Stewart, Hunt bring classic touch to Portland

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Wheelstands are what she does best according to Allison Stewart. Image by Grant Stephens.

Fuchs South Coast Raceway in Portland, Victoria will play host to the first round of the Aeroflow Sportsman Drag Racing Championship on January 4 and 5, 2014 and giving the event some old school style will be New South Wales’ Allison Stewart and South Australian Mark Hunt.

Both drivers are part of a large contingent of teams coming from far and wide to compete at one of the country’s best regional venues.

Stewart, 24, will be driving the ‘Oztin’ Austin A40 in the Super Sedan category, a car she and her family races in memory of her father Doug.

“As a little kid, my sisters and I would frequently go to the track at Canberra to cheer dad on and I haven’t looked back from there,” she said.

“Dad first built the ‘Oztin’ in 1983 and he continued to race at most tracks in eastern Australia until he passed away in 2007.”

Fun comes first for this team and the unique little ute, but there is still a competitive streak present in Stewart.

“Like everyone else racing at Portland it would be nice to win, but my main goal is to make sure everyone has a good time and to win would be a bonus,” she said.

“Having fun is the easy part, to win I would have to be at the top of my game. It’s not all up to the driver, a good crew is very important as they are the ones with you on the start line and behind the scenes making everything run like clockwork, so the driver is able to go out and focus solely on the run ahead of them.”

Hunt, 52, nicknamed “The Huntsman”, will be using the event to make his debut in Supercharged Outlaws with a 1956 Ford Customline-bodied, tube chassis machine that should be capable of topping 250kmh in under five seconds at the eighth mile (201 metre) Victorian strip.

This Adelaide-based Customline is no lemon, despite its vibrant colour! Image by David Hope.

Hunt said the Customline has been completely rebuilt with a supercharged 380 cubic inch (6.2 litre) Ford engine using a two-speed Powerglide transmission, a far cry from its original cruising roots.

“This will be our first competition season in this car,” he said. “Being a new car we are hoping to get an idea of its capability and times at Portland.”

The daunting prospect of over 1000 horsepower available at the accelerator pedal has Hunt wanting to ensure he can focus on the task at hand.

“My goal for the weekend is simply to be switched on,” he said. “We’re hoping to test this beast out properly at Portland and see what it is capable of, while enjoying some good quality racing and competition and having fun doing it.

“I have not raced at Portland before but attended in 2013 as a spectator and found it to be a great track, with a great family environment and very friendly people. We stayed at the track for three days and had a fantastic time.”

A valuable part of Hunt’s team will be son Luke and daughter Kirsty who make up his pit crew.

“My son assists with set up and maintenance and my daughter assists with back up on the track and recording all details of each run,” Hunt explained.

The Aeroflow Sportsman Drag Racing Championship at Fuchs South Coast Raceway begins with qualifying from 11am to 5pm on Saturday, January 4, with racing from 10am to 4pm on Sunday, January 5.

Tickets will be available for $20 at the gate. {fcomment}

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