Jet flies high to $50K at Grudge Kings

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Jeremy ‘Jet’ Martin has won the $50,000 on offer at Grudge Kings – the largest winner’s purse in Australian drag racing history.


The race for the $50k at Sydney Dragway on July 14, 2018 had more twists and turns than a Hollywood script, but it was the twin turbo VB Holden Commodore winning the final over Bruno Matijasevic’s blown Holden HG to claim the richest prize for drag racing in this land.


32 racers bought into the the grudge racing event at $1000 each for the $50k which was topped up from the promoters. Testing in the days leading up to the event eliminated a few leaving 26 to draw for their round one match ups and lane.

Rules were simple. Racing was heads up over the 1/8th mile, there were no ambers, just a green light with a seven second time out, winner moves on.


Anything goes engine wise, the car just had to retain factory steel roof and quarters.


In front of a massive Sydney Dragway crowd – that shows ‘outside the box’ events outside can draw strongly if marketed right – racing was nothing short of dramatic.


Andrew Micallef set the scene in the first pair and ‘sent it’ almost into orbit against David Hellyer, but lost the win.


Nick Tsoltoudis runs from a burning Mazda RX3 in a nasty methanol fire moment.


Domenic Rigoli crashed his world record holding 300ZX heavily. Rigoli was knocked unconscious, with the car wedged up against the wall and the motor still revving hard. Fire crews silenced the RB engine and an extensive delay followed for precautionary measures to extract Rigoli safely. Fortunately reports are Rigoli is okay.

This was just round one.


Of course there would be controversy. Scenes were heated in the third round when Joe Sabato dropped a lot of fuel on the track after the burnout in the Mick’s Motorsport 200SX. In confusing scenes to follow, he ended up staging the car which red lighted his opponent Jeremy Callaghan. From what we can gather from the situation at this point, the officials ruled a solo to Callaghan but Sabato wanted to stage anyway (noting he staged in the previous round on a solo with a leak). However the timing system had already been reset to accept a solo run and Sabato managed to get into stage (how is also debated, whether it was under power or pushed, we haven’t seen video footage yet to clarify either version – but it is a mute point if the run was designated a solo). So when Sabato did stage a red flashed in Callaghan’s lane who was not in stage at that point and probably equally confused as the rest of us to what was going on. The end result was Sabato had ruled to have dropped fluid on the track and was from disqualified at that point from the race – the debate rages on.



Racing continued on and the two favourites, Jeremy Martin and Perry Bullivant, threw down in round three. Martin trumping a pedalling Bullivant in the Snickers machine.

With racing heading towards the real serious end of the event, burn downs and start line games came into play. Whether you are fan of them or not, they are exciting for the crowd and shouldn’t be discouraged with the atmosphere it invokes.


Supercharged Outlaws racer Bruno Matijasevic was flying under the radar, playing the game and picking up wins against Kit Hunter, Dale Heiller, Mark Hayes and Jeremy Callaghan to be an underdog running for $50k in the final against Martin.

The final became a non-event when the games caught out Matijasevic following a long burn down. Martin bumped the Commodore in and Matijasevic looked to try and hold out for the full seven seconds but the red came on in his lane as he brought on the full stage light and Martin took off for the win and a monster pay day.



Other classes weren’t run as eliminators due to a lot of stoppages with breakages, something that happens in drag racing, but not any one person’s fault. We won’t harp on any negatives from the event. Yes, there were some operational issues, mainly due to the large number of entries and spectators, which we suppose is an unfortunate consequence of a highly successful marketing campaign and tireless effort by promoter Po Tung. Running new style events of this magnitude are going to find weak points, and everyone will learn and move on to the next one for it to become bigger and better.


Grudge racing is another unique format in the sport that has barely been tapped and should be explored more as an alternative, and praise should be heaped on Tung for having the nous to give it a shot and bringing it home, successfully tapping into a whole new market for the sport.

Much more detail, photos and video is still to come from the event.


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