If you’re not familiar with the 2019 Garrett Sydney Jamboree, the event has just unfolded in spectacular form with the smell of fuel and rubber still fresh in the air.
The 2019 Garrett Sydney Jamboree is not for the faint-hearted. For the uninitiated, the Garrett Jamboree is like the Easter Show of the Australian Drag Scene. Focussed on the Sport Compact Groups of the drag scene, we are pretty much talking about everyday production cars that have been customised and worked to produce refined machines that are capable of break-neck speeds that would truly make your head spin.
But there is a lot more going on than just drag racing, with the Shannon’s Show-N-Shine, Car Audio Sound Offs, Dyno Comps, Tech Talks, Babe and Bikini Comps, and Automotive Product Displays. The day is a massive hit with the kids as well, just don’t forget to bring the earmuffs!
If you’re starting to think that you might have missed out on a cracking day at Sydney Dragway on March 30, well, you did. But with the Brisbane two-day event kicking off on August 24 and 25, 2019 there is plenty of time to get ready for the next one.
This event was started way back in 1991 by a bunch of drag car racing enthusiasts from the Volkswagon Drivers Car Club in Queensland and was run as a club members day for more than five years. As interest and enthusiasm grew over the years, Mark Stanbury and Ray Box evolved the event to the stage where they created the Sport Compact Group and decided to promote Jamboree and other Sport Compact events throughout Australia.
Now in 2019, Jamboree has established itself as the Premier Event on the small car enthusiast’s calendar in Australia. In 2004 the event branched out and came to Sydney, in 2006 a second event was established in Qld and in 2007 the very first Victorian event was launched with the Summer Slam at the Heathcote Park Raceway. The March event kicked out with major sponsors of the caliber of Garrett Advancing Motion, Link ECU, Tuners Edge and Hi-Tec Oils.
Don’t Mess With Mother Nature
This year, for Sydney the weather decided to play havoc, with the March 16 date being rained out, and Mother Nature deciding to flare up again when the new event date of March 30 drew near.
As the heavens fiercely opened up around midnight on the eve of the 2019 Garrett Sydney Jamboree event, I was fearing the weather would end the show before it began. When leaving home, at 5.00am, it was still pouring and, arriving to Sydney Dragway, things looked a little like a battlefield, with buckled and bent metal tent frames and marquees scattered around the place. But, as competitors arrived, the sun came up and warmed the spirits of the drivers, race crews, families and friends. As the carnage was cleaned up, it wasn’t too long before the first engines were turned over and the site once again took shape to slowly reveal the awesome spectacle that was the 2019 Garrett Sydney Jamboree.
Getting the main drag strip dry and ready to race was high on the list of the organisers (which was also going to take at least three to four hours). That didn’t slow down the Hi-Tec Drift Australia Exhibition. The drivers were super keen to start showcasing their skills and in no time their machines were drifting in and out of two 30 tonne excavators, kindly supplied by Moits Earthmoving. The finesse and skill, not to mention power and control displayed by these guys and their vehicles were nothing short of awesome! The crowds got their money’s worth watching these machines dance in and out of the Moits Earthmoving excavators. When the dual drift racing started, the cars were sliding just 30cm apart and you really had to appreciate the skill required to do this. You could see the seeds being sown behind the smiles of the young kids watching everything go down on the track before their eyes. A new generation of racers has just been inspired. As the morning progressed on, teams were well and truly into making sure their cars were primed and ready to perform. I took the opportunity to call in on a few Teams to say ‘G’day’ and see how their preparation and drag cars were fairing. My first visit was to team Promaz, where I managed to catch up with Simon, the mechanic responsible for preparing the three Promaz cars, ready to take to the strip – with not one but two RX3’s and an RX8, all running 13B Turbo Rotary’s and producing anywhere from 1000-1500hp from the Garrett GTX47 through to the GTX 45 Turbochargers. Simon and the Promaz team have custom built the engines themselves and, when I quizzed him on the amount of time that goes into producing the engines and vehicles of this quality, he said: “Well, to put it into perspective, at 2.00am yesterday morning we were still in Melbourne, then we made the drive to Sydney for testing and we were on the strip here at 2.00pm at Sydney Dragway. At 2.00am last night we were still on the Dyno preparing for today. So the last three days pretty much paint an accurate picture of the amount of passion and commitment we have for the sport and our cars. We put a lot of effort into these vehicles. We also have some great sponsors who have come on board to help us out with Norton-Saint Gobain and Garrett Advancing Motion being great partners.”
Garrett Advancing Motion
Garrett Advancing Motion itself has a rich history at Jamboree and has been providing cutting edge Turbocharger technology for decades, which has allowed racers to push the limits of their car even harder over the years. With a recent name change and a new look in 2019, Garrett Advancing Motion, along with its naming rights for the 2019 Series, are continuing amazing support to competitors, where racers in the MTQ Street Compact, Hurstville Towing Street 289, NAPA Auto Superstore Modified Compact and Power Seals Modified 10.5 will have the chance to win $3000 worth of Garrett Advancing Motion turbocharger products at each Jamboree event The beauty of this event is the unique range of cars that compete and one very impressive little beast was the “Pepper Money Starlet” owned and driven by Mario Rehayem.
With the shortest wheelbase of any of the competing vehicles, the Starlet in the testing run the previous evening managed to reclaim its world record of 7.13 secs at 189 miles per hour – that’s a massive 304.166 km/ph. Mario was glowing after this run but was still confident that the little starlet still has more left in it to give. Powered by a Billet by PAC 13B turbo with a Garrett GTX 55, Mario’s pit crew consists of his extended family with brothers, cousins and nephews all getting involved in the action. “The car itself was built from front to back by the boys from PAC Performance and I must say they have done a brilliant job,” said Mario. Personally, I was itching to find out what such a powerful car, combined with such a short wheelbase, was like to drive and Mario shared: “A lot of people think I’m mad driving such a short wheel based car with this much power, but I’m in this to race and to race is to have fun and experience the exhilaration and, as far as I’m concerned, the best way to get that level of exhilaration is with a short wheelbase car.”
At the other end of the spectrum in the sports compact range is a very fierce competitor, Ben Bray from Team Bray Racing. It’s safe to say that Ben has drag racing flowing through his veins, as his father Victor Bray is Doorslammer royalty around the world. Victor has held numerous world records to his name over his time and a new sponsorship with Gulf Western Oil that covers both Ben and Victor along with numerous vehicles; it’s only a matter of time before Victor reclaims the number one position.
Growing up around Dragstrips and spending most of his weekends there, Ben Bray is the kind of guy that likes to zig when most of the other competitors decide to zag. When I saw his Toyota Soarer, I knew there was something special going on. Ben shared “Everybody (other competitors) goes down the 2J road with the clutch; I call it the sheep effect. So I decided to do something a little different and stuck with the Toyota theme and grabbed a 1FZ out of an ‘80s Toyota Landcruiser. It’s about twice the size of a 2J and twice as heavy. Then I put an automatic in it and of course a Garrett Turbocharger. We have a 12-year partnership with Garret Advancing Motion, I will only ever use Garrett and that’s what I will use till I die! Garrett actually just surprised me with a 106 this weekend to play with, so I’m excited to make some real power and give everyone a real hard time. I’ve got my eye on a 6.20 or 6.30 so it will be a very interesting day. The car has previously done a 6.46 and we are always moving forward.” “There aren’t many people using this Toyota motor, there are only one or maybe two others in Australia and another two or three in the States. This engine with the Garrett is very popular in Dubai, in the world of hills climb cars and alike. They stroke them out to five litres and get about 4000hp out of them. Toyota builds a very good motor, no doubt,” said Ben.
Let The Racing Begin
As the clock struck 2.00pm the Drag Strip was finally ready as qualifications kicked off with a one-shot qualifying session.
After a few minor incidents that required cleanups, a 2-round racing format was implemented. From this point on, it was smooth sailing with some epic runs being recorded and big numbers being dropped, following on from the testing of the previous day. One stand out performance on the Friday testing was by Rod Harvey’s “Fresh off the boat” from the States Camry. His amazing 5.85 PB, set in Orlando just months before, was lowered again with a stunning off-trailer 5.81/253! Rod almost couldn’t believe the number, as it “felt too slow” to be that quick! Kelly Bettes also pushed the Jett Racing Pro Mod Mustang closer to the magic 5-second zone, clicking each pass early with promising short times.
The shortened format proved challenging for many competitors and consisted of the fastest initial run being awarded the PWR Performance Products Cash Boost with the one-hit time. The category winners would need two wins from their next two rounds with the quickest combined time to take out the category title. Consistency did prove to be challenging for some competitors with one amazing run but not being able to secure the second top-shelf time.
In the Precision Turbo Factory Xtreme Category, Rod Harvey won out with a 5.93/248 and a 5.82/213 over George Rehayem. Nathan Hagenson grabbed the PWR Performance Products Cash Boost, with a 6.41 for the category.
The Bosch Motorsport Pro Turbo Category tested Jay Sadek’s metal to come from the bottom spot to take out the win in “The Godfather”. Daniel Camilleri nailed a PB and also won the PWR Performance Products Cash Boost with his one-hit 7.14 from his mechanically injected RB30 firebird.
In the McKern Pro Compact category, our mate and fellow Sydney sider Mario Rehayem’s Pepper Money Starlet smashed out a 7.09/192 with the world’s baddest T-bar 2-rotor to nail pole and the PWR Performance Products Cash Boost cheque.
But it was Steve Barnett who took the win, whilst Tischendorf and Ioannou battled out one of the best side-by-side runs in Pro Compact history. Tischendorf’s .059 light, to the .165 of the Rx8, saw them glued together all the way through, with PB’s on both sides the result. Tischendorf’s 7.156/191 covered Ioannou’s 7.179/193! Just as everyone recovered from this epic race, Barnett then soloed and peeled off Australia’s quickest ever 13B pass with a 6.70/213.03!
Competitors with equal total points are tie braked by their average reaction time during racing.
In the FuelTech USA IHRA PRO Mod Category, Danny Makdessi reigned supreme in over Kelly Bettes, taking out both the win and the PWR Performance Products Cash Boost.
In the NAPA Auto Superstore Modified Compact battle, Daniel Bennett prevailed over Hawach in the final and Anthony Maatouk nailing the top spot and PWR Performance Products Cash Boost.
The Power Seals Modified 10.5 class saw El Jammas claim victory, and in the RCE Performance Warehouse J275/315 class, Danny Busbridge’s “2wizzas” turbo SBC Torana grabbed a great result on his only shot, with a magic 7.233 taking J275 pole. Steven Smith took out the RCE Performance Warehouse J315 class over Ryan Holz. Other winners on the day included Victorian Ross Puliafito in his 13B Rx3, Jason Frost in his 2276cc VW Beetle and Aaron Murphy put in a solid performance to take down the MTQ Street Compact class.
Light of the night went to Matt Rice with a 0.00 in his final. ‘Sky’s the Limit’ prize went to Moose Sakina for his round 1 performance. The ‘Smoken Award’ went to Anthony Maatouk (Rnd2) and the ‘Crew Style Award’ went to Spot-on Performance. ‘Castrol EDGE Workshop Challenge’ saw Promaz as runner up and was won by Dandy Engines.
No doubt there will be many competitors reassessing their performances, setups and equipment before the Brisbane event kicks off on August 24 and 25, 2019. I can only imagine the amount of workshop time these awesome machines will receive between now and then.
Put the dates in your calendars. We will see you in Brissie and we will see you in four months’ time.