REPORT – Nitro history at Sydney Nostalgia Drags

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The Cruzin’ Magazine Sydney Nostalgia Drags claimed a little piece of history when Rick Gauci stormed his way to the first five second nitro altered pass in Australia with “Bezerk”.

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Gauci set the record with an off the trailer 5.941 at 238mph to beat Shane Olive in “Psycho III” to the benchmark both racers had been chasing for some time.

“We were so close to that 5-second pass at Willowbank Raceway, we didn’t want to change to much for the Sydney event. The only major difference was the car was faster in the first half of the track.
“We are super excited, I have to thank the entire Aeroflow crew,” smiled Gauci.

Gauci slammed another five on his next pass as well with a 5.982 to back up the earlier run.

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Psycho III was giving Olive a hard time with the altered heading for a the centre line on his first run clocking a 6.87 after lifting off the power, before being shut down on the line on the second pass. Coming back out for one final shot, Psycho III was hooked up picking the wheels up a foot off the ground to 300ft before Olive had to abort the run when the altered started heading for the wall.

Olive explained, “It wasn’t the result we were looking for Psycho, the car is really strong early in the run in fact it was faster in the first half of the track than our 6.01 second pass a few weeks ago.
“However, in typical fuel altered style it just keeps picking the front wheels up off the ground, which makes it rather hard to steer!

“Congratulations to Rick and the Berzerk team on getting the first ‘five’, we will keep pushing though as we would really like to get that 5-second pass in Psycho for Graeme and Wendy.”

Also out playing with their nitro machines was Morice McMillan in the One Bad Kiwi Outlaw Nitro Funny Car and AA/Dave Armstrong in his nitro FED “Mean Streak”.

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McMillan laid down some impressive consistent laps 5.98, 5.97 and 6.01.

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While Armstrong threw some more clutch at the FED and really improved on his PB with a 6.204 at 221mph.

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In Top Eliminator we had real mix of machinery. Russell Mills was out using the day as a test bed for his Top Alcohol FED and improved on the car’s PB with a nice 5.63.

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Likewise Geoff Blake who is taking a different approach, but still planning to dabble in Top Alcohol with his FED, is still trying to solve some tyre shake matters.

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The final of the Chicago Shootout format that all classes are running at the event came down to Queensland’s Fred Westhoff with his blown FED and local Paul Galea in a twin turbo Camaro. The two had a barnstormer of a race together in the previous round that had Galea take the win 6.98 (6.75 DI) to the FED’s 6.81 (6.59). Still Westhoff had been running consistently all day in the high sixes, and the final was no different, a 6.81 on a 6.59 drove around Galea’s 7.10 on a 6.75 and exacted some revenge.

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In Top Gas two familiar faces of the Sydney Dragway bracket racing scene found themselves door handle to door handle in the final. Marco Tolomeo and Sean Maher were on the gas with a .006 and a .008 reaction respectively showing why they are two of the heavy hitters in DYO racing. At the stripe it was Tolomeo’s Falcon with a 9.232 (9.21 DI) defeating the Torana of Maher by a nose on his 9.594 (9.57 DI).

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The ladies were showing how it’s done in Middle Eliminator – a class for FEDs and altereds. Chelsea Leahy in her FED made the trek down from QLD and found herself in final against Jenny Petrie’s Topolino bodied altered, in what was a bizarre race. The altered of Petrie broke an axle on the line turning her hard right, fortunately Petrie caught they car before it touched the wall, meanwhile Leahy streaked away down track only to breakout with a 8.48 on a 8.53 in the cooling conditions, handing the event win back to a stranded but lucky Petrie.

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There were some gorgeous metal in Hot Rod – and tough! Like Royden Hardcastle’s 1928 Dodge Senior, which is fully engineered and street registered with a 555ci Buick big block for motivation.

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The final though was Luke Thomsen’s 1928 Ford Roadster against Wayne Sampson’s equally cool Ford Pick Up. Sampson torqued up the truck off the line but a broke out trying to run down a superior reacting Thomsen who claimed the win.

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In Street Machine, Charlie Attard tossed away his chance of a win by being too eager on the trigger yanking at -.140 red light in his Torana, leaving Manual Hilounakis to cruise his XC to a win.

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Joshua Howett upset the experienced Luke “Tex” Griffiths in Stock with a holeshot win. Howett’s XR left with a .047 light to Tex’s .104, the big Satellite mowed down the lead with a 11.03 on a 11.00 but that still was not enough to take the win away from Howett’s 12.39 on a 12.30.

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Vintage Gas again showed off the weird and wonderful from days gone past – from Morris Minors and Austins to blown Falcons and Chevs.

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At the end of the day it was John Kerr who saw his father John honoured with a ANFA Pioneer Award the night before facing Ash Hayley’s Chev in the final. Kerr who has countless nostalgia event wins to his name with his Comet would not be adding this event to the collection however, a slack light forced Kerr to breakout trying to stay ahead of Hayley’s tidy 11.00 on a 10.96 pass.

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In HAMBster Peter Grant nabbed the victory when Jeremy Boskovich broke out by just a couple of thousandths.

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And in Classic Bike, new comer Shannon Thomson on the quickest bike in the field by far, romped home against Mark Akers’ Kawasaki in the final.

Some more imagery from the event in this gallery by Cackling Pipes – you can check out more photos on or Cackling Pipes Facebook page

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