Read’s Top Sportsman street car gets repairs for Alice Springs

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Cory Read is currently in the middle of a 1500km trip from Darwin to Alice Springs with his Top Sportsman Ford Falcon on a trailer, which actually makes a nice change for the South Australian drag racer.

Read is travelling for round two of the Summit Racing Equipment Sportsman Series, which is being held alongside the Australian Drag Racing Championships at Alice Springs Inland Dragway’s Desert Nationals this weekend (July 24/25).

Read is a regular competitor in Street Machine Magazine’s Drag Challenge, which requires entrants to drive their cars between venues and race on five consecutive days.

“I was involved with drag racing years ago in the late nineties when I crewed on a Pro Stock Bike, but Drag Challenge was what got me involved in the sport again,” he said. “I built this XF Ford Falcon in 2016. It started out with a basic LS1 but it has progressed from there.”

At the heart of the Falcon now rests a turbocharged LS3 motor, capable of pushing Read into the mid-eights at well over 150mph. Amazingly this is a street legal car that can be driven on public roads as well as a race track.

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“I always said I wasn’t going to put a roll cage in it or a turbo, but I’m pretty good at breaking stuff so I keep upgrading it more and more,” he said. “But it’s still one of the only cars in Top Sportsman with steel panels, and we can drive it to the start line and back to the pits.

“Everyone reckons turbo cars spool up slowly but we have that pretty well sorted out and we have been cutting good lights.”

While driving the Falcon from Darwin to Alice Springs for the second round of the Summit Racing Equipment Sportsman Series was an option, it wasn’t a sensible one according to Read.

“We thought about it, but at 1500 kilometres I think I’d be broke from the fuel bill,” he laughed.

The Top End Nationals saw Read qualify with a best of 8.53 and make it to the semi finals of Top Sportsman, but he had a broken race car to fix at the end of the night. Fortunately he is a mechanic by trade, and he had no concerns about making it to the Desert Nationals this weekend.

“We have a scramble button on the steering wheel to see what difference it made, and I pushed things too far,” he explained. “It lifted a head and damaged a head gasket. The new gasket should be in Alice Springs when I get there. We pulled it apart at the track and it looked alright. It’s what I do for a job, so it’s not a big problem.”

Read plans on pursuing as many rounds of the Summit Racing Equipment Sportsman Series as he can get to, alongside his Super Sedan-racing friend Mark Busscher.

“We decided this year that we would try and do as many rounds as we can and get some points in the Summit Series,” Read said. “We are not sure about Perth, but maybe we will try and get there for one. It all depends on work and commitments at the time.”

The Desert Nationals at Alice Spring Inland Dragway begins on Saturday, July 24 with qualifying from 11am. Race day takes place on Sunday, July 25, also commencing from 11am. The event includes the second round of the Australian Drag Racing Championship and the Summit Racing Equipment Sportsman Series.

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