Hal­tech Ra­dial Blown: Frank March­ese – 26.855 Tur­bosmart Out­law Blown: Harry Haig – 26.877 Pace­maker Ra­dial Aspi­rated: Alon Vella – 32.071 Tuff Mounts Out­law Aspi­rated: Daniel Cas­sar – 36.103 K&N DYO: Dar­ren Parker – -0.007315

Street Machine - - Seven Ups -

AFTER ap­prox­i­mately 1500km of tor­ture on side roads and high­ways through ru­ral Vic­to­ria and New South Wales, the re­main­ing Drag Chal­lenge en­trants had the lux­ury of a late start to Day Five.

The en­trants didn’t have an easy run back to Mel­bourne, how­ever, with Scotty throw­ing a mam­moth 400km road leg to take the weary teams from Swan Hill to Calder Park, via Lake Tyrrell. With rac­ing run­ning from 3pm ’til 9pm, it af­forded an ex­tra six hours for the sur­vivors to pre­pare or, in some cases, re­pair their steeds be­fore throw­ing down one fi­nal time.

In Pace­maker Ra­dial Aspi­rated, just 0.141sec sep­a­rated se­cond to fourth po­si­tions at the start of Day Five. Al Vella and his trusty 450ci Wind­sor-pow­ered Capri were never threat­ened for their fifth con­sec­u­tive Drag Chal­lenge Ra­dial Aspi­rated class win, fin­ish­ing an­other tri­umphant week with an [email protected]

Dy­lan Mc­gav­i­gan’s se­cond-place Ford Cortina ran afoul of AN­DRA tech in­spec­tors and was barred from com­pet­ing un­til its safety mea­sures were up­graded, which al­lowed DC debu­tante Peter Har­avi­ti­sidis’s 440ci XY Fal­con to claim se­cond in class with a [email protected]

The fi­nal spot on the podium for Pace­maker Ra­dial Aspi­rated went to Nathan Ghosn, who over­came chronic head gas­ket is­sues all week. The DC vet­eran fin­ished the week with a [email protected]

In Tuff Mounts Out­law Aspi­rated, Daniel Cas­sar man­aged to hold off Bushy Buss­cher for the class win, with Daniel’s ’32 hot rod cut­ting a [email protected] on Fri­day com­pared to Bushy’s [email protected]

Drag Chal­lenge new­bie Dave Rogers had his 584-cube HK Monaro set to stun and ran [email protected] to come third in class, while Jon Mitchell fin­ished fourth and bagged the award for Quick­est Mopar.

Dar­ren Parker took out K&N Dial Your Own in his VF Sport­wagon, fin­ish­ing ahead of Paul Top­ping’s su­per­charged VF HSV Club­sport by a measly 0.00369 of a se­cond, with third-placed Steve Nightin­gale in his XA Fal­con only 0.00292sec fur­ther back.

Calder once again saw the blown class cars run to 1000ft due to safety con­cerns, but that didn’t di­min­ish the fe­roc­ity of rac­ing. In Hal­tech Ra­dial Blown, Adam Ro­gash ran a [email protected] to fin­ish third in class and fourth Out­right, hav­ing run eight seven-se­cond passes over the week. Just 0.141sec ahead of Adam was Lorenzo’s VL Calais, run­ning [email protected] to place se­cond in class and third Out­right.

The Tur­bosmart Out­law Blown cars had a good night on a sticky track with cool air. John Ricca’s VL BT1 ran [email protected] in the 1000ft, fin­ish­ing se­cond in class, fifth Out­right, and win­ning a tro­phy for Quick­est Six. Mar­cus Howe’s ni­trous 434ci XW sedan took home the Quick­est With­out A Trailer tro­phy after stop­ping the clocks at [email protected] on Day Five.

The big bat­tle ev­ery­one was watch­ing, how­ever, was Harry Haig against Frank March­ese for top hon­ours. After cut­ting plenty of laps, Harry’s best time of [email protected] on Calder’s 1000ft wasn’t quite enough to get past Frank, though he still took out Tur­bosmart Out­law Blown and Quick­est Chev. He never stopped try­ing, how­ever, run­ning to the dy­ing min­utes be­fore a bro­ken con­trol arm stopped him in his tracks.

“I said on Day One that I didn’t care if I ran an 18-se­cond av­er­age over the week, I just wanted to get back to Calder on Day Five and break those beams to fin­ish the week,” said Harry. “After not get­ting there the last two years, and dis­ap­point­ing my son Corty, I felt like the worst dad in the world.”

Al­though he’s a vet­eran of Hot Rod Drag Week as well as our own Drag Chal­lenge, Harry’s guts were do­ing back­flips on the drive back to Mel­bourne on Thurs­day night.

“I’ve never been so ner­vous in my life,” he said. “I’m lis­ten­ing to weird noises I’ve never heard be­fore, watch­ing the gauges like my first porn movie. Then I see the beau­ti­ful lights of Mel­bourne, and the great­est sight on earth: a NASCAR stuck on top of an old ship­ping con­tainer. I wake Corty up in back seat and point to the Bob Jane sign and he’s yelling: ‘We’ve made it, Dad, we’ve made it!’ In­stead of tears of fail­ure now we have tears of joy. It’s the best bloody day of my life.”

Frank’s FAIRXW Fair­mont ended up run­ning a [email protected] to take out the Hal­tech Ra­dial Blown class, as well as the Out­right win. The Dandy En­gines guru now owns the record for quick­est ET and high­est mile-per-hour we’ve ever seen at Drag Chal­lenge, and he took home an ex­tra gong for Quick­est Ford.

“The whole event was a marathon,” sighed Frank. “Drag Chal­lenge is re­ally more a test of your men­tal strength than how fast your car is. We had to over­come is­sues and find a way to make our car get down a dif­fer­ent track each day, then pack up and drive hun­dreds of kilo­me­tres. But it is also the best event – I had an awe­some time and have to thank my crew, Harry, and all the other com­peti­tors for mak­ing it a real fam­ily event.”

Con­grat­u­la­tions to not just the win­ners, but ev­ery­one who com­pleted Aus­tralia’s ul­ti­mate test for fast street cars. We look for­ward tor­tur­ing s ev­ery­one again in 2019!

ABOVE LEFT: If there was an award for big­gest wheel­stand, Ben Vlekken would have got it! His sin­gle-turbo Ls-pow­ered VH wagon dragged the back dumper past the 60ft marker at Calder. Ben fin­ished fifth in Hal­tech Ra­dial Blown and sev­enth Out­right, run­ning a best of 8.28 down the quar­terABOVE: Nick Sideris’s VH is one tough street car. Pow­ered by a turbo 5.3L iron block deal, the car has run high eights at AIR, but Nick was keen to see if it could stand up to a week of DC tor­ture. And it did him proud, run­ning as quick as 9.09sec and fin­ish­ing 11th in Hal­tech Ra­dial Blown

ABOVE: The broth­ers Velkovski fronted with this gor­geous HT Holden ute, just as Kris promised us they would at Mo­torex ear­lier in the year. Con­verter is­sues plagued the car on Mon­day and it re­fused to come on boost off the line, so Kris or­dered a re­place­ment con­verter and swapped it out on Thurs­day evening, so he could re­turn to Calder and make some ex­hi­bi­tion passes. An 8.1 and an 8.0 to the 1000ft mark were in­dica­tive of mid-9sec pace, but then the car lunched the trans­mis­sion that the boys had re-fit­ted less than 24 hours ear­lier. D’oh!

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