THE Street Machine crew decided to spend the 2018 Australia Day weekend overseas. Sacrilege, I know – we couldn’t listen to the Triple J Hottest 100, eat any lamb or ‘shrimp’ cooked on any variation of a barbecue – but hear me out. Where we were heading, there would be burnouts, and we brought our own car, packing at least 7hp for each song in the countdown. We were going to Powercruise in Tasmania with the Carnage MX5.7!
On Thursday afternoon we made our way to the big red Spirit of Tasmania ship, which travels between St Kilda in Melbourne and Devonport in Tassie twice a day. After security checked that we weren’t bringing any apples or weapons on board – apart from our 700hp twin-turbo LS, that is – and panicking that we’d forgotten our passports (no, you don’t actually need them to go to Tasmania), we made it onto the boat.
Once on dry land we met up with Brenden ‘Bubba’ Medlyn, our 2016 Drag Challenge winner, who volunteered to help/party with us over the long weekend. Since it was Australia Day, we went shopping for Aussie flags and Bubba ended up buying half of Shiploads (similar to the Reject Shop) in Launceston. The SM budget could only afford a few Bunnings snags, but we weren’t complaining.
Eventually we made it to Symmons Plains Raceway for Day One of Powercruise 70. For the uninitiated, the concept behind Powercruise is that entrants get to drive around a race track and do whatever they like, provided they don’t end up driving on rims. Then there’s a burnout competition, off-street drags and a powerskid session.
Symmons Plains Raceway is a great spot; it’s a V8 Supercar track with a couple of really cool turns, a tight hairpin with a big elevation change and one massive back straight with a slight kink in it.
A handful of big-name cars made their way across the ditch on one of Andrew Lynch’s car carriers, including Lynchy’s own Corolla, Danny Younis’s blown Capri, Mark Schwarz’s HANFUL Monaro, Andrew Pool’s IBLOWN and Rodney Waters’s KRANKY HQ. There were a few really tough Tasmanian cars too, including Darren Triffett’s INJECTED VH Commodore and Jesse Paramore’s SKIDZO.
All these guys went through bulk tyres across the three-day event. Lynchy had run out of tyres by Saturday afternoon, but fortunately more were donated to the cause by Sunday morning. Local boy Darren burnt through over 250 litres of fuel on Saturday alone! Let’s hope the EPA isn’t reading this.
Friday night saw the first round of burnouts, although it was just a practice for the actual competition over the weekend. Lynchy couldn’t help himself and knocked off two sets of tyres right off the bat! We had the Carnage MX-5 on the pad for the very first time, too, and initially it was quite daunting because of the pad’s small size, but the car seemed to make it through in one piece, although the alternator died on us.
Saturday morning rolled around and the track cruising kicked off. I had spoken to a young bloke by the name of Jezz Gearman on Friday night about his home-built R31 Skyline drift car. His thoughts? “I want to take it home rodded; we’re going to go that hard!” Sure enough, by the time we arrived at the track on Saturday morning, the cammed and tunnel-rammed L98 had thrown a rod. “It was good fun while it hung together,” he said afterwards. Big thanks to Jezz for donating his alternator to get the MX-5 up and running again.
It was great to see plenty of other tough Tassie streeters blasting around the track, like Andrew Hingston’s 405ci ProCharged small block-powered ’56 Chev. Another really cool sight was Tom Rolls’s VH Commodore track car. He built it at home with his brother Cameron from a stock 202 auto into a cammed LS3-powered, six-speed, ’caged racer with coil-overs and big brakes. Between Tom and Michael Bellinger with his 383ci stroker LS-powered Datsun 240Z hillclimb car, there were certainly some quick old-school rides out on the track keeping the late-model Evos and Nissans honest.
Then there were guys like Lynchy and Danny Younis that just wanted to let it all hang out and enter every corner with as much sideways attitude as possible, and the crowd were absolutely losing it. At one point Lynchy blew a tyre on track right in front of me as he came past the startline completely crossed up – what a hero.
At the Saturday night burnouts, it was fantastic to see so many young people giving it a crack on the pad. They may not have been as exciting to watch as the blokes with the big-banger cars, but you can’t knock these guys for learning car control in a safe environment and having a go; a lot of them can drive, too – thanks, I’m guessing, to the awesome driving roads that wiggle their way around Tasmania. All these blokes need is a shedload more horsepower under the bonnet!
Local hero Darren Triffett was a definite standout with his blown 427ci Chev-powered INJECTED VH Commodore. That is an angry car, and last time it was at this pad it caught fire in a big way, sending flames into the cabin and turning the fuel cell into a football. This time around it only started a small grass fire as it left the pad.
Queenslander Andrew Pool had a bit of an incident when he tipped-in his IBLOWN Commodore. Apparently VC door latches aren’t designed for skids, because as Andrew spun it around into the pad, his driver’s side door swung wide open and buckled the guard. He didn’t even lift, and still got the tyres off.
The powerskids were really cool too. The Powercruise guys set the startline just at the end of turn three and sent the cars down the front straight towards the hairpin. A bunch of the interstate guys decided to increase the difficulty by starting before the turn, coming around the corner and onto the straight with the tyres frying. Mark Schwarz nailed it in his HANFUL blown HQ Monaro and must’ve got bloody close to the wall – it looked epic.
In the off-street drags it seemed like no one could beat Powercruise promoter Gup with his all-wheel-drive Tesla Model S electric car – and there were some very tough cars in the running. Paul Hamilton had his twin-turbo 600ci XA Falcon out, but overpowered the track when the boost came on. We thought our MX-5 would do well, but it blew a tyre in the first round and was put out of contention. Ultimately only the blown and injected, slick-tyre Capri of Mark Whitla could run down Gup in the Tesla to take the win.
All in all, Powercruise was a great way to spend the Australia Day weekend, and we’ll almost definitely be back – maybe with more cars. Watch the Carnage episode from the weekend starring the twin-turbo MX5.7 here; it’s a cracker.
SKIDS & STUFF
Nick Cosgrove – COZZA
2ND TOP POWERSKID
Darren Triffett – INJECTED
OFF-STREET RACING WINNER
Mark Whitla – Ford Capri
OFF-STREET RACING RUNNER-UP
Gup – Tesla Model S P90D
TOP-JUDGED BURNOUT; BEST TIP-IN; BEST CELEBRATION; LORD OF THE REVS; CROWD FAVOURITE
Darren Triffett – INJECTED
BURNOUT TOP FIVE (no order)
Darren Triffett – INJECTED
Jesse Paramore – SKIDZO
George Strates – LOOSE
Nick Cosgrove – COZZA
Nick Fenton – LVS LYF
George Strates – 1999 Commodore
Simon Palmer – Nissan Silvia
SHOW ’N’ SHINE
TOP-JUDGED SHOW CLASS
Paul Guest – LX Torana hatchback
TOP-JUDGED STREET CLASS
Sandy Ross – 1975 Valiant Charger
TOP-JUDGED COMP CLASS
Josh Stebbeings – LX Torana hatchback
1. Josh Stebbeings's monster LX Torana hatch packs a 540ci big block Chev, topped by a 14/71 Kebelco blower and a Big & Ugly hat. The hatch took out Top Judged, Comp Class
2. Michael Brown’s neat XB Falcon hardtop was a real eye-catcher, and with a 450hp 351 Clevo under the bonnet and 11sec timeslips to its name, it’s a tough streeter too
3. Rodney Waters’s KRANKY HQ was one of half-a-dozen invited cars from the mainland – brought over to put on a show, but not eligible for any awards
4. Danny Younis is no stranger to Powercruise events and it shows in the way he drives his blown Chev-powered Capri. He’s a young dude that can really steer; this Capri spent plenty of time over the weekend on the lock stops!
5. You’d never guess Jason Kingston’s HZ Holden ute was packing a 427ci big-block Chev under the bonnet! It’s a pretty mild street set-up with 500hp on nitrous – plenty to fry the tyres on track and give the off-street drags a red-hot crack
6. Jacob Kean has been at the past three Powercruise Tassie events in his XM wagon, with a different engine each year. He started with a standard six, then went to a crossflow, but this year he upgraded to a 302 Windsor and T5. “I put it together myself,” he said. “These motors slot straight in and there are plenty of off-the-shelf parts available”
7. Michael Bellinger has had this Datsun 240Z for more than 30 years. Over that time he’s built it up as a hillclimb car with a half-’cage, coil-overs and Wilwood brakes. The latest engine combo is a COME Racing-built 383ci LS with nitrous, making around 480rwhp
8. Wayne Boyd had his XW Falcon GT replica tearing up the track all weekend. Under the bonnet is a 500rwhp 427ci tall-deck Dart Windsor built by Blaze Performance that had done less than 1000km of work before Powercruise. Wayne certainly gave it a good run-in over the weekend
9. Andrew Hingston drove his 405ci ProCharged ’56 Chev to Symmons Plains towing a trailer, and then ran amok on track! He’s had the car for 15 years and with this engine combo for the past four. Having run a PB of 11.09, it’s a pretty quick streeter!
10. Robert Bone’s tidy XR Falcon streeter runs a 363ci Dart Windsor, C4 trans and 9in rear end. “We’ve been having a ball out on track; we just come around the corner in top gear and it just blazes tyres!” Robert laughed
11. Unfortunately Jezz Gearman’s weekend didn’t last long after the tunnel-rammed L98 in his R31 Skyline drift car threw a rod on Saturday morning. Funnily enough, that was his aim, but he would have liked it to last a little longer than a couple of laps
12. Ricky Bester bought this HR Holden ute as a roller, then decided to stuff a 406ci blown small-block Chev under the bonnet and do skids!
13. There’s no doubt about Andrew Lynch’s car control skills out on the burnout pad, but what this dude can do on a circuit is even more impressive! When Lynchy wasn’t popping tyres on the pad he was drifting out on track, and even then he was still blowing tyres!
14. Josh Brodribb came over from Hobart with his tough 1200hp VY skid ute packing a built LQ9 and 8/71 blower. “It was put together three weeks ago,” said Josh. “I built it myself and it’s my first serious burnout car. We’re just going to do powerskids and cruising this weekend and make sure it’s all running right”
15. Jesse Paramore’s SKIDZO ClubSport was another impressive Tasmanian skid car. It’s powered by a built LQ9 topped with a 6/71 blower, and has been on the scene for about a year now
16. Tom Rolls and his brother Cameron built this VC Commodore from a stock 202 auto grandma car into an LS3-powered six-speed track beast. With a rollcage, coil-overs, big brakes and semi-slick tyres, it’s almost like a baby touring car
17. Ben Kramer never misses Powercruise Tassie! This year he had his home-built VK Commodore out for some fun. It runs a Holden 355 stroker and six-speed combo, which makes around 450rwhp with a 100-shot of giggle gas
18. After completing its duties as a street car on SM Drag Challenge a few months ago, Mark Whitla’s Capri had the slick tyres and blower back on for Powercruise, and took the top gong in the off-street drags, edging out Gup’s Tesla
19. One of the angriest Tasmanian cars at Powercruise was Darren Triffett’s blown 427ci small block-powered VH Commodore skid car. Darren actually leaves the car on the mainland for all of the big skid comps, but sent it home for Powercruise and then Tassienats a few weeks later
20. We didn’t catch up with the owner of this righteous HQ – but we loved the fat rubber and killer stance!
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Street Machine is the bible of Aussie modified auto culture, celebrating wild muscle cars, customs and hot rods – and the incredible humans who create them.
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