Janelle Scott's Holden Torana might as well be considered part of the family.
A 20 year journey with the iconic Australian muscle car has seen Scott and husband Colin take it from a ten second streeter to a wild, eight second quarter mile, naturally aspirated radial monster.
“I think it has done one race pass on slicks early in that 20 years and the rest on radial tyres,” Scott said.
The Torana has retained its street heritage, riding on stock suspension. Scott was the first to run eight seconds in the APSA True Street class but has now turned her attention to the Kenda Tires Radial Riot, where she will race heads up against dozens of other radial weapons.
“I have only ever raced on radials and together with the heads up format it's a match made in heaven,” she said. “Scott Harker and Justin Simpson raced and knew the feeling amongst the other racers; this form of racing had a heart beat. The boys then brought it to life.
“It's a trip back to the old hardcore cars of street racing but some now with the latest technology. Heads up racing always has the fans up off the seat. Not to mention the wheelstands! Our racing is no politics, no bull, just racers doing what they love.
“I feel totally at home and would love to encourage more girls to give it a go. If any are keen to ask me what it's like, please feel free to come say hi at the track.”
The unpredictability of radial tyres is part of the reason the format has proved so popular among racers. Scott believes that there is a big payoff for drivers and tuners who can master the secrets of the radial tyre and keep control when things do go astray.
“A radial tyre is so much harder to hook up on the track, however it is very rewarding once the car and driver can control the dead hook these tyres give on a well prepped track, like the Kenda Series has been proudly supplying us racers with. I have only raced on radials and I love the challenge.
“I keep pedalling and don't give in until I know the car isn't going where I want it to. Then you know you've driven it to that point where you have reached it's unhappy place! Colin has to watch from behind, I guess it looks more colourful from there.
“Having sound experience and respect for the car and its power proves priceless for me in knowing how far I can push her.”
With 425 cubic inches of Gerry Cooper-built small block Chev power under the bonnet, there is plenty of horsepower for Scott to take wins, but the off-track experience is just as important for her family race team.
“We have a good group of friends and family who help keep this dream alive,” she said. “My husband and crew chief Colin is the true force behind the car set up and oversees the engine builds. I have also had the pleasure of having my son Shane crew with us a few times. The remaining crew Mike and Andy are our mates that donate their time to help prep the car before and during these meets help to make it all possible.
“There is nothing better than a cold beverage after a big day of racing with your crew and fellow competitors. It can't get much better than hanging out with others that totally understand your love of racing. Maybe it's even an addiction.”
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, 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).