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Tuff Mounts 235 Aspirated class wrap-up – Drag Challenge 2019

By Glenn Torrens | Photos: Luke Hunter, Shaun Tanner, 21 Nov 2019 Drag Challenge

Tuff Mounts 235 Aspirated class wrap-up – Drag Challenge 2019

The full rundown of Drag Challenge’s all-motor small-tyre class for 2019

NATHAN Ghosn won 235 Aspirated the first time we featured the class at Drag Challenge Weekend earlier this year. Now, he’s proved that win was no fluke, heading the Tuff Mounts 235 Aspirated list once again at Drag Challenge 2019. Driving his white Ford Capri, Nathan – who has participated at every Drag Challenge event since its kick-off – led the class from start to finish, with a combined ET of 38.374sec.

Like everyone else, Nathan found the dust a challenge at Mildura’s Sunset Strip Raceway, but the only mechanical wobble the Sydney-based racer experienced resulted in a soft first run on Portland’s eighth-mile on Thursday. Nathan checked the trans, but finding nothing in the filters or fluids, he went for another hit. “I took it light off the line, but it hooked up and went!” Nathan said of the subsequent 6.19@112mph run. Problem gone!

Nathan’s Capri runs old-school Ford power: a carb-fed, 700hp, 370ci Windsor, with the C4 ’box aided by a new-for-this-year Gear Vendors overdrive, allowing better cruiseability with the deep 4.3:1 nine-inch diff gears.

| Read next: Tuff Mounts 235 Blown class wrap-up 

 

Valiant Regal

Second in class was Aaron James, with a cumulative time of 38.832sec – a terrific effort given that Aaron and his Valiant Regal were first-timers to the event. But they’re not first timers to drag racing, with the big Val singing its way into the 10s in Aaron’s home state of WA in the decade since it was built. Five months ago, the decision was made to enter the Regal in DC, so an alloy-headed stroker 528-cube Mopar was screwed together for the event.

Aaron and third placegetter Donnie Zurcas swapped spots during the week; the 235 Aspirated class was a tight competition.

Along for the DC cruise in the big blue Val was Aaron’s dad Al and his pop Doug – three generations of Jameses cruising in style, along with good mate Geoff. 

| Read next: Drag Challenge 2019 Top Ten Overall and awards

 

Ford Capri

Shepparton’s Donnie Zurcas and his Ford Capri placed third in Tuff Mounts 235 Aspirated, posting a 38.839sec combined time by week’s end. The Capri was new to Drag Challenge this year; Donnie has participated in the past in a 434ci small-block Chev-powered EK Holden.

The new Capri is also Chev-powered – a 388ci with a Powerglide and nine-inch behind it. “It’s not super-big, about 550hp,” Donnie said on Day One. “This is a bit of a test!” The ‘test’ first run of 9.96 showed Donnie was a contender from Day One, nipping at the heels of Aaron James’s 9.87.

But on Day Three a head gasket popped, so the head came off to also reveal broken ring lands in two pistons. “We cleaned it up, put in a gasket, then richened it up to save the engine,” Donnie explained. The problem was later traced to a faulty fuel pressure gauge.

The fix worked: by the end of the week he was just 0.007sec behind Aaron’s cumulative total!

| Read next: Drag Challenge 2019 full results 

 

Mitsubishi Sigma

Jason Waye is bossman of 235 Aspirated class sponsor Tuff Mounts. For most of this year, he was elbows-deep in a Barra-powered Mustang build, but when he realised it might not be finished in time for this year’s Drag Challenge, he installed a lightly tickled LS V8 and matching four-speed auto into a 1981 Mitsubishi Sigma.

Jason was aiming for 11s at Drag Challenge, and from a first run of 13.3 followed by a set of 12.8s on Monday, the Sigma improved to an 11.84 on Friday at Calder. Mission accomplished!

 

Holden FE

After running out of fuel at Calder on Monday, double-entered drivers Charlie Jones and Kevin O’Neill made sure they had plenty of go-juice for the rest of the week for their FE Holden Special. With around 650 flywheel horses, the innocent-looking, 400ci SBC-powered 1950s Holden is capable of 10s, but no rollcage meant the lads had to back off a little: 11.04 was the result during Friday night’s last blast at racing.

 

Ford XY ute

Sydney’s Jason Mansweto flew to Queensland to buy this time-warper XY Falcon ute and drive it home. The fact it’s now capable of 10s proves that the factory V8 ute is not quite showroom any more.

Using the factory block and heads, Jason built himself a nice 408-cube Clevo. But in order to prevent the ute hazing the 235 tyres, he pulled a stack of timing from the motor, giving the un-’caged Falc a chance to hook up and keep it legal in the high 11s.

“It’s a bit frustrating!” laughed Jason of the ute’s performance. “I spend my life making horsepower, so it hurts to have to take it out!”

 

TUFF MOUNTS 235 ASPIRATED

  Calder Mildura Mildura Portland Calder  
  ET MPH ET MPH ET MPH ET MPH ET MPH Combined ET
Nathan Ghosn 9.758 140.5 6.401 111.43 6.216 111.34 6.193 112.77 9.806 139.23 38.374
Aaron James 9.876 138.84 6.422 109.35 6.297 110.19 6.317 110.74 9.92 135.93 38.832
Donnie Zurcas 9.967 133.84 6.271 110.76 6.191 112.55 6.27 112.82 10.14 125.87 38.839
Matt Forbes 10.896 124.64 6.854 98.96 6.79 99.77 6.794 99.62 10.661 126.54 41.995
John Kerr 10.619 126.68 6.892 99.91 6.873 100.59 7.042 99 10.763 124.41 42.189
Kevin O'Neill 10.808 126.21 7.032 98.81 6.819 102.7 6.896 102.16 11.045 122.99 42.6
Jason Mansweto 10.721 127.79 7.24 100.62 6.797 101.56 6.828 102.74 11.122 89.82 42.708
Andrew Waight 11.074 125.81 7.087 6.35 7.015 99.88 7.034 99.75 11.039 124.69 43.249
Les Waight 11.552 123.73 7.431 6.06 7.426 94.23 7.404 93 11.668 120.67 45.481
Andrew Delia 11.621 115.32 7.41 94.18 7.372 94.24 7.436 94.89 11.665 112.03 45.504
Corey Edwards 11.869 116.14 7.567 90.65 7.617 89.33 7.39 87.53 11.545 117.06 45.988
Chris Collins 11.915 116.97 7.683 89.6 7.586 91.1 7.562 91.81 11.925 115.06 46.671
David Chapple 13.013 110.41 7.576 93.64 7.567 93.63 7.538 94.61 11.742 117.43 47.436
Jason Waye 12.834 108.94 8.121 72.28 7.735 87.24 8.002 74.9 11.846 113.65 48.538
Damien Busbridge 12.177 112.69 7.876 87.58 7.937 88.38 8.19 87.65 12.73 109.66 48.91
Mario Gaffiero 15.17 110.02 7.708 90.53 7.846 89.12 7.478 92.76 11.586 116.17 49.788
Larissa Franke 12.655 110.8 8.247 90.46 9.041 82.32 8.211 92.21 12.5 114.26 50.654
Rod Williams 13.731 103.91 8.985 83.44 9.004 83.22 8.766 85.83 13.991 99 54.477

 

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