Willowbank Raceway is known around the country as one of Australia’s finest drag racing venues, home to one of the world’s largest Drag Racing meet the Winternationals. However, the track is passionately committed to serving grassroots Australian Drag Racing, and nowhere is this more evident than through their annual Queensland Drag Racing Championship Series.
A several-leg series culminating in a cut throat eliminator-style final, the 2016 season is at the pointy-end of proceedings and keen Drag Racers have already endured up to five rounds of intense racing, with their eyes now firmly fixed on victory in front of a home crowd.
“I’ve raced every round this year,” says reigning Super Street Champion and current Class Leader Lucas Holz, with equal-parts humility and pride evident in his voice. “It’s been a really good competition, everyone is stepping it up and racing really competitively – it’s getting harder and harder,” the reigning champ’ admits.
For many racers being able to compete in a local Queensland series on their home turf, the Willowbank quarter mile, is one of the things that makes the QDRC a unique event.
“Willowbank is by far the best track in Queensland… we always get good crowds at the events and there’s always a great atmosphere in the pits with the crowd really interacting with the racers,” explains QDRC Outlaws Series Leader Nathan Pullen. “Being a local team we just focus on the local racing, and the QDRC offers us just that… it’s so important to have a strong local Championship” Pullen elaborates.
It’s a sentiment that’s echoed by reigning Modified class champion and current class leader, Kellie Kidd. A second generation racer herself whose own children are being brought up in the sport, Kidd promotes Drag Racing as a great family pastime and reinforces the important role the QDRC plays on the Queensland Drag Racing calendar.
“Having a solid Championship at our local track is a massive advantage to our sport” Kidd explains.
With ten categories represented at the QDRC, there’s plenty of variety in the paddock with each event seeing a combined field of way over 100 entrants driving everything from Junior Dragsters to various motorbike categories and more recognisable categories like Super Street and the heavy-hitting Outlaw class.
One of the most exciting new categories is the Kenda Tires Drag Radial class, which mirrors the soaring popularity of radial tyre drag racing currently exploding in the United States. Drag Radial racing sees entrants swap their full-slick tyres for rubber hoops more akin to conventional street tyres, but don’t for one second think that means they put on any less of a show. Drag Radial racing is some of the most white-knuckle, heads-up action you’ll catch on the Willowbank black top as drivers wage a fast-paced battle with their supremely powerful cars.
The Drag Radial class attracts entrants from throughout Queensland and all over Australia as the class continues to grow and gather momentum. With some 65 cars entered in the Kenda Tires Drag Radial class at this weekend’s QDRC, its racing you can’t afford to miss.
One of the QDRC’s main advantages is the relaxed approach the almost-entirely Queensland entrants take towards the Championship Series.
“It’s a great bunch of entrants. We all have fun and no one takes it too seriously,” explains Pullen.
And while the Series is quickly drawing to a close and opportunities to claim last-minute Championship points are slipping away, the impending weekend of racing isn’t weighing on the mind of the entrants who instead are choosing to focus on one job at a time.
“Getting all our vehicles and our crew to the track takes a team effort, that’s for sure,” beings Kidd, who’s staring down the barrel of her second-consecutive season on top of the Modified field with her father running a close second behind her.
“In the first round of the 2016 season I got to race my Dad in a Final for the first time!” she exclaims. “It was an absolute honour, I remember every second of that race. He’s my idol,” she elaborates. “To have him hot on my heels in the Championship is a treat for the team. I’m hoping I can hold him off this weekend! There’s no special preparation though, we approach every meeting the same – it’s just another meeting and the Championship is still anybody’s game,” says Kidd in closing.
The sixth round of the QDRC roars through Willowbank on Saturday 17th September, 2016. Gates open at 6am and, with the season heating up you can bank on hard-fought racing that’s guaranteed to give you your money’s worth.