools. But with the incredible help of Dayton, we got it together and running.

“Another mate, Jake Phillips at JP Industry Solutions, shortened my diff at the drop of a hat and has been an unreal support, happy to help out at any time needed.

“Matt Garner and Ricky Edwards at the Portland Exhaust Centre put together a wicked system with four-into-one extractors, with a three-inch outlet into a twin three-inch system with X-pipe and Flowmaster Super 40 mufflers with dump pipes before the diff.

“Then it was up to Brad Frost to get it ready for rego,” Matt continued. “He and the lads at Portland Mechanical Services have been bloody awesome. The late nights there setting up the tunnel rams and a last-minute diff have been brilliant. The lads have been kept running on beer and pizza.

“Davey Boreham has been a workhorse, from running it out to Bob Braune’s SuperTune to cutting the hole in the bonnet and every little job in between. He’s been a superstar.

“Kris Winterfield and his partner Emma at Gambier Kustom Autos were a massive help. They organised the wheels at a moment’s notice and have been a call away if anything was needed.

“Thanks to Higgo for smashing out my tailshaft on New Year’s Day. Even my work crew D-shift Potrooms rallied to raise some coin to get me to Canberra – just incredible.

“Thanks to my brother Fraggle for keeping me sane and getting me through the final push, and Rod Carey for saving the day more than once. My sister Jess and her husband Tyson have been fantastic and put their hands up to tow the car up to Canberra.

“Thanks to my ever-impressive mumsy, Lynnie-babes for riding shotgun on a 1000km day trip to pick up my trans, and finally my partner Danielle, who has been bloody fantastic. She has been the ultimate support, trying to keep me in line and telling me to rest and take it easy. How lucky am I?”