POWERCRUISE USA

Gup takes his breed of Aussie may­hem State­side to Brain­erd In­ter­na­tional Race­way

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MICK Brasher’s ULEGAL Corolla might be fa­mil­iar to us, but to the pun­ters gath­ered at Min­nesota’s Brain­erd In­ter­na­tional Race­way for Powercruise USA, it was like some­thing from an­other planet.

“For at­mos­phere, there’s noth­ing bet­ter,” said Mick of the Powercruise USA ex­pe­ri­ence as he swapped out a set of de­stroyed hoops be­fore hit­ting the track again. “This is the best!”

The Powercruise events have long been fix­tures on Aussie revheads’ cal­en­dars, but for the past nine years pro­moter Gup has also run an an­nual Powercruise in the USA. This year a hand-picked crew of some of our big­gest and bad­dest skid sci­en­tists con­verged in Min­nesota to in­ject Aussie ex­per­tise into pro­ceed­ings.

Four of our tough­est burnout cars – KRANKY, ULEGAL, LYNCHY and UCSMOKE – were hauled across the pond with driv­ers in tow. Rod­ney Waters, Mick Brasher and An­drew Lynch hit Amer­i­can soil about a week be­fore the show to road­trip across from Los An­ge­les, stop in Las Ve­gas, and end up at BIR. Un­for­tu­nately Steve Loader couldn’t make it over, but his men­tal HT Prem still wowed the crowds at the track.

Powercruise USA is like a cousin to the Aussie event – same blood, but a lit­tle dif­fer­ent. While back home we know how to rip smoky 11s and rock up to the track in droves of staunch streeters, the Yanks tend to front more un­der-bon­net power, mod­ern mus­cle makes, and favour roll-rac­ing and drift­ing over lay­ing skids and smash­ing tyres.

That didn’t stop them ap­pre­ci­at­ing a good burnout, though, and there wouldn’t be a bet­ter crew than our homegrown smoke

mas­ters to show ’em that. Al­most given free reign of the place, the Aussies had no dra­mas light­ing it up on the track dur­ing cruise ses­sions, or just muck­ing about in be­tween events by treat­ing the pun­ters to tyre-blaz­ing ex­hi­bi­tions.

A sketchy fore­cast of 100km/h winds and hail barely put a damp­ener on the event in the end; the ground was quick to dry be­tween rain bouts so that over 650 en­trants could carry on all week­end. A Usa-led burnout com­pe­ti­tion on the Satur­day arvo turned out a huge crowd as driv­ers had a crack at ap­ply­ing what they’d learnt from our boys. A few of the en­trants had never done a proper skid be­fore, but the crowd showed huge sup­port for the brave com­peti­tors, more than a hand­ful of whom man­aged to pop a set for the first time.

Judged by the cheers from the crowd, Kyle Nel­son took home the gong after putting up a skid in his blown Lsa-pow­ered Chevy S10 that had even the Aussies im­pressed. He’d been a fan of the sport for a long time, and joked that his mates got sick of him talk­ing about it when they were all into drag rac­ing.

Chat­ting to both en­trants and pun­ters, it was clear they’re keen to see the pop­u­lar­ity of burnouts grow State­side, hope­fully lead­ing to the off-street sport be­ing pro­moted and an event cir­cuit de­vel­op­ing that at­tracts some tough Yan­kee cars.

In Brain­erd it’s be­low freez­ing for al­most half the year and usu­ally cov­ered in white stuff, so an event like Powercruise USA means a lot to lo­cal en­thu­si­asts. “We only get about three months of good driv­ing weather,” said lo­cal bloke Jay Audette. “When we get a chance to come out and tear it up, it’s al­ways balls to the wall!”

The chance to cut loose at a track rather than hit­ting the streets and al­ways look­ing in your mir­ror for the brass has put Powercruise USA right up there with Hot Rod Drag Week when it comes to cult fol­low­ing. “We have all win­ter to build our cars, but we’re

al­ways thrash­ing in the lead-up to this,” driver Jonathan Snyder ex­plained. “They have to be done for Powercruise; it’s not even an op­tion!” This men­tal­ity has seen the event grow steadily each year with­out con­trol be­ing lost or any overt hooli­gan­ism dis­played.

Cruis­ing the camp­ing area, the in­field was teem­ing with enough pit bikes to feel like a street in Viet­nam. Ev­ery­one was crowded around a bar­bie, mu­sic on, beer in hand – a full-on fes­ti­val vibe, with the sound­track be­ing hun­dreds of tough ma­chines fanging around the 3.1-mile race track.

The fa­mous Amer­i­can hos­pi­tal­ity was in full swing all week­end, and be­ing able to mill around some of the tough­est burnout cars from across the pond meant the lo­cals came out in droves to chat to the Aussie crew. They’d never seen these kinds of cars be­fore and were im­me­di­ately taken aback by our trade­mark burnout build styles: huge blower hats, gi­ant tubs, and of course, the steer­ing wheel on the wrong side. “Us Aussies feel like rock stars out here,” said Andy Mccon­nell of Fire­ball Kus­tom Fab­ri­ca­tion. “We’d al­most have a line of peo­ple want­ing to chat to us!”

While we can re­port that the Yanks know how to live it up for a Powercruise week­end, the Aussie in­jec­tion cer­tainly dumped more fuel on that fire, and we hope to see more blowers, horse­power and tyre de­bris in years to come. If there’s one way to get a taste of the grow­ing Amer­i­can en­thu­si­asm for what we know best at home – burnouts, pow­ers kids and tough streeters – then Powercruise USA is prob­a­bly it.

WE HOPE TO SEE MORE BLOWERS, HORSE­POWER AND TYRE DE­BRIS IN YEARS TO COME

4: Ryan Ross has been at ev­ery Powercruise USA with his gold 1981 Corvette. The 350-cu­ber has enough poke for a bit of fun both on the track and daily driv­ing. “Ev­ery year the event’s been big­ger, and it’s fun to see the grow­ing va­ri­ety of cars out hav­ing a fun week­end,” Ryan said3: “I’ve gone through 16 sets of tyres since we got to Amer­ica,” Lynchy proudly stated. “No need to carry any home!”2: Sierra Holt donned a veil all week­end in cel­e­bra­tion of her im­mi­nent wed­ding to Kevin Ber­glund. “We’re al­ways out here rac­ing mo­tor­bikes, so we thought: ‘Why not?’ We’ve both got our par­ties go­ing on here and it’s awe­some,” Sierra said. “I had a lap in my Dodge Charger be­fore, but am get­ting a ride in a Corvette soon!”1: Sun­day’s eighth-mile drag rac­ing shootout was street-style, with no tree or tim­ing lights. After felling Lam­bos, Tes­las and some stonk­ing old-school mus­cle, Dou­glas Brown’s ni­trous-fed ’68 Ca­maro (right) ended up bat­tling Jonathan Snyder’s turbo four-pot ’08 Golf in the fi­nal. Dou­glas took the win by about a car length

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