TUNNEL Vision’s King Of The Street took over Ballarat Airport last weekend for a day of eighth-mile, heads-up runway racing. It’s a no-prep-style event designed to replicate street racing, but in a safe, controlled environment. The rules are pretty simple: Your car must be street registered, race on DOT-approved tyres and be in street trim – full exhaust (or diff dumps) and full interior.
There was some serious cash up for grabs too, with first place taking home $4000 and second place $1500. Some of the toughest genuine street cars in Melbourne came along for the day, including September’s Street Machine cover car, Brendan Cherry’s twin-turbo big-block Monaro. Luke Foley’s proven eight-second VH Commodore streeter, Jason Ghiller’s Barra XD Falcon, Dom Zito’s Torana, and Zoran Makarovski’s XB coupe were other heavy-hitters at the event.
All up there were around 40 cars entered, which meant everyone got plenty of track time and, with all them a chance to take out the top spot, the racing was close. The best thing about it all was that the track was the equaliser; plenty of cars got out of shape, and it came down to who could set up suspension, get their tune right, drill the tree and ultimately drive down the track without blazing tyres. Good old-fashioned drag racing.
Rather than go straight into competition, there was a two-hour practice session during the morning, and boy were there some cars getting loose! Once the turbo cars came on boost they’d just smoke tyres and let it all hang out, especially over the painted strips of the runway. By the time competition began later in the day, a fair bit of rubber had built up on the startline and the first 60 feet, and cars were starting to hook up.
Still, a few of the big-banger cars got knocked out early by some of the less-powerful aspo combos. One of those was Luke Foley in the twin-turbo LS VH Commodore. He couldn’t get onto the two-step before the tree went green, so she took off super-lazy and Luke wasn’t able to reel in his opponent once the boost kicked in. This is where some of the aspirated cars had an advantage – if you were turbo and didn’t have a bump box, it was difficult to stage properly before the lights went green.
Event organiser Jason Ghiller from Tunnel Vision reckons that for next year’s King Of The Street they’ll start the race with a flash light rather than use the tree, to avoid guys getting screwed because they didn’t have enough time to hit the two-step.
As the day progressed two cars really stood out as contenders for the cash: Jason Ruby’s all-wheel-drive RB30/25-powered Nissan Silvia and Brendan Cherry’s twin-turbo big-block HK Monaro. Both cars were leaving hard and making mincemeat of the competition.
The final saw Cherry versus Ruby, and you couldn’t have asked for a better race between two completely different cars. The only common ground between the two was they were both on similar-compound 255 radial tyres – the Silvia sporting them at all four corners.
With both cars popping off the two-step, the lights went green and Cherry’s Monaro managed to get ahead in the 60-foot despite the Silvia’s all-paw traction advantage. But once the Silvia hit second gear, Jason reeled in the Monaro and they were neck-and-neck until the big-block in the Monaro hit its stride in the top end and just baked the tyres. The Silvia went past just a few metres before the finish line. Jason took home the $4000 first prize and Cherry the $1500 – not a bad day’s work for both blokes, and a lot of fun!