Sydney Pro Slammer drag racer Geoff Gradden will be making his first trek west to take part in the MacTrack Westernationals on March 3 and 4, and if recent performances are any guide, he may have the hot weather tune up to surprise more fancied rivals.
Gradden’s Sigra Dodge Saratoga has been one of the dark horses of Pro Slammer recently, lowering their personal best times at almost every event, even if conditions are against them.
“After running well in Sydney recently in 38 degree heat, we’ve got some good data and a few ideas to try out,” Gradden said.
“Sigra has been developing the Saratoga Pro Slammer as well as our crew and tuning skills since 2010 when we had the chassis built by Murray Anderson.”
Buoyed by strong numbers at their home track, the team had the confidence to change what was proving to be a reliable set up.
“Recently the car has been consistent in the 5.90s and in November 2017 in Sydney we ran our first couple of 5.8s, so we decided it was time to make a few fundamental changes to the driveline and fuel system to lower the bar a bit further.
“The new combo was tested at Santo’s Summer Thunder in January 2018. We were surprised to be able to run in the 5.90s straight up on a soft tune with the changes we had made. So we go to Perth with high hopes of being able to step it up a bit and maybe qualify in the top eight out of 16 entries. Any round wins or personal bests would be an unexpected but welcome bonus.”
Gradden’s family business is Sigrail, a company that provides rolling stock components to the rail industry. While the trip to WA is mostly for racing pleasure, he will also take the opportunity to bring some newcomers from his business network to the track.
“It’s a big deal for us to travel to Perth as you can imagine. As a low budget, part time team and with me tuning, driving and running the family business, we can only manage a certain number of events each year and we do like to travel to at least one in another state.
“In recent years we have been to Darwin, Willowbank and Calder, but this is our first time in Perth. I visited there many years ago on a day when there were no drags and they were good enough to let me have a look around. The venue seemed very similar to Sydney and I guess there was a lot of cooperation back when Sydney was built.
“We have a couple of Sigra engineers on the crew and I will be taking the opportunity to visit some of our WA customers in the rail industry while we are over there, as well as inviting them to come to the track to experience one of WA’s biggest drag racing events.
“With 16 Pro Slammers entered we’ll need to run close to or better than our quickest times.”
Gradden will be joined by a star studded MacTrack Westernationals Pro Slammer field that includes the USA’s Frankie Taylor, points leader Paul Mouhayet and WA legend John Zappia. The MacTrack Westernationals also features the wild Top Bikes and over 200 entries from across the country racing in the Summit Sportsman Series over two big days, March 3 and 4.