SOUTH East Queensland’s Lockyer Valley and Darling Downs regions have long been renowned for their Street Sprints series, and on the first weekend of March the 2016 season kicked off in the town of Gatton, with a side-order of burnouts as a bonus.
Organised by the Downs Motorsport Club, the annual Gatton Street Sprints takes place in a blocked-off industrial area. Approximately one kilometre long, the street circuit is not for the faint-hearted, with some tight chicanes and sharp off-camber turns. Competitors get as many as seven runs against the clock across the weekend, and once it’s all done and dusted they’re ranked according to their best lap time.
Many of the cars at these events sport some of the craziest engine swaps imaginable – for example, Peter Murphy showed up this year in an unassuming Morris Minor, and finished a respectable third in his class.
The reason for the Morris’s handy turn of speed? There is a 351ci Windsor jammed in the engine bay! Peter ran a best of 1:23.574.
There were plenty of other cool set-ups in action. Allora’s Garry O’Halloran set some very respectable lap times in his supercharged 202ci FE Holden.
We’ve seen Josh Pile’s 179-powered 1943 Chev ute in action at the drags before, so it was cool to see him take on some twisty bits. The six-pot tried escaping thanks to two broken engine mounts, but Josh still managed a fifth-place spot in the Registered 2001-3000cc class.
Racing driver Ben Gersekowski won the event outright in his E36 BMW, thanks to a best time of 1:08.115.
Again, Ben’s Bavarian Taxi has had a cool engine swap, with the factory six ditched for an LS1.
Motorsport clearly runs in the Gersekowski family; Courtney Gersekowski, daughter of burnout ace and Downs Motorsport president Warren, did very well in the sprints in her VB SL/E Commodore, until a blown head gasket stopped her progress.
However, she didn’t go home empty-handed, nailing third in the Eight-Cylinder class of Saturday’s burnout comp.
This year’s event came with a $4000 burnout purse, which drew plenty of heavy-hitting tyre-punishers, including Steve Loader in RELOAD, tip-in king LYNCHY, Mark Schwarz in HANFUL and Mad Mick Brasher in ULEGAL, who ended up tasting victory in the Pro class.
Some of the burnout guys also took to the street circuit for some powerskids throughout the day, giving the crowd some entertainment between sprint heats.
If you’re keen to check out the action at next year’s Gatton Street Sprints, head to www.downsmotorsportclub.com.au for more info.
1st Andrew Mirfin
2nd Peter Adams
3rd Courtney Gersekowski
1st Nicole Henning
2nd Clayton Reditt
3rd Alex Moon
1st Mick Brasher
2nd Rick Fuller
3rd Andrew Lynch
4th Mark Schwarz
5th Ty Burley