Racing at three venues over four days with two sessions on country airstrip eighth-mile tracks and the third at Sydney Dragway as part of the Day of the Drags event, the inaugural Drag-Ens Drag Safari was one of the best hot rod road trips I have ever experienced!
Entrants covered 1000 kilometres from Sydney, through the central west of New South Wales and back. Some made it the whole way without issue while some were bruised, battered and trailered home. I travelled nearly 3000 kilometres over six days, slept in the back of XP1000 a few times, got wet, got dirty, and had an absolute ball doing it.
Starting with a meet and greet at Sydney Dragway on Tuesday night March 9, the Drag-Ens Drag Safari got underway with a sausage sizzle and a few drinks, while participants shared tales of drag racing exploits and adventures. Stories about sugar cubes in race car fuel tanks, sandbaggin’ on dial-in times, and sketchy practices during staging at the start line came up and those that were unfamiliar were soon learning all about drag racing etiquette, good sportsmanship, and the lengths some win-at-all costs racers will go to help get that competitive edge.
Come Wednesday morning, the rumbling of hot-rodded V8 engines woke us up, as entrants who didn’t swag it at the track joined us in the pit area before our 7:00 am departure. A quick egg and bacon sandwich brekkie gave us all enough charge to hit the road and before long, we were cruising with a couple dozen pre-’48 hot rods, screaming out of Sydney towards the Blue Mountains. Winding through those hills with a convoy of hot rods looked unreal and made for some great Go Pro footage.
Our first stop at Lithgow saw us take over the Maccas car park before heading out through Bathurst and Orange, where lunch supplies were sourced, as the first facility we were to race at had no on-site catering. Another hour up the road to Wellington and a further 12 kilometres out to the Bodangora Airstrip and we were ready to race. The locals advised us that since there hadn’t been any racing there in the past 12 months, the timing equipment was playing up due to lack of use. Andrew McClelland soon had the sparky issues sorted out and racing began with a supercharged father and son duel between Greg and Steven Cooke in their blown Chevy-powered coupes. With just over a dozen competitors and about the same number along for the ride as spectators, racing was a matter of fine-tuning for some, while other more inexperienced racers got plenty of passes to practise their technique.
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