Holden HQ GTS Monaro ready for Drag Challenge Weekend 2020

Street Machine photographer Rick Welch is ready for Drag Challenge Weekend 2020 in his HQ Monaro

Photographers: Chris Thorogood, Ellen Dewar, Rick Welch, Nathan Jacobs

STREET Machine photographer and all-round good guy Rick Welch has been around the Drag Challenge circus since its genesis, working as both a photographer and first aid officer at the first running of DC in 2014.

“I really enjoyed doing the first year, but being a FIFO worker means I’ve sadly missed all the other five-day events since then,” Rick says.

However, when we announced in 2018 we were bringing a shortened version of Drag Challenge to Queensland, the Toowoomba local jumped at the opportunity.

“When I found out it was coming up here there was no way in hell I was missing out!” he says.

His weapon of choice to take on the event is his 1973 HQ Monaro GTS. “It started life as a Glacier White Kinga six-banger. I found it in 2010 in Dalby, Queensland as a roller for $3K.”

Rick had the thing painted in Barbados Green, put in a houndstooth interior and then set about renovating the driveline. Up front is a 383ci small-block Chevy crate motor, built by Terry from Paramount Performance.

“It had a fair bit of junk on it when I first got it, so we threw most of that away,” says Rick. The basic rub is a set of flat-top pistons, 10:1 comp, 220 AFR heads, Edelbrock Super Victor intake manifold and a QuickFuel 850 carb drinking E85. The donk has mostly been street tuned, with Rick quoting around 380rwhp from the mill.

Backing up the SBC is a Turbo 400 ’box sporting a transbrake and TCE 4200rpm converter. The rear end is a nine-incher with aggressive 4.11:1 rear gears to give Rick a decent holeshot out of the gate.

Rick has taken on both our 2018 and 2019 editions of Drag Challenge Weekend.

“It’s the best fun you can have with your mates, and it’s the best thing I’ve ever done besides getting married,” he says.

DCW 2019 was particularly successful, with the Monaro PB’ing on the final day back at Willowbank with an 11.35 @118mph.

For DCW 2020, Rick has made a few minor changes to the Quey.

“I had an Enemies Everywhere anti-roll bar kit fitted to the rear end by HBR Race Cages and Fabrication, and I recently swapped out the 255 radials for some 235s, which I tested at Warwick,” he says. “The car still hooked and we bettered the 60ft from a 1.7 to a 1.5, so I’ll be running the 235s at Drag Challenge Weekend this year.”

That means Rick will jump ship to the small-tyre Tuff Mounts 235 Aspirated class, but his main goal for the event is just to have a good time.

“I’m taking the wife this year, and I mainly just want to finish – but if I PB again and finish I’ll be over the moon!” he says.

You can see Rick and some of Australia’s toughest street cars duke it out at Drag Challenge Weekend in Queensland on 28-30 November, more info can be found here!

1973 Holden HQ Monaro GTS

Class: Tuff Mounts 235 Radial Aspirated
Engine: 383ci SBC
Transmission: TH400
Converter: TCE 4200rpm
Diff: 9in, 4.11:1 gears
Power: 380rwhp
Drag Challenge PB: 11.35@118mph