Northern Nats 2021 day two

Thrills and spills aplenty at Northern Nats 2021 at Springmount Raceway

Northern Nats
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An incident-packed day has thrilled an estimated 8000 fans on Northern Nats 5’s second day at Far North Queensland’s Springmount Raceway.

After a morning loaded with cruising, go-to-woah and high-quality show 'n' shine, the hot afternoon’s drag racing and roll racing upped the noise and speed before things took a turn for the spectacular during power skids practice.

The I GOTTA P purple Datto drag car rolled against the strip wall causing massive panel and front-end damage, making it a huge relief to see its driver clamber out after a frightening ride.

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It was left to Gary Myers in the ’05 2INSANE Mustang GT to restore order straight afterwards, power skidding the car for the first time in four years in stunning fashion. With the legendary ‘Stang up for sale, Gary was keen to show prospective buyers exactly what it’s capable of.

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Luke Matthews’ tough 1966 Mk1 Cortina with 406 Chev also looks good for Sunday’s power skids final, the little Ford entertaining with a wall of noise and tyre smoke.

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Luke Matthews’ tough 1966 Mk1 Ford Escort runs a 406 Chev with Turbo 350, 9-inch diff and Gazzard Brothers rear end. At Northern Nats it was a favourite at the drags and roll racing, lifting its nose in a wall of sound. The Mt Isa local’s previously run a 9.6 @ 141mph, and despite the hot weather slowing him, he’s a huge fan of NN. “It’s the perfect event in beautiful country,” he said. “The strip’s the best I’ve ever been to, and as long as the car’s consistent I’m happy.”

Ahead of the evening’s entertainment the Show n Shine winners were announced – top prize going to local Cairns restorer John Owens and his epic 1976 Holden Torana A9X hatch replica with 400 Chev, built as a Targa car but to such a level it was too good not to show.

As skies turned orange the drama continued as the burnout beasts went skidding for the huge crowds.

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John Owens’ 1976 Holden Torana has been seven years in the restoration process. Born an SL, John rebuilt it as an A9X-inspired Targa car, running a 400 Chev with Dart block and alloy heads, getting 650hp at the flywheel. “I wasn’t expecting this win with the amount of really nice cars here,” the Cairns local said about the car he only completed a couple of months ago. “It wasn’t supposed to be a show car at all, but I thought I’ve come this far, and have a contender.” Next plan? Targa Great Barrier Reef.

The RIM IT Escort Mk2 tried a reverse tip-in, went sideways and hit the wall hard, re-arranging the front quarter. A bad night too for Corollas. TUFF20’s fuel pump belt came off straight after a killer tip-in, then Terry Blanchard’s LS1-powered KE30 JOYRIDE also shut down after its tip-in. Both Corollas sadly dragged off by the tow truck, hopefully able to return for the final night’s show.

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The burnout Pro Class – on day two of three to decide the combined-score winner for the $15,000 prize – was expectedly massive. Jake Myers in SICKO sparked off into the night after winning it on the noise and smoke fronts, while Rick Fuller went huge in his yellow LSONE VK.

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Jessie Barbeler in his 1150hp SKEATA Suzuki Mighty Boy was another with a crazy tip-in, showing there’s massive competition at NN 5 for the ultimate prize. It’s going to be tight for top honours and the judges will have a tough task separating the quality on display.

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Mt Isa’s Graham Hilton’s stunning 1975 HJ Holden wagon was spectacularly lifting its wheels on the strip. “It’ll go better when it gets a bit cooler, it’s hot out there!” he said. An LS3 with Magnuson supercharger makes 750-800hp at the tyres, while this ol’ family wagon uses a Turbo 400 and 9-inch diff. “It’s fully street registered and driven,” Graham said. “I drive it to Woolies to get the shopping then go racing.”

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Townsville’s Tom Martens brought his restored and modded ’74 Monaro GTS replica. “It wasn’t original when I bought it – it started life as a six-cylinder auto – so I wasn’t concerned about modifying it,” he said. He’s shoved in a VE Commodore’s L98 V8 and added a carburetted top end on it for the old-school look.

With Tremec six-speed manual and 9-inch Tom says it’s tuned for a bit over 400hp and his is fun street cruiser. Painted House of Kolor Pagan Gold with Root Beer stripes it rolls on Boyd Coddington Junkyard Dog 18-inch rims to accommodate a big brake upgrade. “I believe if you make a car go fast you should be able to stop fast too,” he said. Wise words.

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Show 'n' shine runner up, top interior and top restoration, this is the Impala everyone wants. Hacienda Blue 1967 Chevy was Aussie-built in RHD from the GMH factory and delivered new to Mareeba, Far North Queensland. It’s in the same family 54 years later, still with matching numbers 327 small block and totally flawless after a full resto last year.

Joe Torrisi, son of the Impala’s original owners, rebuilt the engine himself and kept everything original except adding disc brakes up front, air conditioning and “I’ve sat it a bit lower and put decent rubber on it,” he said.

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People’s Choice winner - ‘WIDGET’ Falcon XE with 408 stroker, manual C4 transmission and McDonald Bros 9-inch diff with 35-spline axles was People’s Choice winner at Show n Shine. Rolls on 17-inch Centreline rims, painted custom “Jawbreaker” by NQ Truck Bake and interior is a sumptuous black crush velour.

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Horsepower animal Donny Gray’s NASTI1 1969 Chev Camaro RS/SS is a complete weapon with Grays Racing-built 580ci Dart big block, Brodix Big Brodie heads, NRE Billet Alien intake and twin Garrett Gen 2 GTX4709r turbos. Manualised three-speed TH400, chromoly tailshaft and fabricated 9-inch diff housing, plus Gazzard Brothers shocks and front coilovers valved for radial racing.

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Daniel Di Bella’s DNTLOSE ’74 XB Falcon 500 with twin-turbo Coyote, Turbo 400 and 9-inch diff. ‘It’s still the only twin-turbo Coyote in an X Series in Australia,” the Ingham, QLD, local said.

Running 10psi for Northern Nats’ drags and roll racing it’s pulling around 600hp, but upped to 20psi Daniel says he’ll be seeing closer to 1000hp. “I’ve been building it for Northern Nats for the last five years, and I’m just loving it. Amazing place here.”

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Iain Curry
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Ash Wilson
Photography

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