July 5, 2016


Get down with the sickness

Rob Taylor is not about catching a disease – in fact his life’s work has been to prevent it. But when it comes to drag racing he came down with a serious case of quarter mile fever. The Melbourne-based biochemist stepped into the deep end of the sport last year with a new Top Doorslammer, the culmination of a love of fast cars. “As a kid I grew up in the northern suburbs (of Melbourne) so I was always into cars,” he said. “We used to race illegally on the streets, but that was very short lived because we used to continuously get arrested and have cars impounded and that sort of stuff in the late 80s and early 90s. They were harder then they are now on the racing. “But there was an initiative by Calder Park back then where you could come and race your street car and race the cops.” Taylor shifted into legal drag racing and quickly found himself developing a severe sickness for the sport. His streetable Holden HX ute was a nine second runner, with a 509ci stroker and Hilborn injection. Back then, that was a properly fast street car – indeed it still is. Real life then stepped in and brought a temporary stop to Taylor’s racing plans. “After a few years of racing I got sick, I had a brain tumour and I had to stop racing for ten years,” he said. “It was because of the fact that I had taken that much time off work and uni when I was sick that I had to catch up after.” Taylor’s return to the sport was in a purple Holden Torana he bought from Queensland in 2011 and it has been a successful and fun race car for the team. But if there is one thing to be said for Taylor’s Version 2.0 career in the sport it is that he knows what he likes and doesn’t hesitate to get it. When the Torana was getting a rebuild he was looking for a motor and stumbled on a Super Sedan Gemini. “When I saw it under cover I thought it was an LX Torana for a minute, then I saw it was a Gemini, I thought, ‘who races a Gemini?’ But I fell in love with it because it was a really nice car.” The Gemini had 500 cubic inches up front but the restless Taylor wanted something even bigger, so he went for a 622ci Reher Morrison. “The car went 7.6/180mph off it at 1000 feet but it ended in tears after ten runs. To his credit the engine builder has done the right thing and we have just ordered a 762ci Reher Morrison. The car will be front halved at Bob Maslen Race Cars to make it fit.” Taylor confessed he always has a project going on somewhere. There’s also an LJ Torana and a 1968 Camaro lurking about, the former with 502ci up front and driven on the street, the latter about to get a turbo set up. But the biggest splash Taylor has made lately is with the debut of the ‘Mad Professor’ Camaro Top Doorslammer. When we asked Taylor what his first drive in a 2500 horsepower supercharged sedan was like, he said he had to give the G-rated version. “It was like all the best passes you have ever put together, in one go,” he said. “I look back it it now and everything went so flawlessly because I had the right people around me. “It’s exciting, it’s high anxiety, it’s fun, its so exhilarating and such a rush. And then you have people around you who are there for you, that support you and help you and because of that you share the experience. “Sharing going fast with your team is unbelievable. They give up time every weekend to come to our factory and basically give up their weekends and work on cars and get shit prepared and it is a labour of love.” There is a very obvious physical sensation that comes with being accelerated to obscene speeds in just a few seconds, but Taylor explained that the competition is what drives him. “I like all the brackets. I love to race Super Sedan. Everyone says how can you run Super Sedan after running six seconds? But it is not about that, it is about the competition.” There are no illusions within the team that the current challenge is going to be their greatest yet. “We are not (racing) TD to run at the back of the field. We want to run as fast as possible. We know these guys (the other TD racers), they are professionals we know it will take time to get up and run with them. “I’m not going to run there on the bump spot. We are going there to run as fast as we possibly can. We will be respectful, but you don’t go not to win.” You may wonder what the ‘Mad Professor’ livery is all about. Taylor, who runs the Melbourne Sports Medicine and Anti Aging Clinic, said his profession as a biochemist has led to a nickname among friends. “My mates all call me the mad professor because I am always doing something exotic. We do anti-aging and hormone replacement therapy. Because of that I am always in the lab, that’s how the name came about.” It’s unlikely he’ll be brewing up a cure for the drag racing sickness any time soon. Taylor wanted to pass on his thanks to his wife Georgie Taylor, his crew including Rob Carella, Nick Dyer, Mick Carella, Joey Colaci, Andrew Sutton, Con Maretis, Anthony Rodrigues, his staff at Melbourne Sports Medicine and Anti-Aging, Drago Hikodijevic for his advice and friendship and Bob Maslen Race Cars. – This article originally appeared in Drag News Magazine. For more great Australian drag racing content, subscribe now. {fcomment}

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GrantORourke PS 1067 040516 25

O’Rourke to “park up” after NT double header

After twenty plus years of consecutive competition in events all around Australia from Super Street to Group 1, O’Rourke Motorsport’s Grant and Debbie have announced that they will ‘park up’ for an unspecified time, following July’s back-to-back drag racing events in the Northern Territory.

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