WILD AT HEART

Street Machine - - Contents - VIC­TOR BRAY

TWO of the must-see events on the Aus­tralian drag rac­ing cal­en­dar are both at Wil­low­bank Race­way: the Win­ter­na­tion­als and the Jam­boree.

This year’s Jam­boree was a great event. Bris­bane busi­ness­man and Factory Xtreme racer Collin Will­shire has come on board, bring­ing his man­age­rial skills to the ta­ble, and com­bined with what Ray Box has al­ready put in place over the years, they ended up with a re­ally world-class event. I think it’s a good blend of the two guys – Ray with his pas­sion and his­tory in the event, and Col who also has the pas­sion and the where­withal to move the whole deal to the next level.

I went out there and watched Benny race his Dat­sun. Al­though he didn’t get the re­sults he would have liked, mainly through lack of time, he got some good burnouts in and the car ran well all day; he didn’t set any records but was pretty happy just to be there.

It wasn’t just about the Sport Com­pact rac­ing ei­ther; there were plenty of off-track ac­tiv­i­ties too. It was such a di­ver­si­fied event, with the car show, trade ex­hibits, sound-off and all the girls as well. It’s what the pub­lic wants – en­ter­tain­ment both on and off the track. In my opin­ion – and it’s only Vic­tor Bray’s opin­ion – it was one of Aus­tralia’s best-laid-out events; ev­ery­thing was where you would ex­pect it to be. The car show, in­stead of be­ing down the bot­tom, was up be­hind the tower, leav­ing the Group One pits for the race teams; the drifting was down the bot­tom past scru­ti­neer­ing; and the food ven­dors were re­ally well-placed for spec­ta­tors – and the food was great.

There are a lot of things mov­ing for­ward at Wil­low­bank. They’ve had a cou­ple of flat­line events over the years, but this year’s Jam­boree was full-on en­ter­tain­ment. Good food, fast cars and plenty to see, and the spec­ta­tor num­bers were great.

Am I in­ter­ested in rac­ing at the Jam­boree? Not at all, but I like the tech­nol­ogy and the stuff that Benny and his mates are do­ing with their cars.

All that tech­nol­ogy is le­gal, de­vel­oped and wel­comed in the Sport Com­pact world; the prob­lem I have is that some of the elec­tronic as­sis­tance and con­trol tech­nol­ogy is creep­ing into our bracket, where it is banned, and that isn’t be­ing looked at hard enough. There is so much tech­nol­ogy out there that the sanc­tion­ing bod­ies – and noth­ing against ANDRA or IHRA here – re­ally have a hard time keep­ing up with it all.

To me the big­gest is­sue in Doorslam­mer for the up­com­ing sea­son is com­pli­ance with the rules. I re­ally be­lieve that now is the time that IHRA and ANDRA en­sure – and I’m not point­ing the fin­ger at any­one – that the rules are en­forced. It’s about time we got se­ri­ous about giv­ing ev­ery­body a chance to win on merit. If what’s hap­pen­ing is le­gal, then we need to sing the praises of the guys who are run­ning quick and re­move the in­nu­endo of cheat­ing. But, if some­one is do­ing some­thing wrong, they de­serve to be pun­ished. It’s not just in Doorslam­mer but in other brack­ets as well. There is new tech­nol­ogy out there that needs to be looked at – it may be within the rules but it may not be ad­dressed by the rule­book, as it is emerg­ing tech­nol­ogy and gives a greater ad­van­tage. A de­ci­sion needs to be made on whether it is good for the class. I don’t want to spend money on rac­ing un­less I’m sure that ev­ery­one else in the field is rac­ing with the same in­ter­pre­ta­tion of the rules, and a lot of rac­ers out there agree with me.

With ANDRA and the 400 Thun­der se­ries both re­leas­ing their cal­en­dars for 2016-17, we will have more places to race at than in the past. We were asked to go to Spring­mount Race­way in Oc­to­ber, but we will be in the US at that time. I re­ally want to race there though; the track looks fan­tas­tic and in a great en­vi­ron­ment. If you see some of the pho­tos with the hills in the back­ground and the lush green­ery, it re­ally is a stun­ning lo­ca­tion. Also on the Bray agenda is get­ting to race at Swan Hill.

When you look at what’s on of­fer from both se­ries, we could get to race in Ade­laide, Calder Park, Perth Mo­torplex, Syd­ney Drag­way, Dar­win, Alice and our home track Wil­low­bank Race­way; there are more than enough events on the cal­en­dar. You can’t say there’s any­thing wrong with more races and more events at more tracks across the coun­try.

I’ve said it from day one: My sup­port goes to the tracks that lis­ten to the rac­ers in re­gards to safety and fo­cus on pro­vid­ing the safest pos­si­ble en­vi­ron­ment. The big tracks usu­ally have the most up-to-date safety gear and bet­ter track prep due to the big­ger crowds and car num­bers, but that just makes the cars faster as well. That’s re­ally im­por­tant to all the rac­ers, es­pe­cially with the speeds and ETS that we are run­ning these days.

As for us, it’s time to dust off the pass­port and head to Amer­ica in the next cou­ple of weeks. We are go­ing to the NHRA meet­ing in Las Ve­gas, stay­ing on for SEMA and the fi­nals at Pomona, but our first stop will be the PDRA meet­ing in Rich­mond, Vir­ginia. We’ll be catch­ing up with Ja­son Scruggs, Frankie Tay­lor, Todd Tut­terow and the PDRA boys, then go­ing to LA to or­gan­ise im­port­ing some cars. I’m not sure if too many peo­ple know, but I have an Amer­i­can car fetish.

We’ve set up an area in our work­shop where we’ve started restor­ing older cars, and by that I mean we turn them into rat rods. At the mo­ment I’ve got a ’55 Buick we’re work­ing on, and there are four 1959 Cadil­lacs on the wa­ter, as well as a cou­ple of C10s – hope­fully enough to keep the guys at the shop busy while we are away. We love the rat rod stuff and plan on turn­ing up to some car shows with some of the crazy shit we’ve been work­ing on.

We’ve also been busy work­ing to­wards se­cur­ing a ma­jor spon­sor­ship deal for the up­com­ing sea­sons – fin­gers crossed.

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