A VETERAN of every five-day Drag Challenge event so far, Brendan Cherry has run with several very different cars over the years, from his original turbo LS HQ Monaro, to his elite-level big-block HK Monaro, and then on to a VL Calais he originally shared with his mate, Josh Ploeger.
Straight out of the gate at Calder on Day One, Brendan ticked that goal off his list, running a 7.79@180mph – a new MPH PB for the car. “I’d like to get the ETs down into the 7.50s if we could,” Brendan said at the time. “Running a seven and nearly 181mph is great, so we’ve done what I’d initially wanted to achieve.”
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Last year head gasket woes knocked them out of the DC race in Swan Hill, but 2019 was a different beast, and the teal Calais cruised effortlessly up to Mildura where Brendan really started to lean on it. Across Tuesday and Wednesday, his 5.11@143mph and 5.22@143mph locked in his second-place spot in the Turbosmart Outlaw Blown class.
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“With the weather we’d had on Tuesday, we decided to put our no-prep tune in it, and it just stuck,” Brendan said after Mildura. “We didn’t have any dramas on the big road legs either, even running E85 full-time.”
The difficult weather conditions in Portland saw Brendan finish second-quickest behind Outlaw Blown class (and Overall) leader Harry Haig, with a 5.09@147mph four-hundredths of a second behind Harry’s 5.05@140mph.
Back at Calder on Friday, the boys were keen to run that mid-seven and finish Drag Challenge on a high, duking out for second Overall with Daniel Szabolics’s epic big-inch HQ Monaro. Brendan’s 7.61@184mph not only reset the car’s ET and MPH PBs, but locked him into second Overall and second in Turbosmart Outlaw Blown.
“We are rapt; we are over the moon,” said Brendan after collecting his Seven-Second Club red hat. “I didn’t see that second Overall coming! The car has a fresh AliPwr engine, so we came in just hoping to PB on Day One.”
RUNNER-UP – TURBOSMART OUTLAW BLOWN
1987 HOLDEN VL CALAIS
Class: Turbosmart Outlaw Blown
Engine: Merlin Chev 572ci big-block
Turbos: Twin BorgWarner S480 67mm
Converter: TCE 8.5in
Diff: 9in, 3.5:1 gears
Previous PB: 7.94@174mph