GRANT Connor’s shaved, smoothed and stunning XR Falcon was the first ride unveiled at Summernats 29, and it certainly set the bar high. Built by Knight’s Garage, the car sports HOK candy paint, a tough 393ci Clevo, 22-inch Simmons rims and a sweet custom leather interior. The judges awarded him a spot in the Top 20, as well as Top Super Street and 3rd Top Interior, but the real prize came when it was announced that the XR had taken out the coveted People’s Choice award.
While it is hard for a car outside the Top 10 to win the Grand Champion gong, clinching People’s Choice put Grant in the running at the pointy end of the field. However, the rigours of the driving event aspects of the Grand Champ competition means that debut cars are rarely well-sorted enough to perform at their best in the motorkhana and go-to-whoa, and while the XR finished mid-field in the go-to-whoa, it came second-last in the grass driving. In contrast, John Saad’s RX-3 – which suffered alternator problems last year – won the go-to-whoa and came second in the grass driving, clinching the Grand Champ gong.
Nevertheless, it was quite a weekend for the XR, considering that the car originally came into Des Knight’s shop in Orange, NSW just to get the guards rolled. Two years later – and with a surprisingly small budget for an Elite car – Grant has a ride that has every chance of taking home the Grand Champion sword in 2017.