Classic Holden metal clustered around Willowbank Raceway for HK-T-G Drag Day
LIKE many things in life, size doesn’t always matter when it comes to a successful drag racing event. Take two very different meetings at Queensland’s Willowbank Raceway in June. At the start of the month was the 50th Winternationals. Despite the final day being rained out, Australia’s most prestigious drag race saw the pits bursting with entrants, the stands chock-full of spectators and some outstanding performances on track – including the first-ever 4.4-second pass on Australian soil.
Then, at the end of the month, Adam Reeves from HKTGStuff held his third HK-T-G Holden event at the same track. That’s right; you can enter anything you like at one of Adam’s meetings, just so long as it’s an HK, HT or HG Holden. The meeting attracted 123 examples through the gates in every bodystyle – yep, even a big-booted Brougham! Of these, 70 drivers put their names down to race.
That may not seem like a lot, but the number of entrants isn’t the point of niche events like this – it’s to gather together folks who have the very same obsession and celebrate that joint interest by burning rubber.
Of course, Adam doesn’t want to go broke in the process, so he runs the HK-T-G event in the daytime before an evening test ’n’ tune, which keeps the track-hire costs down.
Like other successful niche events like Warwick’s Six Banger Nats, the HK-T-G day is designed to attract everyone from seasoned racers to first-timers. The classes are simple: Outlaw for cars running quicker than 10.50 seconds, Quick Street for those in the 13 to 10.51-second zone, a Street Class for anything running 13.01 seconds and higher and a Wicked Whitewall class for anyone competing on a whitewall radial.
Winners in each class are decided by the quickest ET and there are also trophies for Best Burnout and Best Wheelstand. Simples!
Luke Kestle took out the Outlaw class with his bad-arse turbo small-block Chev-powered HG ute dubbed BUMPIN. Luke ran a best of 8.2@165mph, making it the quickest car on the day. The ute is getting better with every outing and will surely slide into the seven-second bracket in the near future.
Scott Skews won the Quick Street Class in his stunning ANARCY HG Monaro, getting right down close to the 10.50-second cut-off with a 10.535@130mph!
And the Street Class? “As it turns out, we only had one entrant in Street Class and he ran quicker than a 13.01, so he ended up in Quick Street,” laughed Adam.
One of the toughest cars at the event was Pete Robins’s blown BADREP HG Belmont from NSW. Pete last raced in 2000 and was keen to get out on the track again. The first run produced a 10.60@117mph, hitting the limiter. On the second run, she went bang.
“It felt strong until the shifter neutralised going into top gear and zinged the engine,” he lamented. “I saw the tacho hit 9000 and found top gear as the engine blew, but I stayed into it as long as I could; I didn’t want to lose my call-out race!”
With oil and coolant blowing all over the windscreen, Pete went through for a 10.7@117mph to take his victory. “The clean-up crew gave me back a pushrod, half a lifter, a bit of piston skirt and a chunk of block, but the engine failure couldn’t spoil the weekend.”
The Best Burnout award was a no-contest, with Joel Blake’s CRAYZE HG Monaro smoking the other contenders into submission, while the Best Wheelstand gong went to Brett Wills in his 434-cube HT Premier.
Event organiser Adam was stoked with the turnout. “Honestly, we were blown away by the popularity of the event. The fact that guys will come all the way from Sydney and Cairns just to hang out and race speaks volumes.”
He’s already booked Willowbank for 23 June next year. “And we’re looking at holding an event at Sydney Dragway and in Melbourne,” he said.
Street Machine Drag Challenge veteran Dominic Pelle summed up the attraction of days like this.
“Even though it was just for a very specific group of cars, the variety within that is awesome. I’m into the turbo stuff, but it was great seeing – and hearing – the tough aspirated small-block and Holden-powered cars in action. It is such a relaxed day and tops atmosphere – the way the drags should always be. Everyone is having fun and no one is racing for sheep stations.” Baa!
1. Russell Tonkin’s super-nice HT packs a 434ci small-block Chev and was running in the Outlaw class. “We had a nice family drive to the track, put a nitrous bottle in and ran a PB of 9.43@144mph,” Russell said. The HT then ran 9.4 five times in a row! Russell hopes to continue his run down into the lower nines. “It sees plenty of street use,” he said. “When it’s not at the track it’s either doing school runs or family cruises”
2. This was John Flanders’s first ever drag race event in his stunning HK Monaro, which had not moved under its own steam for five years. The week leading up to the event, John flew in from Melbourne to piece the car together with its new Tremaniac-built 360ci small-block with the help of a bunch of mates. The effort paid off, with a best for the day of firstname.lastname@example.org, with more to come
3. It may look like a stock HK Premier, but Bruce Henderson has a 396ci, nitrous-assisted small-block hiding under the stock bonnet, backed by a Powerglide and 3.77:1 9in. Running on 235 radial whitewalls, the Prem normally runs in the 10sec zone, but had to be satisfied with a flat 11 on the day
4. Dave Galea made the last-minute decision to make the trip up from Newcastle, NSW, and didn’t regret it, running a best of 12.2@109mph. “My HT is a donor car to my two-door build, and the little 383, Powerglide and VL Turbo diff combo ran solid all day,” Dave said. “It keeps me patient while building the Monaro”
5. Steve Dow’s HT Kingswood wagon runs a 383ci small-block Chev and column-shift Powerglide combination and punched out a best of 12.1@112mph on the day
6. Scott Skews won the Quick Street Class in his stunning ANARCY HG Monaro, getting right down close to the 10.50sec cut-off with a 10.535@130mph! Scott handled the Monaro’s show-quality bodywork himself, while the paint was applied by Pat’s Pro Restos
7. Nigel Davidson made the long trek south from Cairns with his Monaro race car. “The car usually runs a 9.38@142mph, but first run out we set a new PB with a 9.27@143mph and then backed it up with three 9.28s at 143mph,” said Nigel, who bought the car as an ex-Wild Buncher and has set it up with a 465ci small-block and TH400 combo
8. Quickest car of the day and winner of the Outlaw class was Luke Kestle’s BUMPIN HG ute. The 388ci small-block is assisted by a BorgWarner S480 turbo and managed by a Haltech Elite 2500 ECU. Running through a TH400 and custom 9in, the ute cracked a new PB of 8.2@165mph
9. Joel Blake won the Best Burnout award in his CRAYZE 383 Chev-powered HG Monaro – also known as King Brown. This was Joel’s first time at the track with the HG and it pulled a best of 11.34@119mph on street tyres, driven to and from the track
10. Sven Harvey’s 186NOT HG Kingswood runs a red-headed, 327ci plastic motor and ran a 12.40sec pass on skinny whitewalls. The mill is backed by a full manual Trimatic and 3.89:1 9in
11. Justin and Tina Blake’s Vedaro Green FEEDAH HT Monaro has a 406ci small-block from John White Racing Engines hiding under that oh-so-tasteful reverse-cowl scoop. With a Powerglide, 5500rpm converter and a Gazzard Brothers mono-leaf set-up out back, the HT is built to haul and ran a best of email@example.com
12. Up from Sydney, Pete Robins’s blown BADREP HG Belmont runs a 6/71-blown small-block. After a first run of 10.60@117mph, she went bang on the next pass
13. Al Ponting had the only panel van in action on the drag strip and he gave its 355ci Chev, Rock Crusher four-speed and 9in a hiding! He ran a best of 12.06@106mph
14. Dom Pelle cruised up from Sydney with fellow Drag Challenge vet Nathan Clarke riding shotgun. The single-turbo L98-equipped HK ran right on its PB with a best of 10.2@133mph. “We had a ball,” Dom said. “We towed a couple of vintage Honda pit bikes up with us. The HK ticked along at 3050rpm at the highway limit and ran like a dream. Hoping to crack a nine soon”
15. Jamie Skews is a stalwart of Queensland's Pro Street scene in his wheelstanding HX sedan. His HK Monaro runs a 434ci small-block and TH400 combo and ran a best of 10.6@128mph on radians on the day