TERRY Blanchard has been competing in Far North Queensland burnout comps in JOYRIDE, his LS1-powered ’77 Corolla, for three years now. We caught up with him at the recent Tropical Meltdown at Springmount Raceway to see what sparked his passion for frying tyres.
First published in the January 2021 issue of Street Machine. Photos: Ashleigh Wilson
Have you always been a car bloke?
I’ve been at the drag strip since I was nine months old. My family always had drag cars growing up. I inherited my dad’s first drag car that he raced when he was 16, an HK Kingswood. We bought it back 10 years ago and it ended up being my first drag car when I was 17. I drove that for a few years until I hurt the gearbox, but instead of spending the money to fix it, I bought the Corolla.
Tell us about JOYRIDE.
It’s a KE30 Corolla running an LS1 and a TH400. It’s got tubs, it’s ’caged, and it runs on E85. I bought it as a turn-key burnout car in 2017, but we smashed a gearbox and put the rods out both sides of the block. KTMR in Townsville built us the new engine. It has CNC heads and a custom Crow cam, tunnel ram, twin throttlebodies and EFI. We also put in a new gearbox and rewired the car.
How did the burnout scene catch your attention?
I had a couple of mates with burnout cars, and I was hanging around with Popeye [Andrew Pool], who drives IBLOWN. I was always riding passenger and decided I needed a car of my own. One of my mates has a pad in his backyard, so I started testing the car there, and now I enter all of the local Cairns competitions.
Any luck in recent comps?
Tropical Meltdown was a bit of a learning curve. We were about 800m above sea level in Mareeba, so I probably should have taken a bit of fuel out of it. I won first place in the V8 and Open classes at NQ Burnouts in Cairns the weekend before, and skidded in the Off-Tap Burnouts in Mackay and Northern Nats, where we had a few issues but a lot of fun.
Is racing still a family affair?
My son Xander has been at drags or burnouts since he was born, and my dad, Neil, is always out there throwing spanners for me. We decided we’re going to pull the nitrous 308 out of the Kingswood and go a turbo LS2 with LS3 heads, so I can race the Kingswood and Dad will be in his nitrous small-block Torana. It’s hard work, but you’ve got to work for what you want.