FRANK MARCH­ESE

Street Machine - - K&n Dial Your Own Top 10 -

IN THE lead-up to Drag Chal­lenge 2018, Frank March­ese from Dandy En­gines copped a lot of heat about whether his leaf-sprung XW Fair­mont could be con­sid­ered a proper street car. He’s cer­tainly si­lenced those crit­ics after driv­ing it 1300km through ru­ral Vic­to­ria with a trailer on the back and a bunch of sev­ensec­ond times­lips in the glove­box!

De­spite hav­ing never run Drag Chal­lenge, FAIRXW was a se­ri­ous con­tender from the mo­ment Frank pulled it into the Calder Park pits. With a new World Prod­ucts 450ci mo­tor in­flated by a pair of 88mm Pre­ci­sion Pro Mod tur­bos, and run by a Fuel­tech ECU, the big four-door sedan had run a string of sevens in test­ing, with a PB of [email protected]

Run­ning on VP Rac­ing Roo16 race gas at the track and pump fuel on the road, the XW strug­gled on its first pass on Day One at Calder, be­fore com­ing out late in the day to run a [email protected] on the 1000ft strip. It was enough to place Frank se­cond over­all and at the top of Hal­tech Ra­dial Blown.

Day Two fin­ished with Frank in the stag­ing lanes after al­most ev­ery­one else had packed up and fled the plague of flies. It was worth it, as FAIRXW laid down a [email protected] de­spite a big pedal and hav­ing the ’chutes out at the 330m mark to stop the car head­ing to­wards the cen­tre-line.

The Dandy En­gines crew then had to over­come a cracked up-pipe on the ex­haust, as well as heavy rain giv­ing the sen­si­tive elec­tron­ics a bath on the road leg between Swan Hill and Mil­dura at the end of Day Two.

“We found a work­shop in Mil­dura who lent us some hoist space to fix the ex­haust, which was grouse,” said Frank, who then went out and ran [email protected] on Mil­dura’s Sun­set Strip eighth-mile. “It’s dis­heart­en­ing for me, be­cause the car nor­mally goes 4.6-flat in the eighth!” he laughed.

Day Four will go down in the record books, as Frank and Harry Haig both threw the kitchen sink at the Swan Hill track in an ef­fort to run big num­bers, and boy did they do that. Though Harry man­aged a [email protected] in his big-inch HQ, Frank had ev­ery­one fall­ing over them­selves late in the day with a [email protected] – the quick­est and fastest pass we’ve ever had at Drag Chal­lenge!

“This feels so good; I’m ec­static to have done that,” said Frank straight after the run. “I wanted to do this so badly for my guys who’ve worked so hard on no sleep, from be­fore the event even started. I’m just emo­tion­ally wrecked!”

The Dandy crew made it back to Calder Park on Day Five with a lead of un­der half a se­cond from Harry Haig, and they went pass-for­pass right un­til the lanes closed, with Frank’s [email protected] over 1000ft enough to get the job done.

After five days of knock-’em-down, drag-’emout rac­ing, Frank’s com­bined ET of 33.224 sec­onds was 0.15sec ahead of Harry’s 33.374. This was enough for Frank to take out the top spot in both the Out­right and the Hal­tech Ra­dial Blown stand­ings, along with awards for Quick­est ET and Fastest MPH of Drag Chal­lenge and Quick­est Ford-pow­ered.

“On Mon­day af­ter­noon about 4pm I was ask­ing what I’d got my­self into, and Fri­day driv­ing through those gates was the most emo­tional feel­ing I’d had,” Frank sighed. “I’d just proved all those doubters wrong!”

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