For the second year, the Horsepower Zeros lined up to take a shot at seeing who makes the most horsepower from the smallest – or silliest – engine. Last year’s champion was Tim Shoard’s motorised Esky, beating out the Shannons Insurance Goggomobil Dart with 11hp against 3.7hp.
Tony O’Donnell, Steve Farmer and Mick Saide from Shannons swore revenge, and came to this year’s Summernats having apparently fitted a “big-block” 400cc motor to the Gee-oh-gee-gee-oh, on top of other “secret” mods (like “winding up the rubber band extra tight”, according to Tony).
Rather than adding horsepower, Tim Shoard tried the Lotus Formula One strategy of “adding lightness” to his Esky – by running it empty, unlike last year.
And then there was George Grivas’s 500cc two-stroke hand-built “Woody” ring-in lurking as the dark horse.
Unfortunately for Tim, his lightweight plans saw him unable to tame the Esky’s ferocious power on the dyno rollers, wheel-spinning and sliding its way to a maximum 5.8hp, though he did take it out and blow the tyres off it in Tuff Street late on Saturday.
George’s Woody proved difficult to handle, with the owner having to step in several times and show the operators how to get the best from it. He ended up making a high of 6.6hp.
This meant the Horsepower Zeros title was Shannons Insurance’s to lose. Having wound up the rubber band powering the Goggomobil extra-tight, the Dyno Dynamics crew wrung 8.6hp out of the little Dart. The crowd went wild with polite applause and mild enthusiasm, as the Shannons boys basked in the glory.