With the Nos­tal­gia Drags in Syd­ney on our back doorstep, we took our four­car Aeroflow Nitro Hot Rod show out to Syd­ney Drag­way. The nos­tal­gia scene here in Aus­tralia doesn’t seem to at­tract the same crowds as it does in New Zealand, but al­ways gets a very good qual­ity of cars, so we wanted to put on a good show to get peo­ple talk­ing. With four cars rac­ing a three-round match race, we de­cided that each car would race ev­ery other car once, with the win­ner be­ing de­cided on a points sys­tem. For this meet­ing, I didn’t have my nor­mal Kiwi crew, but Mum and Dad had come over for the event so I put Dad to work, as well as ‘Ban­dit’ driver Josh Leahy. The goal for the week­end for my car, ‘Spooky’, was to take down our PB of 6.16 sec­onds at 360kph (224mph). First round, we were up against Rick Gauci in ‘Chucky’s Toy’. I got Rick on the start line but that was about it, as the ’34 coupe just charged on past and Rick’s 6.08 beat my 6.24 at a per­sonal best 376kph (234mph). It was an OK run — not as quick as we had hoped and a short shift from me didn’t help, but I felt fairly con­fi­dent that we now had some­thing to work from. Sec­ond round, we raced against Shane Olive in the fa­mous ‘Psy­cho’. Shane has had Psy­cho as quick as a 6.01 and was look­ing for that five-sec­ond pass. We tuned Spooky up from the first round and thought with a good light we could strap one on Shane. Shane is also the work­shop man­ager, has more laps in these cars than the rest of us com­bined, and has beaten me two nil in the funny cars, so I was hop­ing I could get one back on him. Well, we did that for sure — Spooky was on rails and charged down the quar­ter, and boy did it feel fast. I never once saw Shane out the win­dow, so I knew it was ei­ther real close or I had him beaten. It didn’t seem to mat­ter, as, when the chutes came out and I still couldn’t see him, the adrenalin was flow­ing and I was clap­ping like a seal at Sea World — I was that pumped. Not only had we beaten Shane, but we had run a 5.96 at 385kph (239mph) to beat Shane’s 6.08 at 370kph (230mph); to say I was stoked was an un­der­state­ment. For the fi­nal round, our op­po­nent was meant to be Justin Walshe driv­ing ‘Berz­erk’; how­ever, with a prob­lem in the warm-up the lit­tle black Ban­tam hot rod couldn’t make the round. With our solo run, we tried to go out and bet­ter the ear­lier five-sec­ond pass. It was re­ally strange to be dis­ap­pointed when it ran a 6.01 at more than 380kph (236mph). This gave Spooky two wins out of three; then, Psy­cho beat Chucky in the last round to give both of them two wins out of three, mean­ing a three­way tie for first. So, af­ter so many funny car events when the count­back has gone against us — fastest ET in the last round — this time it worked in our favour and we were de­clared the event win­ners. So, that was Sun­day. On Mon­day, we went back to the work­shop, un­loaded the hot rods, and loaded up the ‘One Bad Kiwi’ and ‘Nitro Ex­press’ funny cars for some test­ing at Syd­ney Drag­way on Tues­day. We were test­ing a new combo that we wanted to get fig­ured out be­fore our next race. We had a fair idea that this com­bi­na­tion was go­ing to work well but, like any­thing at these speeds and at this level of the sport, it’s not as sim­ple as just plug and play. Lucky we did test it, as we didn’t man­age to get one full eight-cylin­der run out of the three passes we did in Kiwi — although we did walk away with a new PB of 5.68 at just over 300kph (186mph), shut­ting it off at three-quar­ter track with only seven cylin­ders for most of the run. So, I think we may have found some­thing good with this combo. To run a five-sec­ond pass in a short-wheel­base nitro-powered al­tered is ‘dream come true’ kind of stuff — in fact, in this magazine, some years ago, while do­ing a fea­ture for our al­co­hol funny car, I was asked the ques­tion: “What is your dream car?” My an­swer was: “Nitro al­tered and nitro funny car.” This past week­end, I drove both inside three days and ran PBs in both of them. Some­times you just have to pinch your­self and go, “Yep, this is real!”

Some­times you just have to pinch your­self and go, “Yep, this is real!”

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