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> THE FORD-POW­ERED NA­TION­ALS SAW PLENTY OF DRAG CHAL­LENGE 2018 EN­TRANTS ON SHOW

Street Machine - - Drag Challenge -

AGOOD num­ber of Blue Oval­ly­in­clined Street Ma­chine Drag Chal­lenge com­peti­tors took the op­por­tu­nity to lim­ber up for DC 2018 at the in­au­gu­ral Ford-pow­ered Na­tion­als. The Heath­cote event was run by Todd ‘Axle’ Fo­ley, who’d iden­ti­fied an op­por­tu­nity to ap­ply the proven for­mula he de­vel­oped for the Hold­en­pow­ered Na­tion­als to an event for the Ford set. And some big-hit­ters turned up.

Frank March­ese from Dandy En­gines fronted with the XW Fair­mont he owns with Dandy boss Lou Iu­dica, and while the track wasn’t up to the flat-seven-sec­ond pace that re­cently earned it the man­tle of Aus­tralia’s quick­est street car [as Arby dis­cusses in Ur­ban War­fare,

page 126], it ran su­per-con­sis­tently all day, with two 7.97s and a 7.96 straight off the trailer. Frank then fin­ished up the event with a quick­est ET of 7.84, the next hur­dle be­ing to get the car ready for Drag Chal­lenge.

“The only change we’ll make to the car is a big­ger fuel tank to cater for the dis­tance,” he said. “Other than that the car will re­main the same. It’s not like we haven’t driven it on the street be­fore. With 3.5 diff gears and 275s it cruises at 2200-2500rpm on the high­way.”

Frank’s mis­sion is to prove the XW to be a de­cent street car. “It would be a dream come true to do a 6.99 at Drag Chal­lenge and drive it to the next track, and any­thing’s pos­si­ble

PHIL ED­MOND­SON’S XB COUPE STRUG­GLED WITH TRAC­TION FOR A LOT OF THE DAY, BUT STILL MAN­AGED TO RUN IN THE EIGHTS

at Swan Hill,” he says. “I’ve got my tune-up sorted, and if the track will hold I ain’t gunna be scared to do it.”

Paul Hamil­ton also brought his mon­ster twin-turbo 600ci XA Fal­con out to play. Dur­ing Fri­day-night test­ing Paul strug­gled to lay down a full hit. “I took it easy on the first pass be­cause I hadn’t raced at Heath­cote be­fore, so I was fig­ur­ing it all out in the dark,” he said. “The sec­ond run it was all over shop; it just didn’t want to hook up.”

The next day Paul was off to a good start with an 8.60 straight off the bat. Then he ran into more trac­tion is­sues. Since he hasn’t had a lot of test time with the car, the sus­pen­sion isn’t re­ally set up for the power he’s try­ing to put down. Even though he runs a big slick tyre, the car bat­tles to cope with the mas­sive power of the twin-turbo en­gine.

Paul is set to have a lot more com­pe­ti­tion on his hands at Drag Chal­lenge this year, as the Tur­bosmart Out­law Blown class has dou­bled in size since 2017.

South Aus­tralian Phil Ed­mond­son has made a host of changes to his bot­tom-eight-sec­ond XB coupe ahead of Drag Chal­lenge, so he was at the Ford-pow­ered Na­tion­als to shake it down. He strug­gled with trac­tion for a lot of the day, but still man­aged to run in the eights. He’ll need to work on find­ing the right set­ting for his new shocks, as well as the right com­bi­na­tion of launch boost and rpm to work with the new con­verter. It’s a fine bal­ance.

Jar­rod Wood’s ul­tra-clean XT Fal­con was hook­ing and book­ing, run­ning tan­ta­lis­ingly close to the nine-sec­ond zone with a 10.07@131mph – no joke from an all­mo­tor, small-block street car. The en­gine re­mains un­touched af­ter 8000km and 240 passes, with some ex­tra ned­dies now com­ing cour­tesy of a new in­take man­iold, carb spacer and ex­trac­tors.

The VS Com­modore ute of Craig Tro­peano is Ford-pow­ered, so it fit­ted in at the Ford­pow­ered Na­tion­als a treat. For­merly owned by Mus­cle Garage/tuff Mounts front­man and Drag Chal­lenge spon­sor Ja­son Waye, both Trop and Jase had a steer of the car at Heath­cote, yield­ing a best pass of 10.6@134mph and a per­sonal-best trap speed of 137mph. The Com­modore re­cently copped a fresh FG turbo mo­tor with the usual up­grades, and Adam at MPW re­tuned it on E85. Trop is aim­ing to fetch bot­tom 10s out of it on Drag Chal­lenge this year. The en­gine is ca­pa­ble of more, but the BTR au­to­matic trans­mis­sion re­mains the weak point for now.

Matt Hohenhaus’s stealthy XM Fal­con sedan was on a tear at the Na­tion­als, Pbing with a 9.301@143mph hit, cour­tesy of Toy­ota 1JZ six-pot power. Matt is en­tered in Hal­tech Ra­dial Blown at DC again this year, and it’s one of the coolest cars on the en­try list.

MATT HOHENHAUS’S XM FAL­CON SEDAN WAS ON A TEAR AT THE NA­TION­ALS, WITH A STONKING 9.30@143MPH HIT, COUR­TESY OF TOY­OTA 1JZ SIX-POT POWER

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