Legendary jet drag truck to throw fire once more

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The famous Western Australian exhibition drag racing vehicle Thunder Down Under has been restored and will soon be ready to breathe fire once again.

The jet-powered drag truck, driven by the late Gary Miocevich, thrilled fans at the now defunct Ravenswood Raceway and around the country, powering its way to 323kmh (200.7mph) passes over the quarter mile.

dragtruck2.jpgIt was consigned to being a museum piece, and deemed by some to be too heavy to race safely, but a renewed push by Miocevich’s family, including son Daniel, has seen it being upgraded and prepared to terrify a whole group of new race fans.

Daniel said he, his uncles Brad and Mark, and crew were in the process of rebuilding the truck as a tribute to Gary, who passed away earlier this year. Testing is scheduled for November.

“If we can get the new fuel system sorted, I’ll be jumping in and doing an exhibition fire show at Perth Speed Fest (in December),” he said. “It’ll be the first time the jet truck has run in over 20 years and I don’t care if your ideal day includes high tea and ballet, 20 metre fireballs are awesome in anybody’s books.”

The Ford Louiseville LTL 9000 uses a GE J79 Jet Engine from an F-4 Phantom II Jet Fighter and today still holds the record as the fastest jet powered truck in the southern hemisphere.

Daniel said safety is high in mind when it comes to the family’s racing.

“Of course there’s an element of danger, but that’s what makes any risk-taking activity exciting – whether it’s base jumping or racing jet-powered cars. If it’s not dangerous, it doesn’t get your blood pumping,” admitted Daniel.

“Drag racing is a highly technical sport and those that do well at it are pushing the limits of engineering within the rules – if more people knew that then more people would appreciate the complexities, and the dangers, of the sport.

“I’m really hoping we can have the jet truck ready to make some noise at Perth Speed Fest – it’s an absolute beast, and I know Dad would be smiling down on us.”



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