OF COURSE there was no trouble; all the clubs got on and it was a great family day. In fact, it was a terrific family day with merry-go-rounds and jumping castles for the kids. There were ice cream vans, wood fired pizzas, food vans, a coffee van, and amenities to cater for the public. Walking through the pits there were double the marquees, pit tents and base stations. The Odin’s even had a VIP tent set up for guests. Obviously a lot more thought and planning went into the event this year.
It appeared that there were twice as many V8 bikes this time, twice as many nitro bikes, twice as many of dirt bikes, quads and trikes. The big exception was the mud buggies were dropped from the program. While the mud buggy racers might have been disappointed, the huge crowd really came to see the bikes in action. The problem with the buggies was the chained or tractor tyres chopped and churned the surface up which required grading after each of their rounds. By eliminating the buggies, the track stayed in much better condition for racing, and ultimately, it was safer for the bikes.
The media flocked to the event as well. It would have taken a D10 dozer to keep Ozbike away. Wah and Ado from Blokes World bought their video cameras along plus a crew from Sydney shot the event for Street Machine Magazine. The local TV news team also visited the track.
The V8 bikes were the highlight of the show. The noise and rooster tails blew everyone away. A couple of local racers had their V8 bikes hammering. In fact, the final pair were Jimmy, a Coffin Cheater from WA on his AAA 400 cube nitrous injected 650 HP small block bike, up against Mackay’s Steve Hargrave’s Gen III Chevy powered bike. Steve got the hole shot off the line but broke a chain at three quarter track.
Equally as spectacular were the nitro bikes. The final came down to Coffin Cheater versus Rebel. Danny versus Bill, East versus West. Danny had a bike length on Bill as the local nitro bike seemed to dig into an old tyre track and jump sideways. Bill had a couple of goes at straightening the bike, looked like he almost had it when it shot sideways at half track and flicked him off. Club members rushed over the fence but Bill stood up as if nothing had happened. The crowd cheered when they saw he was okay. The ambulance took him to hospital as a precautionary measure but was discharged an hour or two later. “They breed ’em tough in the North,” the announcer said.
Ozbike could write pages on all the racing. There must’ve been 20 classes with a trophy for the winner and runner up. It was great to see the young kids who had won their class coming up to the dias to be presented with their trophies. It was possibly the first trophy they’d ever won in their life. It wasn’t just the kids grinning from ear to ear, a lot of proud mums and dads were smiling as well.
Everything about the North Queensland Dirt Drags was great. The weather was perfect, the crowd turned up by the thousands to witness some great racing, gorgeous looking women seemed to be appearing everywhere, and the event seemed to run so much smoother than last ever. Even when the track had to be graded or bobcat-ed, the drivers seemed to have it down to a fine art. There were a couple of spills but no one was seriously hurt and all the racers had a ball.
The event is growing into an East versus West State of Origin for dirt drags. Be great to see it turn into a North versus South event as well. Bring it on!
words & photos by SS