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The B&W shot above is yours truly because our esteemed editor said he wanted to personalise these ramblings - I have to admit it was taken a few years ago, cos I don’t have anything more recent that I’d figure was worth publishing. I'm the one on the left. The young lady is - oh, never mind, I’ve never even explained her to my wife!


Australian drag racing is pretty chuffed of what we’ve created here with our Top Doorslammer bracket. Remember what I wrote about Victor Bray last time around, and he’s just one of a bunch. It’s all grown out of a long history of blown race cars, a tradition that is nurtured right through the ranks, from entry points to index racing and into our Group One pro categories. It’s pretty kick-arse racing at any time, from a group of pretty kick-arse racers who could hold their own in any competition anywhere in the world.

But that quality of competition that produces side-by-side 6.3 second contests also works back the other way into the indexed Group Two ranks. And while we like to take issue with all those “World Champion” titles that seems to be tagged onto any competition on your side of the Pacific, we really like to pat ourselves on the back when we think we can lay claim to a world record of some sort.

One racer who is kicking butt around this nation right now, and who can draw all the racers out of the pits any time he fires the engine just to see what he can produce is a young guy from the far Western city of Perth, by the name of Grant O’Rourke. And while drag racers in Australia have evolved in relative isolation, drawing their inspiration from you guys but developing their own unique style of racing, so the racers in Western Australia are promoted as being the most isolated drag racing community in the world. It’s better than 1600 miles to the next nearest drag strip - at Whyalla, in South Australia, or Darwin, in the Northern Territory - and they’ve evolved some bracketing and indexing deals all their own. Might touch on that one day.

But out of this unique soup has come some pretty tough racers, including Grant O’Rourke and his wife, Debbie. I need to mention Debbie in this because she’s driven their race car to almost the same level of performance as Grant.

The O’Rourkes’ vehicle is a Torana, a local small car product of General Motors, with a blown small block. This Lenco-equipped full bodied sedan has so far recorded bests of 6.58, and 215 mph, all from a 2400 lb, 101 inch wheelbase genuine doorslammer. Of course, the car doesn’t run in our Top Doorslammer bracket - the engine capacity, at 388 cubes, is too small! He also has a smaller capacity engine that runs a just tenth or so slower.

Actually, the O’Rourkes have put in a rules submission to permit small block cars to compete alongside the Hemi cars, though they have to admit that theirs is the only one currently capable of cutting the mustard. It’s unlikely you’d ever see a small block pushing 6.30’s, or a well set up 500-incher, but without the power overload on marginal tracks it could be quite a workable proposition. So far the proposal has been put aside for further consideration.

Under the skin, the car is obviously fairly trick. You’d probably find its aerofoil rear wing interesting, and that’s a feature that’s been allowed in recent regulation changes, with O’Rourke making the most of the change in a major rebuild before this last season.

What makes it run? Well, aside from some smart engineering and tuning, it’s a late generation PSI and hat that makes this little yellow rocket fly. There are quite a few racers of small block engines here who have found that you can squeeze some surprisingly impressive power from small cubes, and man I love those cars as much or as more as any 500-cube Hemi running a couple of tenths quicker. There’s nothin’ like a high windin’ small block!


O’Rourke’s ride would have to be said to be quite a handful. Grant’s handled it okay, but wife Debbie has actually had the car on its roof, twice, but Grant just puts that down to being too aggressive with the clutch and motor for a driver who didn’t have the experience.

Grant came out of the crazy street racing background, but these days presents a pretty professional approach. Without intending to do it he’s built a lever that can move a world, and so he’s worked hard to present himself as a snappy and promotable package. I think Grant would admit he has a way to go to be right up there, but he has dreams of putting Debbie in the seat and promoting the pants off this package.

If anyone has anything particularly worthwhile to say or ask about things here, drop me an email at and I’ll see if I can answer you.

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