Some of the country’s toughest Ford-powered brutes descended on Heathcote Park Raceway in regional Victoria for 2021’s edition of the Ford Powered Nationals over the weekend for some ripper racing, big moments and PBs.
Event organiser Todd Foley (the mastermind behind the smash hit Holden Nationals) refused to throw in the towel on the 2021 event, even with all the Covid-19 induced delays.
“It’s the third time we’ve had to reschedule it [Ford Nats] this year, but I really wanted to squeeze it in before the end of the year and give Victorians a racing event they’ve all been craving,” he said.
Friday provided a test day before Saturday’s racing, with challenging track conditions causing some headaches for the heavy-hitting turbo cars.
After a few scary moments the track eventually came through in the evening, seeing the likes of Joshua ‘Chip’ Tuskin’s XW Falcon, Al Vella’s Capri and Sean Anthony’s XD Falcon all cracking into the eights.
Saturday’s racing had 65 entrants roll up to compete in four different classes consisting of Boosted Six, Boosted V8, Aspirated and Outlaw, all running a dial-in racing format with $1000 cash up for grabs for the winners of each.
The day got underway with three qualifying runs for each class to determine their dial-in speed before eliminations kicked off after lunch.
With no oil downs or major delays, the racing action stayed at a high level all afternoon. A packed crowd watched competitors juggle the dial-in dilemma of chasing each other down without breaking out of their dial-in, and it always makes for nail-biting stuff!
Alex Moshopoulos’s beautiful XY Falcon took out the top gong in the Boosted V8 class, the twin-turbo Windsor running in the mid-eights all weekend to secure the win.
Craig Marshmann was the only non-Ford powered Ford there, the DTM Automatics Ford Probe proving the supercharged LS combo is unbelievably consistent when Chris won his final in the Outlaw class with an 8.00 pass on an 8.00 dial-in, dropping jaws all over the joint in the process.
Mick Rouhan’s Ford Cortina Mk2 is one angry little machine, putting all of the stonk from the 427ci Windsor to the ground on the mammoth rear meats to secure the win in the Aspirated class.
The Boosted 6 shootout wound down to an FG Falcon-exclusive final, with Geoff Orrell grabbing the win in his XR6 ute.
Joshua Tuskin’s Drag Challenge-proven XW took home a bunch of silverware, including the fastest 275 radial pass and fastest overall pass of the event with a thundering 8.27 @170mph from the destroked 3.8-litre Barra-turbo combo.
Along with the trophy getters, there was a bunch of cars which caught our attention with fresh PB’s and some interesting builds.
George Hatzi has taken on our Drag Challenge marathon before in his XF Falcon with a turbo SOHC 4.0-litre combo. He’s recently changed to the new-school Barra turbo mill, the debut for the new package at Ford Nats going off with a bang as he left the weekend with a fresh PB of 9.01 @153mph, agonisingly close to an eight!
Jake Cartledge’s VK Commodore wagon also made its debut at Ford Nats, causing a bit of a stir with the fresh Barra-turbo combo nestled between the chassis rails of the Holden.
The car is a completely home-built machine by the Cartledge family, who know a thing or two about going fast. The 616rwkW mill was built at home in the shed by Jake’s Dad Wayne, who also had to donate the Powerglide from his Cortina the night before the event when the ‘box in the VK had a meltdown during transbrake testing.
Jake was chasing mid-nines all day, eliminating himself when he broke out during competition with a 9.45, proving he and the boys are well on their way to their eight-second ET target. We’ll have a full story on Jake’s VK in an upcoming issue of SM, so keep an eye out!
Another Barra-swapped machine from the opposing stable was Danny Quilt’s VR.
He may have gone out in the first round of competition, but he didn’t care. His goal for the weekend was to run a 10, which he well and truly achieved with a 10.3 @131mph.
Joining the list of PB getters was Adrian’s Abela’s Foxbody Mustang, using a 347ci Windsor stroker and a Vortech blower to punch out a best of 9.63 @139mph.
George Lyras is the defending Six Cylinder class champion from Drag Challenge, and while he didn’t PB during the weekend he did get the 1000rwkw Barra-turbo Cortina wheels up on multiple occasions and get close to the finals in the Boosted Six class.
Ross Puliafito’s XB Falcon was one of the true stunners from the event, rocking some huge rear meats and an angry 468ci stroked Windsor.
It was a feature car in SM around 15 years ago, and has barely changed since then – and why would you! He didn’t better his PB of 10.70 during the ‘Nats, but he did do a fine job of frying those 29×12.5 rear treads every time he rocked up to the burnout box.
Jason Dean Hoctor’s WINDSOR Cortina was putting on a show all weekend, using the 911hp 453ci Windsor to full effect to wow the crowds with some awesome wheel stands.
Another crowd pleaser was Kyle Breed’s jacked-up FG Falcon ute.
Normally used as the workshop horse for his business Pro Mech Automotive Solutions, Kyle simply said “I don’t see the point of a work ute that can’t go anywhere as soon as it turns to dirt!”
Getting the mega ride height involved some RTV gear and reset leafs in the rear, while at the front the boys grafted a Territory kei frame and suspension in, which is a first for an FG.
Kyle plans to convert the whole shebang to Territory AWD eventually, but for now the driveline uses a BTR four speed ‘box with the original LPG Barra. As part of the turbo conversion the mill copped Dominator valve springs, head studs, oil pump gears and a J-piped FG manifold with a Borgwarner S360 turbo with E85.
Ford Nats was the first hit-out for the FG, clocking a best of 11.3 with the 400rwkW combo and some teething issues.
One car that didn’t survive the weekend was Corey Benning’s seven-second Ford Cortina. The Barra-turbo machine did what so many had already done before him when it lost traction at mid-track, sending Corey nose first into the wall at full noise.
Thankfully he was ok and walked away uninjured. It’s a real shame considering the car had only just ran a 7.80 using a stock Barra crank and was tipped to go deep into competition on the Saturday, but Corey has plans to take the Cortina to the next level when he brings it back to life next year.
“So many people have already come forward and offered help,” said Corey. “That’s what I love about the car scene, everyone looks out for each other and help wherever they can.”
We’re stoked that Ford Nats managed to sneak over the line before the new year, and we can’t wait for the return of the hugely popular Holden Nationals at Heathcote in February next year.
FORD POWERED NATIONALS 2021 – RESULTS
Defran Concreting NA Class
1st Mick Rouhan
2nd Kenny Perry
AzNew Fuel Injectors Boosted V8 Class
1st Alex Moshopoulos
2nd Noel Inman
KB Prestige Restoration Outlaw Class
1st Craig Marshman
2nd Adrian Morton
Race Parts Melbourne Boosted 6 Class
1st Geoff Orrell
Marshal Speed Shop fastest 275 radial pass and AFS Industries & Pulsar Turbo Australia fastest Boosted 6 pass winner
Josh Tuskin – 8.27 @170mph