Charlie Dixon and Lachie Jones set to race at the Riverbend Nationals 

Port Adelaide footballers Charlie Dixon and Lachie Jones will compete in an exhibition Drag Race at The Bend on 7 April

Photographers: Chris Thorogood, Shaun Tanner

Dragway at the Bend has announced today that Port Adelaide footballers Charlie Dixon and Lachie Jones will face off in an exhibition Drag Race two days after their Friday Night Gather Round Clash against Essendon.

As part of the 5-7 April Riverbend Nationals, the pair Drag Challenge survivors will attend The Dragway at The Bend on Sunday 7 April for not only their first experience of 500km/h Top Fuel Drag Racing, but to duke it out in a drag race in front of another bumper crowd.

Charlie & Lachie will witness the fastest accelerating machines on earth for the first time at 11am on Sunday 7 April before taking to the track themselves at approximately 1p, on Sunday afternoon.

Both blokes competed in and completed Drag Challenge 2023. Charlie was behind the wheel of his CV8 Monaro, running a best of 9.75-seconds at 145mph in the Carnage 9.5 Radial class.

Lachie got his first taste of drag and drive action in his turbo-LS powered HJ Holden Premier, cracking a best of 10.84-seconds in Hare & Forbes DYO. Both guys enjoyed the full gamut of the Drag Challenge experience – skids on the track, mixed in with some mechanical mayhem out on the road.

However, Charlie and Lachie will be leaving their own rides at home for the Riverbend Nationals. Instead, the boys will be racing in a 2023 Hyundai I30N is normally employed in the driver experience program on the main circuit and a 2018 Ford Mustang V8, which was original safety car at the main circuit and is destined to become the donor car for Dragway experiences.

The format will be a best of three grudge race. There will be a coin toss (like a footy match) the winner will then choose which car they start in. They will do a run then swap cars and race again. If the tie breaker is required they will rock, paper scissors with the winner getting to choose their car for the decider.

Given the Mustang tested as a mid to high 12-second car from new and the i30N does mid 13s, the lads should be working on their rock, paper, scissors game!

The Riverbend Nationals launches into action on the afternoon of Friday 5th April with Top Fuel on track for qualifying at 1PM & 4PM on Saturday and 11AM, 1:30PM and 3:30PM on Sunday for their Finals to determine the winner of the Riverbend Nationals, which forms part of the National Drag Racing Championship.

In addition to the Port stars facing off in a drag race, The Bend will be a Festival of Footy live site throughout the event with the Gather Round action playing live on TV screens throughout the venue.

Charlie Dixon, Star Forward – PAFC & Drivin’ With Dixon:

“I’m Super pumped for this event. I mean I’ve been out here with my own car, and I haven’t seen the top fuelers yet so I’m excited to come out and be a part of it.

Any chance we get to go down the strip is always good fun and to only have to travel 50 minutes from my house to get here is also pretty amazing considering I had to drive seven hours to get to a drag strip a couple of years ago.”

Lachie Jones, Port Adelaide Football Club #34:

“I’ve always loved cars, but Charlie talked me into leaning towards the drag racing scene. I’ve watched a few top fuelers on TV but not in person yet, so I’m absolutely stoked to be a part of it.

Today for our test runs it was 2-0 to me but racing in these cars it will be very even we’ll have to find out on the day.”

Alistair MacDonald, CEO Shell V-Power Motorsport Park at The Bend:

“The experience of the speed and the noise of Top Fuel is something you never forget and puts the Riverbend Nationals to the forefront as a must-see-sporting event.

With the huge influx of interstate visitors to the region for what will be a huge weekend for South Australia, its great to have Charlie and Lachie on-board to provide even more entertainment for the fans.”

Zoe Bettison MP, Tourism Minister, South Australia:

It is fantastic to see that Charlie Dixon and Lachie Jones will join the exciting Riverbend Nationals program.

The footy greats will join the enormous amount of interstate travellers and South Australians visiting the Murray River Lakes & Coorong region for The Riverbend Nationals, as they experience the sensation of Top Fuel Drag Racing for the first time.

I am looking forward to an amazing line-up of top-level sporting events in South Australia in April and the boost it will bring to our visitor economy.”

Andy Lopez, CEO, National Drag Racing Championship:

“It’s awesome to see the two blokes from Port bringing the grudge to The Riverbend Nationals. Mate racing mate for bragging rights, this is what real drag racing is all about. Guys and girls putting it all on the line on the quarter mile in front of packed stands, it’s the best type of cauldron in motorsport.”

The Riverbend Nationals featuring Top Fuel is proudly supported by the South Australian Government through the South Australian Tourism Commission and will be held at The Dragway at The Bend from 5-7 April 2024.