Penrith drag racer Geoff Gradden is upping the power in his machine as he prepares to take on the nation’s best in the ANDRA Pro Series at Sydney Dragway on March 24 and 25.
Gradden’s Sigra Dodge Saratoga Top Doorslammer is one of only two in the country and he feels the time is right to move to the 3000 horsepower tune up and get a handle on launching the car to speeds of 400kmh in just six seconds.
“We want to do more work with our own tune up. We’ve recently gone to 106% on the supercharger overdrive and we have been holding that back because I did not think we had enough experience with the full power,” he said. “But not having the extra power is causing us problems with tyre shake. With more power we can get wheel speed up. Now it’s got as much power as the other guys.
“We would like to go a bit quicker than we have before and learn from the other guys by watching what they do on the race track.”
All going to plan, the 52 year general manager of Sigra, a Penrith-based railway engineering company, wants to edge his personal best time for the quarter mile (402m) Sydney Dragway strip into the 6.2sec zone.
Gradden explained that drag racing is well regarded amongst his engineering-minded co-workers.
“I’ve always worked in industry, 30 years I have had my own business and it gets good press from drag racing,” he said. “The interest in drag racing is quite high from young engineers – they’re the last of the car people in a way.”
Drag racing is renowned as hard on mechanical components and Gradden is hoping he can avoid some mechanical gremlins which have been affecting the team.
“It is all part of learning, the problem is that it gets in the way of the testing,” he said.
Gradden will be taking on big names in the sport such as Victor Bray and four times champion John Zappia, who are all travelling to Sydney Dragway to earn valuable ANDRA Pro Series points.
“I’m surprised that the other racers I have got to know are similar to us. We all have the same goal,” he said. “This car has not really had a chance to stretch its legs yet and maybe it’s time for that to happen.”
In the last round of the championship Western Australian John Zappia took victory over fellow sandgroper Robin Judd and leap frogged Victorian Peter Kapiris into the lead of the ANDRA Pro Series.
Kapiris has the advantage of having won the first round of the ANDRA Pro Series at Sydney Dragway in September and will be looking to repeat that form.
The ANDRA Pro Series featuring Top Doorslammer, Pro Stock, Pro Stock Motorcycle and the Rocket Allstars Racing Series is held on March 24 and 25 at Sydney Dragway.
Qualifying (Saturday) and racing (Sunday) both begin from 10am and tickets cost $35, with two day passes available for just $60.