PERFORMANCE Car Mania returned to Winton Raceway last weekend for three fun-packed days of smoke-filled mayhem. A variety of driving events, including powerskids, drag racing, burnouts and plenty of track time on the circuit, saw carloads of mates smoking the tyres.
After 10 years, PCM still has its original laidback and relaxed country atmosphere, and with the redevelopments to the track facilities over the past decade, Winton is now a first-class facility, with a great pit area and plenty of shed space available to competitors. There was no prize money on offer, just bragging rights for those that came out on top in the competition events.
A bumper crowd turned out to watch the Saturday arvo heads-up drag racing. It was a hotly contested affair with genuine eight-second quarter-mile street cars fighting for traction and battling the bumps on an un-prepped short track of around 200 metres. In the final it came down to reigning champ Mick Watts’s UTRIED Cortina against Justin Robinson’s big-block LX Torana, SKIDIT. Watto ended up coming out on top. “I was running him down at the end but just ran out of track,” Justin said. “He beat me by half a guard length at the finish line.”
Justin has run as quick as 9.2@156mph over the quarter-mile with the 555ci big block-powered Torry, and is a PCM regular. “I really like PCM,” he said. “The nature of the back-to-back runs in the drags means your car’s cooling and charging system has to be A1, and your car has to be fast. The track is also quite challenging, with limited traction and an undulating surface.”
On Sunday the powerskid event brought out the largest field of competitors all weekend, with Charles Gipp’s eardrum-bursting 20B turbo-powered Mazda RX-7 coming out on top over Shane D’Amato’s LS-powered VS Commodore ute. Shane took the win in Sunday morning’s burnout competition, though – albeit over a heavily depleted field; by that time the weekend’s track carnage had taken its toll on several of the listed finalists!
ANGRYT is Cameron Jones’s pride and joy. The 403ci LS-powered HT has already run a 10-second quarter-mile, with more to come. “I’m hoping to get it into the nines soon,” Cameron said. “I like to bring it to events like PCM and ECM [Easter Car Mania] for the track time and the powerskids.”
Kyle Foster’s uncle owned this HG Premier back in the late 80s. “I used to drive it as a kid,” he said. “It had a 253 and three-on-the-tree in it back then. I kept track of it after my uncle sold it, and after it had passed through several sets of hands I finally bought it back off a mate a few years ago.” The paint was done in the 80s and still looks great, but the car now runs an owner-built blown 355ci VN-headed Holden motor.
Matt Watts and his blown six-cylinder LJ Torana had an unlucky end to the weekend when the throttle jammed wide open doing a powerskid down the front straight, sending him flying off through the sand trap and into the. Both driver and passenger walked away unharmed, but the LJ didn’t fare so well and is up for some major repairs.
Mitch Ward came down from Sydney to enjoy some track time in his recently built XT Fairmont. The trim is all original but the painted patina is new. “I bought it as a stocker with a 302 and auto,” Mitch said. “It’s now got a 465ci small-block with a full-manual C4 auto and nine-inch with Moser axles. I’m looking forward to getting out and smashing a few sets of tyres.”
Newcomer to the burnout scene, Emilio Williams, had his blown big-block Monaro on-song and heading for the win, but he clipped the tyre barrier, which took it out of contention.
Justin Robinson’s Torana is powered by a methanol-fed 555ci big-block Chev, and started life as “a dead-stock humble little four-cylinder Sunbird I bought from an elderly gentleman at a local retirement village for the princely sum of $300. It’s come a long way since then,” Justin laughed.
Tim Rhone has owned his XP hardtop for over 20 years. “I’ve had it since I was 17,” he confirmed. “It was even a feature car in Street Machine Fords mag back in the day. These days it’s running a pair of XR6 turbos on a 363 stroker, with a C4 and a 3.00:1-geared nine-inch with a Detroit Locker.” Making 386rwkW on the dyno at PCM, the car has gone as quick as 10.36@140mph down the quarter-mile. “This event is great fun,” Tim enthused. “Best part for us is the kids’ cruise – being able to take the kids out for a few laps and a bit of a skid is pretty cool.”
Pete Hamilton brought his green LS-powered VH Vacationer wagon down from the ACT for some track time and drag racing at PCM. The show-quality car is a genuine 10-second streeter, and Pete was spotted cruising sedately up the highway back to his motel 40km from Winton on Saturday night. “It’s great fun to drive and hasn’t missed a beat all weekend,” he said.
Scott Butcher has owned his white HK GTS Monaro since 1998. “It’s an original GTS,” he said. “I bought it from a school teacher in Echuca and rebuilt everything over the years. It’s got pretty traditional-styled running gear: blown 350, ’Glide and a nine-inch. It’s great fun to get it out onto tracks like this.”
Matt Murphy’s recently built orange pearl big block-powered HQ sedan is still sporting P-plates. “I can’t drive it on the street yet,” 22-year-old Matt said, “but I’ve already had it out to the drags and run 11s with it. It’s a 396ci with a 150-shot of gas.”
Flying the Ford flag amongst the gaggle of LS-powered cars in the burnout competition was Luke Hadfield’s six-litre supercharged XR8. It had no trouble shredding a set, even with a car full of mates in the finals.
While an LS motor conversion into a VK Commodore might not be anything unusual these days, running one on straight LPG, turbocharged and set up for drifting is definitely a different way of going about things. Matt Grice from Albury has only recently finished putting the car together and had it out for some fun on the track and burnout pad throughout the weekend.