The Kenda Tires Radial Riot will be able to count an old school convert among its racing group when thousands of horsepower hit the track on Saturday, September 1.
Brett Armstrong has been a long time spectator and racer at Willowbank Raceway, growing up around the venue which was designed for quarter mile racing (402 metres) when it was first built in 1985.
Armstrong (pictured, image courtesy dragphotos.com.au) admits he started out skeptical of the Kenda Series' eighth mile racing (201 metres), but the format has rapidly grown on him.
“It turned into a thrilling, adrenaline-packed, four to five second rush,” he said, clearly a new fan of eighth mile racing on radial tyres, which puts the emphasis on driver reaction times and controlled power application.
“The spectators seem to enjoy the quality and many styles of cars at the meets. Being over in 200 metres it's also easier to see the end of a good race.
“When they walk through the staging lanes it's colourful and variety-filled, from a gold Holden Commodore VL Turbo to an orange Ford Falcon XD or a pink XC Coupe - all popping wheelies and very quick cars.”
Armstrong races a classic 1969 Chevy Nova, with a massive 598ci (9.8 litre) big block Chev V8 under the bonnet. But that's not enough power alone, with Armstrong also running a 350 horsepower shot of nitrous to give him an extra boost.
As with all racers using radial tyres, Armstrong knows that getting the power to the ground is the hardest part. On an ideal run, the tyres will grip and the car will accelerate forward at pace, but there is always the risk of a big wheelstand or tyre spin, both of which can cost a race win.
“Competing on radials always has racers on the computer (to change a tune up) or tweaking suspension settings to dial into the track temperature and surface conditions which change over the course of a meeting,” Armstrong explained.
“I have raced a few different cars over the years in the Kenda Series and managing to 'dead hook' and drag the rear bumper with the front wheels in the air always gives you a buzz.
“In the last three meets I've been in the 5.0 second zone but I am ready to hit the fours at the Kenda Tires Radial Riot.”
While he would love to take the win, Armstrong says for outright pace all eyes are on Perry Bullivant and his Snickers-sponsored Chev Camaro.
“Rarely do cars go backwards on times once racing begins so any car or team running in the low to mid four second zone should be in the winner's circle, as Perry keeps proving.
“Teams with big dollar setups and skilled people who know how to get it done is the benchmark of radial racing in Australia at the moment.”
Kenda Tires Radial Riot will feature a massive pool of cash and prizes totalling $35,000 for those who can tame their cars and bikes over the eighth mile (201 metre) distance of Willowbank's superbly prepared track. Classes will include Classic & Muscle Car Imports 660 Radial Rebels, Kenda Tires Radial Riot will also include Gazzard Bros Limited 275, Phantom Performance & Dyno Outlaw 235, Simon O’Carroll Swimming Pools 660 Radial Renegade, All Over Plant Hire 660 Radial Rumble and Pro Cycle Dyno 660 Radial Rockets (Radial Pro Street Bikes).
For more information head to www.willowbankraceway.com.au.