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Peter Cates will be making his national-level racing debut at the back-to-back Summit Racing Equipment Sportsman Series events at the Hidden Valley Drag Strip (Top End Nats – 14/15 July) and Alice Springs Inland Dragway (July 22/23) this month, campaigning a race car that is the only one of its kind in Australia and one of only 50 in the world.

Cates, whose racing origins come from Speedway, first dipped his toe into the world of drag racing in 2019 at the Red Centre NATS, and is now preparing to race at the national level for the first time in Top Sportsman with a practically brand-new Dodge Challenger Mopar Drag Pak.

“After watching for many years, in 2019 I brought a 840 horsepower Dodge Demon to Adelaide – it was the quickest production car in the world at the time. I had my first run in it at the Red CentreNATS at Alice Springs Inland Dragway in 2021 and right away, I was hooked,” Cates explained.

“Since then, along with one of my best mates, Warren Leonard, I brought over a 1200+ horsepower 2021 Dodge Drag Pak – the only one in Australia and one of only 50 ever made.

“It is a very special car. It looks like a street car, but with a parachute, and is just incredible to drive. We had our first run at Mildura at the Easter Supercharged Outlaw meeting earlier this year, qualifying for my UDL licence on the Friday and racing on the Saturday.

“It is an eight second car, and while we ran in Supercharged Outlaws at Easter, we will be running the Top Sportsman bracket moving forward.

“Getting the car to Australia, learning about it and getting it down the track has been a huge achievement in itself, and we are excited to see what we can do next.”

Cates will be making his Top Sportsman debut at the back-to-back Top End Nationals and Desert Nationals this month.

“The Top End events are always great. We are from a speedway background originally and have raced at Darwin and also in Katherine before for Formula 500 and we always love heading up there,” Cates said.

“The Hidden Valley Motorsport Precinct, including the drag strip, is a great facility and I am so glad to see that we are going to have something similar in place in South Australia with the Dragway at the Bend being added to the Tailem Bend facility.

“We have run at the Red CentreNATS at Alice Springs for the last two years also and it is always a really great weekend, and we have a great time. The track is fantastic, as are the people.

“Motorsport is really well supported in the Territory – the whole town gets behind it and it is so well run and organised with great facilities, so we can’t wait to head back there for both the Darwin and the Alice Springs events with the new car.

“Racing back-to-back national-level events certainly does load up a bit more pressure, but we have a week between the events to fix anything that needs to be done, while still having plenty of time to have a great holiday with some down time in a fantastic place at the same time.

“Hopefully we can learn as much about the car as possible, while setting it up to be nice and consistent. As this is a brand new car, we have very little information available and are starting essentially from scratch, so it will be all about staying safe and straight. Hopefully we can qualify for the finals, and have a lot of fun in the process.”

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