Australian Nostalgia Racers (Australian Drag Racing)

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Fun Day Rounds Out Fantastic Weekend.

Fun Day Rounds Out Fantastic Weekend.

29/08/2017, Australia, Motorsport - Drag Racing, Australian Drag Racing, Article # 23929872

Fun Day Rounds Out Fantastic Weekend.

By Mark Humphrey.


Mildura/Vic, Aus. 29th August 2017. The 2nd annual 1/8 Mile Nostalgia Drags event at Mildura’s Sunset Strip will be marked down as a huge success with close to 100 old school nostalgia entrants contesting across 8 brackets, a class field of Willy’s for their Nationals and of course the popular fun day which rounded out the event.

Campers had started setting up at Sunset Strip on Thursday with the promise of some fantastic entertainment over the weekend. Entrants were greeted with a get to know you meal on Friday evening which was accompanied by the usual refreshments. Robert and Janina Kuchel were responsible for the clubhouse catering and had planned a delicious menu to feed the racers over the weekend. Some 220 odd meals were prepared on Friday evening with close to 300 prepared for the fans on Saturday night. Speaking of catering, there was also a breakfast on the Sunday morning which consisted of pancakes and all the trimmings just to make sure the racers left the facility choc a block.

Driving into Sunset Strip Friday evening, the first thing that come to mind was how many campers had already set-up. No way was I going to park in my normal spot as it was full of campers. I parked up, got out of the bus and just took a minute to take in all the activity in the pits. I couldn’t believe the growth of the event in just one year. After taking a moment, I headed over to the clubrooms where I found it to be brimming with laughter and all the old stories. It was well into the morning when the last of the bunch decided to pull the pin.

Saturday was race day with racing scheduled to fire up at 9.30am. Track prepper Dean James had the surface ready to go and signalled to race director Tim Reidy all was good. Time for the meeting to be handed over to the official starter in Paul Hornsby who immediately got things running.

Timing issues meant that the program fell behind somewhat with the possibility of a shortened schedule on the cards. The racers originally had 2 qualifiers and 3 rounds of a Chicago Shootout format scheduled in with the highest two points winners going head to head in the final of each of the 8 brackets. At one stage officials were looking at dropping one of the Chicago rounds to ensure the meeting finished on time. Tim Reidy elected to stick to the original format and after some slick organising by all concerned, the meeting was back on track and finished not that far outside the original window.

Winners on the day were:

Jason Keily over Lucas Woodburn in Top Eliminator

Jayden Talbot over Pete O’Connell in Junior Fuel

Ned Karanovic over Julian Carafa in Top Gas

Peter Raines over Peter O’Leary in Vintage Gas

Clare Dousset over Edwin Emanuelli in Hot Rod

Mike Bowden over Jason Winnen in American Muscle

Cannyn Hayes over Holly Camilleri in Junior

And Peter Gourzis over Matthew Smart in Oz Muscle.

What a day it was with plenty of tyre frying action from the Vintage Gas, big horsepower plays from the Top Eliminator gang and some major lifting by the guys in Top Gas. Nice to see Summit regulars Ned Karanovic, Jayden Talbot and Jason Keily pick up wins in their respective categories.Ned KaranovicJayden TalbotJason Keily

Great track prep by Dean James with plenty of PB’s going down throughout the day. Andrew Braithwaite picked up a PB in his FED on the way to 3 wins from 3 starts. A loose final run put paid to his finals chances. Actually, there were stories like this one all over the day which made the day so exciting.

The win by Keily in Top Eliminator (Supercharged Outlaws) was a nice shot in the arm coming into the Summit round at the same venue in a month’s time. Obviously, Tim Stewart had been in Keily’s ear as Jason said in his speech that he was coming for Tim. Jase, you were the winner, it should be him coming after you! Talbot had his last run in the FED taking over the “Forever Young ll” Supercharged Outlaw funny car from older brother Wayne who will move into the ex-Maclean funny car in Top Alcohol.  

Massive tandem lift by Charlie Pitt and Dylan Argent in Top Gas being one of the day’s highlights. The bracket had a lot of Summit regulars but in the end, it was a popular win by Super Sedan runner Ned Karanovic over Top Sportsman runner Julian Carafa.

Vintage Gas had the usual heavy hitters with Hayley leading the burnout charge. Kemp is normally the king of burnouts around the Victorian tracks but was off a touch this weekend while Hayley had laid down some killer skids. Kemp had the final word on the argument taking a win over Hayley in the last round and in the process knocked Hayley out of the final. Regular Chevy runner Peter Raines kept the V8 flag flying with a win over the six pack of Romano Puntin’s FJ driven by Peter O’Leary.

Clare Dousset had the 32 Roadster down pat and took it up to the boys throughout the day. I didn’t see Clare drop a race all day as she marched on to win the final of Hot Rod over Edwin Emanuelli in the 36 Ford Coupe. Seasoned drag racer Noel Inman in the Tall T was a late withdrawal from the event. Some fine examples of Hot Rodding in this class both in engineering and sheer horsepower.

American Muscle could have quite easily been re-named American Tanks as some of the cars were just that. Winner Mike Bowden drove a 67 Ford Galaxie that looked as long as a cricket pitch. Add an Impala, the Karanovic’s Barracuda and a Dodge into the mix and you have a fine cross sample of American muscle. Paul Jennings Chevy Nova Wagon and Endre Papp’s 65 Mustang Fastback added class to the field.

Junior was choc a block full of Summit Junior Dragster racers with Cannyn Hayes taking wins over more fancied opponents. Hayes won the final over Holly Camilleri with Brooke Camilleri not far behind the two. Nathaniel Kuchel was getting valuable experience while Tommy Turic was honing in on his recent good form in the Northern Territory. Daniel “Batdan” Carranza was debuting a pair of chutes after he crossed the line which obviously are just for looks. Just on that, Carranza has in my opinion one of the best-looking drag cars in any bracket. The next time you’re at a Summit round, go and check out the Batdan car in the junior dragster category.

And finally, we had the dancing Peter Gourzis driving a VC Valiant taking a win in OZ Muscle over Matt Smart in the 202 powered Corolla. This was by far the biggest field with fine examples of Australian motoring scattered throughout the field. The Falcons of the Carusi brothers were definitely standouts as was Anthony Raschella’s HR ute.

That finished the days racing and it was over to the club house where more than 300 meals were dished up to hungry racers. A band played rock a billy music for the next 3 hours as the racers sat back and relaxed with some of the liquid amber on offer. The night eventually finished up well into Sunday morning with race fans back on deck around 10am to sign in for passenger rides.

What a fantastic idea to have rides available for passengers. After a driver’s and passenger’s briefing we headed over to the accreditation van, signed on as passengers, paid the insurance levee and headed over to our rides. I had organised Ashley Hayley in the 55 Gasser to be my ride and what an unbelievable experience it was. I have posted an article on my experience with “Haywire” the 55 Chev owned by Ash Hayley. Lots of other passenger rides going on with drop flag drag racing the order of the day. This was a casual fun day with everyone walking around with smiles on their faces which in the end typified the whole weekend. Just one big motoring party.

What a fantastic event that has grown big time from the inaugural event last year. Judging by the growth of this year’s event, I suggest race fans get in early for next year’s event as it wouldn’t surprise me if the club was forced to put a cap on entries due to the popularity.

Well done to Lauren and Kingsley Kuchel and all the Sunraysia Drag Racing staff which I must say are mostly young crew (fantastic for the sport), Dean James for a killer racing surface, imports Tim Reidy and Paul Hornsby for their support with the meeting, Robert and Janina Kuchel for the clubhouse catering and of course the Australian Nostalgia Racers and all the support racers.

Awesome event that will just grow in popularity as the years go by. Add this to Sunraysia’s Easter Shootout and the club has 2 marquee events that are capable of supporting the club for years.  

Next up for the club is round 3 of the Summit Racing Equipment Sportsman Series where club officials are expecting a record entry list.

For more info on the event click on the link:

My Ride

My Ride

29/08/2017, Australia, Motorsport - Drag Racing, Australian Drag Racing, Article # 23926430


My Ride

By Mark Humphrey


Mildura/Vic, Aus. 29th August 2017. Well what a day! Day 2 of the Sunraysia 1/8 Mile Nostalgia event had the fans queueing up in the credentials van looking to register for the ride of a lifetime. For a small administration fee to cover insurance and an indemnity sign-off, first timers like myself had the opportunity to jump into a full-blown drag car and take a lap. Man, how exciting It was just lining up in the queue knowing that the Haywire 55 Chev passenger seat had my name all over it.

To set the scene, my interest in drag racing started back in the late 80’s at Calder Park where I would take my boys along to watch all the heroes of the era. I was lucky enough to be interested in the sport at the height of the Australian drag racing scene but never ventured any further into the sport other than being a spectator. I have done the V8 Supercar thing at Calder as a driver, done rallyx, driven a clapped out sprintcar at the Derby Speedway and driven exotic supercars on a racetrack in New Zealand, so jumping into Haywire would be a unique experience for me and one I had been looking forward to for weeks.

So, the time had come to buckle up into the passenger seat of Ash Hayley’s 55 Gasser Chev known as “Haywire”. For the record, I’m not a good passenger and I don’t do amusement park rides as they make me ill, so this was going to be interesting to say the least. Having said that, I was so excited to be in the car knowing that I was about to take the ride of a lifetime in a car that let’s face it, wasn’t anything like a Huntsman Customline or a Spud Russell Camaro.

So, with all the safety checks done and a 5-point harness pulled as tight as I could get it, it was time to fire up the 383 small block chev. What a sound, nothing better than listening to a competition small block chev with open exhausts, and sitting on top of one was even better.

We rolled around into the staging lanes where there was a bit of a line up so Ash shut down the 55 giving me time to talk about the Australian Nostalgia Racers and the day in general. After some good interview footage, it was finally time to get rolling as we crept into the burnout box.

At this stage, I was quite calm just waiting to go and it’s wasn’t long before Haywire was revving at 7500rpm pushing the 55 ever so slowly down past the start line as Ash warmed up the rear slicks. What a moment! It was loud, the car was vibrating and the cabin was starting to fill with tyre smoke. Doesn’t get much better than this and I can understand what drives the burnout boys in their competitions. I had the video camera switched on filming indiscriminately as we backed up over the start line. Feeling good at this point trying to catch all the emotion of the occasion as we rolled up to the start line. This was so cool rolling through the start line at full noise, tyres blazing and that unmistakable small block chev sound ringing out through the firewall.

So, the time had come as we crept up to the start line. The starter waited for us to get ready as he held up the green flag. This was going to be a solo pass for Haywire. I wasn’t thinking too much at this stage and was very relaxed sitting in the car waiting to run the 1/8 mile. Ash stopped the car on the start line, adjusted a few things, yelled out to see if I was ready and then proceeded to lift the revs. I thought I knew what was coming and calmly sat in the seat loosely holding the video camera that was strapped to my hand.

Well, how the hell did I get that so wrong! We left the line at maybe 7 or 8000 rpm which instantly threw me back into the seat scaring the crap out of me. The video camera had gone skywards filming the roof and unbeknown to me had shut down due to the extreme grip I had on the camera as I was thinking, well I don’t know what I was thinking at that particular moment. I know what I was thinking a moment later and that was where the hell is this finish line. We only had 200 metres to cover but it seemed like miles. I couldn’t believe the power of the initial launch and the fact that this car was hauling all the way down the strip. Absolutely no wheel spin, just sticking to the track like it was part of the racing surface. I still can’t believe sitting here that this car didn’t break into wheel spin after feeling the pull of the car all the way through the run.

By now my eyes were totally focussed on the timing boards down the way which signalled the end of the 1/8 mile. I have no recollection of what was going on around me and can remember looking at that sign board just hanging for the car to reach it. It seemed like it took forever but in reality, it was just a touch over 6 seconds. We hit the sign board and I thought thank goodness that was over as my heart was racing at a million miles an hour. But no, Ash had the foot buried well past the finish line or at least it seemed that way. I can remember thinking, bloody hell, just pull up as we went deep into the first turn off. Ash jumped on the brakes hard as he aimed for the first exit and it seemed like he wasn’t going to make it. Here I am with stuff racing around in my head as Ash goes deep into the corner sending my brain into panic mode again thinking, we’re not going to make it and a trip into the dirt was on the cards.

Calmly Ash navigates the corner with I bet plenty of time and we proceeded to go up the slight rise of the return road signalling the end of the run. Well, instantly relief came over me that it was all over and I just started yelling out expletives one after another as Ash turned to me and said, “did you enjoy that”. I can still remember the feeling of relief I had at that moment and the unbelievable moment in my life that I will never forget. No time to think if I liked it as I was just gathering my thoughts when Ash give the accelerator a quick dab which would have lasted no more than a milli-second. Instantly I thought, shit, here we go again! Funny how your mind plays games when the adrenalin is running. Even though it has been a couple of days since then, I can still clearly recall my thoughts of the moment and even thinking we were going again when Ash gave the accelerator a squeeze.

Well, the ride was over as we made our way down the return lane past the spectators and into the pits. Ash backed the 55 into his designated spot and calmly shut down the small block. He took off his helmet, looked at me with a smile and said “how’d you go”. Well my hands were shaking feverishly as I tried to unbuckle my helmet and I can vividly remember breaking out in a cold sweat as I sat in the car. Even though I’m a huge petrol head, I had no idea that drag racing could be so addictive and feeling firsthand the rush I got as we left the line gave me the insight into a drag racers life. This run was in a 55 Gasser and I can still remember one of the first things I said to Ashley as we exited the car, “just imagine what it’s like in a Top Fuel car”. Even now I’m thinking about what it would be like in an Outlaw car and having just come back from the Top End Trek where Tim Stewart and Dave Thornton competed in Supercharged Outlaws, the rush would be so addictive. To go even a step further, our poster boy Wayne Talbot put down a 6.16 pass at just under 240mph over the ¼ mile distance in Alice. Our time would have been slower than that over the 1/8-mile distance. I just can’t comprehend what that feeling would be like in a high-powered drag car. The region has 2 Top Fuel teams being the AEG Powertools team of Darren Morgan and the Lamattina Top Fuel Racing team of the Lamattina family. Impossible to think what Darren Morgan or Kelly Bettes experience when they leave the line with 10,000hp under their foot.

Straight away Ashley offered up another ride which I accepted hesitantly but quickly said I’ll just check the vision. Well as you will see in the clip, I turned the vision off as we launched which should be easy to understand after explaining the ride. Mmmm I said to Ash, no vision, I must have turned it off. Ash just smiled and said, “well that’s it, we’ll just have to go again”.

Ok, so this was all going to happen again but at least this time I knew what to expect. Same procedure as last where we waited in the staging lanes for our turn. This time we would run against another car which I must admit hadn’t registered at all in my brain. I was starting to get anxious again as the car rolled into the burnout box. The trouble was I knew what was coming and what an impact it had on me the first time so there was still some sort of trepidation as we rolled into the water. Ash stood on the gas as we calmly rolled out of the water at 7,000rpm. I knew it would be the burnout, back up, line up and then bang! We would be on our way. Had this all sorted and although I knew the procedure was still peaking a touch. Half way through the burnout Ash pulled up and said “Nah, doing that again”. Well that was it! All of a sudden, my thought pattern went into overdrive! I have no doubt that if I was steering the car the reaction would have been different. It’s just this passenger and theme park thing I talked about earlier.

So, we did another burnout, this time nudging at 8,000rpm as the car laid down a couple of black straps halfway down the 1/8th. Rolled back with the car full of smoke and that familiar smell of burning rubber. Next, we rolled onto the start line with the starter ready to drop the flag. We had another car in lane 1 but it still hadn’t registered as I was only thinking about getting to that sign board 200 metres down the track. To be honest, I was “shittin bricks” Ash yelled out “ready” as we waited for the flag to drop. This time I had both hands holding onto the video camera with my right thumb firmly strapped into the handle so I wouldn’t squeeze the on-off button. I was definitely anxious as we waited for the flag to drop. The revs went up, the flag dropped and bang the car stuck just like last time. I can remember all this noise and me being pushed back into the seat hard. You can’t believe how tight I pulled the straps this time just for that extra bit of security even though Ash had said the first time out, “make sure there’re tight”. We were hauling arse down the 1/8th and I can remember once again just wanting to get to that sponsor’s board as my heart was racing big time. My face would have been a picture of terror as the car just kept hauling. Just as we were getting to the end of the run Ash gestured with his hand to look over in the other lane. I swung the video around to capture “Haywire” catching Matt Smart’s Corolla as we crossed the line. Apparently Matt had got the jump on us but we were able to haul him in before the finish line. As I mentioned earlier, the fact that we were racing another car hadn’t registered at all and self-preservation was the only thing running through my head. Up until that point in time my focus had been purely on pointing the camera at the finish line. The ride like last time seemed violent to me with my hands flying around everywhere. The vision shows my left hand that was supposed to be holding the camera steady, floating around in front of the video. I tried so hard to concentrate on keeping my left hand out of the vision but unfortunately my mind was pre-occupied with my self-preservation.

A strange thing happened when I swung the camera around to capture Matt in the Corolla. A calmness descended upon me and all of a sudden time seemed to stop. No more anxiety or wanting to get to the finish line. As a matter of a fact, sitting here, I can’t recall looking for the finish line on the second run after I swung the video around. Ash even took the first exit in the same manner as the first run and I couldn’t have given a rats. I bet if he stabbed the accelerator a few times going down the return road I would have enjoyed it. How strange it was that a small gesture of looking in the other lane completely changed the focus and the tension that had built up long before the start. I looked down at the video to see the filming light was still on and give a Wuhu to Ashley as we cruised down the return road. I have no doubt that Ash picked up on the fact that I was a lot calmer after the 2nd run maybe thinking it may have been boring for me. If he was thinking that then he would have been way off as I was peaking right before the start. I just can’t believe how time stopped for me when I swung around with the video. It was like I had all the time in the world and as I sit here now I can’t recall the car hauling over the line with me pushed back in the seat even though I know that to be the case. Strange, but that summed up the moment.

Dave Thornton was over at the pits when I rolled up after the second run and asked how I went. Well I just started going on and said I couldn’t imagine what it would be like steering his altered. His instant reply was “so you want to go out and buy a drag car now” for which I replied “I would if I could afford one”.

I gathered up my film equipment and headed over to the start line to capture more people like me doing the passenger ride thing. Ned Karanovic was busy running passengers in the 57 Chev and even wife Karen had put down 3 laps behind the wheel. Speaking of the Karanovic’s, Nic offered up a ride in the Plymouth Barracuda which I politely declined citing the reason that I had to get on my way. The truth be known, my head was still out there after the “Haywire” experience so a polite no thankyou and apology to Nicolas was easy.

How appropriate that the car I did my first ever run down the drag strip was named “Haywire”. Couldn’t have better described my situation especially on the return road after the first run. I will never forget that minute or so in my life that was simply Haywire. I have tried to bring you into the moment that was my passenger ride and have left nothing out of what has been an unbelievable experience. For drag racers, this story is most likely long forgotten and some race fans getting into a car the first time may not have the same experience but if you ever get the chance to jump into a drag car, do it!

A huge thank you to Kingsley and Lauren Kuchel and all the Sunraysia Drag Racing Association including track prepper Dean James for putting up the event and keeping it safe, the Australian Nostalgia Racers and most of all Ashley Hayley. I’m forever indebted to Ashley for giving me the opportunity to take a run down the drag strip. A time in my life that I will never forget.

If you found my story to be exciting, I suggest that you mark in next August on your calendar as off limits to everything except the Sunraysia Drag Racing Association’s 1/8 Mile Nostalgia event. Not too early to start planning for next year’s event. You can contact Kingsley or Lauren on the Sunraysia Drag Racing Association website for more information.

The sportingscribe bus will be back at Sunset Strip on the 23rd and 24th of September for round 3 of the Summit Racing Equipment Sportsman Series. There is a Go-Fund Me page happening to raise 10k for the purchase of live streaming equipment. Originally, we were looking at a multi camera set up that required a 40k investment. We are now looking at a more affordable single camera live feed with options. To support the fund, go to the sporting scribe muscle facebook page and click on the link. Thanks to Robert Talbot for his personal contribution on the weekend towards the fund.

The only way I could have made my ride more exciting would be via a live streaming set-up. 

Click on the link to contact the Sunraysia Drag Racing Association:

Click on the link to contact the Australian Nostalgia Racers:

Click on the link to support the gofundme campaign:


​Test Friday & Race Saturday – South Coast Raceway

​Test Friday & Race Saturday – South Coast Raceway

24/02/2017, Australia, Motorsport - Drag Racing, Australian Drag Racing, Article # 21396155

Test Friday & Race Saturday – South Coast Raceway


Just an update on the next meeting at South Coast Raceway – Aeroflow Outlaw Nitro Funny Cars March 3rd & 4th 2017.

The track will be open Friday from 4pm to 9pm.
Cost is just $30 to race Friday, Street Cars & Bike, Comp Cars & Bikes all welcome
Entry forms for Friday are available at the gate.

Your Saturday entry is separate from Friday; you will need to fill out a Friday entry form.
Pre-purchased crew tickets will cover your crew for both Friday and Saturday.

Weekend crew and Spectator passes can be purchased at the gate for $35 this covers both Friday and Saturday.

Any crew or spectators camping at the track on Friday night must have pre-purchased a weekend armband at the gate.

Entries close this Monday.