This article was first published in the March 2019 issue of Street Machine
UNDER clear blues skies and amidst searing temperatures, the inaugural Australian Burnout Championship launched at Sydney Dragway on the Australia Day weekend.
There is a saying that if it was easy then everyone would be doing it, and this definitely rang true for the event’s promoter, Nathan Predo of OVRCAST HQ One Tonner fame. For the past 12 months, Nathan has worked tirelessly to realise his dream event, inviting a cast of the toughest burnout cars from across the country, along with 16 of the quickest drag cars to compete. He even developed the world’s first live-scoring burnout app, Motorscore (see Results, below), where spectators can see the current standings after each burnout. True innovation.
The event opened with a minute’s silence to honour Sarina Mitchell from Burnouts Australia, who passed away suddenly just over a week before the event. Clearly the burnout community had lost a true friend.
From then on though, it was one big smoke show. The unfortunate last-minute cancellation of the drags due to a racing accident prior to the event left a hole in the Saturday schedule, but the burnout cars certainly didn’t disappoint. The Pro Blown class was strong enough to rival a Summernats Burnout Masters field, and the Pro Six class was the best we’d seen.
With powerskids and cruising all weekend, along with rock crawlers, camping and huge prize money on offer, the Australian Burnout Championship has all the ingredients to be the fresh new fixture on the motorsport calendar. Nobody we spoke to over the weekend had a bad word to say about it, and with its unique format and innovative ideas, we hope to see the ABC back next year.
Matt Watts is a staple of the burnout scene in his 1973 LJ Torana, and was front and centre at the ABC with his better half Jess Matthews. We gave you an in-depth look at the stout 4/71-blown 202 in Matt's LJ in the November 2018 issue of SM, and he's followed through on his promise to switch to an Enderle bug catcher and mechanical injection.
Proudly flying a huge Australian flag all weekend, his patriotic devotion nearly came unstuck when the flag was continually pulled into the hat during his Sunday skid. He tried to pull the flag out to no avail, but in the end a fast whip and a bit of luck released it. Did we mention this car is street-registered, too?
With the economy of WA heading south after the mining boom, Jason and Sarah Ballard decided to sell up everything including the family home, turn the family taxi - a 2015 Holden Cruze - into a blown and injected 408ci small block-powered burnout car, pack up the kids and hit the road.
Eighteen months later, the Ballards have done two laps of Australia with HELLRAZOR, punctuating the trip with burnout comps along the way, including Red CentreNATS, Summernats and Powercruise Queensland.
With the eldest of their four kids being home-schooled, it doesn't seem like life on the road will end soon. Sarah said they'll be travelling until the end of the year at least. What's been the highlight of the trip so far? "Parking up at empty beaches for days on end and good family time," Sarah reckoned. Sounds like the good life to us!
While Jason placed seventh in the Pro Blown class at the ABC, he was People's Choice in his class.
Nathan Lewis and his good friend Mitch Davis made the 22-hour drive down from Rockhampton for the ABC. His tough-looking HQ Tonner runs a 377ci small-block with a 6/71 blower, against a two-speed Powerglide. Nathan did all the bodywork and paint himself.
During Nathan's burnout in the Pro Blown class on Saturday, his fuel tank ruptured and the rear end immediately burst into flames. With methanol spewing from under the rear, the firefighters tried in vain to extinguish the flames, so a decision was made to push the car across the pad, presumably to get it out of the fire. Unfortunately, the car continued to burn uncontrollably, leaving a huge trail of flaming methanol. After what seemed like minutes, the blaze was finally out, and while the crowd always loves a fire, this incident was out of control for too long.
We look forward to seeing TON222 back on the pad soon.
Reigning Summernats Six-Cylinder Burnout Champion Mark Ansaldi runs a stock bottom end, naturally aspirated FG Barra donk in his homebuilt XF ute, with a little head work and a new cam helping it produce a humble 300hp. That might not sound like much in the current burnout climate of blown and injected monsters, but Mark's ute kills tyres as good as the eights, and placed third in the Six class at the ABC.
"The trick is in the electrics to get the engine running smooth," said Mark. The custom set-up and computer gave him an extra 40hp.
Much time has also been spent on the rear to ensure the tyres blow at close to the same time; tweaking the four-link has become a little obsession for Mark. With the gap down to five seconds, he's still aiming for unified rubber destruction.
Glen and Sarah Taylor made the trip across the country from Rockingham, WA for their honeymoon. "When I received the invitation to compete here I knew exactly where we were going to spend our honeymoon," Glen laughed. "She got the wedding and I got the honeymoon!"
The pair's journey across the Nullarbor wasn't easy though. With the country deep in a heatwave, the tow car radiator decided to pack it in, so towing speeds were limited to 60km/h for days on end until it could be fixed.
But they made it, and at the end of the comp Glen placed first in the Six class and first in People's Choice. It was easy to understand why BARK was the crowd favourite; a 4/71 blower shoving 19lb of boost into a four-litre EA Falcon on methanol is all it takes.
Peter Staszewski’s UNLESH HQ packs a blown 510ci big-block Chev with a lazy 1300hp, and had little trouble filling the pad with smoke within seconds. It was a case of ‘blink and you’ll miss it’ as Peter disappeared into a smoke abyss.
While Darryl Ferguson in his 1949 Morris Commercial, SMOKNRAT, didn’t place in the Top 10 finishers in Pro Blown, he did rank third in the punter vote. The cab sits on an HQ chassis and is powered by the ubiquitous LS1 and 6/71 blower combo.
Former SM Young Gun Charlie Sant’s HK Kingswood is a real head-turner – straight, neat and tough. With a little help from his dad Paul of ProFlo Performance, the build took a little over two-and-a-half years. Don’t let the 186 badges fool you; beneath the bonnet lies a tough 350 Chev.
Dean Irvine’s BLOWN VK was one of four WA cars that parked up at Gary Myers’s house after Summernats so they could be ready to roll at the ABC. If you were pad-side for Dean’s qualifier at the ’Nats, you’ll remember the huge fire that melted the rear. After some readjustment to the pipes, Dean reckons the possibility of fire is a thing of the past. His burnouts both days at the ABC were mental.
Andrew Blanda from Abbotsbury, NSW came to the show along with his dad, who drives an LS3-powered VF Commodore complete with Walkinshaw enhancements.
Unfortunately Sydney Dragway doesn’t allow passengers during burnout comps, because if they did Matt Lunney would have filled his FLIRT Commodore to the brim. The blown, E85-chugging 402ci LY6 helped produce a skid that saw Matt take second place in Pro Blown.
FOR the full results and to check out the new Motorscore app for desktop, go to app.motorscore.net, or search for ‘motorscore’ in your app store.
1. Adrian Cuthbertson - SKIDMA
2. Matt Lunney - FLIRT
3. Phil Kerjean - TUFFST
4. Mick Hamon - WIDEOPEN
5. Warren Gersekowsi - 1TUFHG
6. Nikolas Rigby - MELTEM
7. Jason Ballard - HELLRAZOR
8. Dean Irvine - BLOWN VK
9. Tim Barby - MOJO
10. bRYAN sMILIE - TIPNIN
PRO NATURALLY ASPIRATED
1. Josh Rendall - CANFRY
2. Robert Bond - DBLSTNDRDS
3. Graeme Longhurst - ITSON
4. Alex Slavin - GETHLP
5. Eric Fauge - WOGPWR
6. Lochie Carnegie - VANDAL
7. Chris Eade - KNGTFF
8. Dwayne Vaccaro - HITLER
9. Jack Hobbs - IJUS8U
10. Daniel Vella - FRYLC
1. Glen Taylor - BARK
2. Mathew Dale - LIMITAR
3. Mark Ansaldi - BARRA6
4. Matt Watts - BLO202
5. Paul Watts - WATTSY
6. Rhys Shields - BIPOLAR
7. Joanne Ryan - COUGAR
8. Adam Fleming - TYAFRYA
9. Chris Denny - FENSTER
10.Sam Bagatella - WATBOY