Adam Rogash and his 1600hp HSV Clubsport fought the five-day-long tribulations of Street Machine Drag Challenge, and came out victorious with first place in the Turbosmart-sponsored Outlaw Blown class, and third place overall.
Towing a trailer for the 1400km roadtrip from Calder Park to Portland, Mildura, Heathcote and back to Calder, Adam’s Clubsport had no trouble with the Jekyll and Hyde drag monster/street car split personality. With a twin-turbo 7.0-litre LS V8, sporting a new six bolt power head built by teammate John Pilla from PowerHouse Engines, NOSHOW was among the favourites to win the Drag Challenge honours.
NOSHOW handles its 24psi of boost with two Turbosmart HyperGate-45 wastegates. It also features a Race Port blow-off valve.
While the VT may be one of the most common Commodores around, it was a unique sight at Drag Challenge. There was a massive showing of Holdens, but it was older models like HQs, Toranas and early Commodores dominated the entry lists.
Despite the monster powerplant, the car handled the trip with ease.
“I’m stoked with how it performed,” Adam told Turbosmart. “With how rough the roads were, I would have been happy for the car to have made it the 1500km without racing.”
What makes Adam’s performance even more impressive was the lack of prep that was done to the car before each race. After hauling the trailer hundreds of kilometres to each venue, the team simply popped the headlights out for better cooling, softened the adjustable rear suspension by a few clicks, added some ice to the intercooler, and they were ready to race.
“We didn’t touch one wheel nut. We didn’t even change tyre pressures,” Adam said, “we ran the ET Streets on 18psi the whole trip.”
On day one at Calder, Adam ran a 8.3 at 167mph (269km/h) and then an 8.2 at 166mph (267km/h).
Day two saw the Drag Challenge contingent running on the 1/8 mile strip at South Coast Raceway in Portland. The MPW team arrived at the track at 1 o’clock in the morning, well before any of the others. That’s because one of the team’s crew members, the previously mentioned John Pilla, had a wedding to attend in the morning, and the rules of Drag Challenge state that all crew members have to arrive to and leave from each destination with the team, or they’re out for the rest of the competition.
So, rather than leave a man behind, the guys drove through the night from Calder to Portland, before John left early in the morning for the 460km drive to Warragul for the wedding. On the shorter track at Portland, NOSHOW put in a 5.413 at 134mph (216km/h) – the third fastest ET of the day.
The team was reunited at 3 o’clock the following morning when John returned from the wedding revelries. They snapped a photo to prove they all left the track together, then set off on the 500+km road trip to the next venue in the wee hours of the morning. The camaraderie displayed by these guys is amazing. It’s stories like this that make Drag Challenge so different to other motorsport events.
Day three took the convoy to Sunset Strip at Mildura, another 1/8 mile track. The team’s rushed early morning road trip took its toll on the car, when the team ran into the only problems they experienced throughout Drag Challenge. The rough roads caused the tow bar on their supply-laden trailer to break off. The intercooler pump was the only problem with the car, as the water-to-air intercooler setup had developed a large airlock during the eleven hour road trip.
After an unplanned detour by a country service station to weld the trailer back together, the team arrived at Mildura only fifteen minutes before the track closed, so the boost was turned down and the car was taken out onto the strip.
“I just had to get in the race suit and go. I didn’t even have time to put socks on!” Adam said.
With the intercooler pump playing up and the boost turned down, the VT’s time slipped to seventh of the day, with a 6.207 at 126.37mph (203km/h).
Heathcote Park Raceway was the venue for day four, and marked a return to the traditional quarter mile tracks. After the grueling 430km early morning drive to Heathcote, Rogash set an 8.32.
Adam told Turbosmart that he was able to drop the boost on slippery sections of the track to get one of the best times of the day. “The wastegates were so quick to respond, we’ve used other ‘gates in the past that just couldn’t keep up,” Adam said. “We had no issues with boost control over the whole week.”
On the final day of Drag Challenge, back where it began at Calder, Adam ran a PB of a 7.99, bringing the Clubby into the seven second club for the first time – an incredible achievement for a street-registered car that pulled a trailer to the drag strip.
A seven second street car = one happy owner.
Drag Challenge is a real test for some of Australia’s fastest street cars. By requiring teams to arrive at each track under their own power while carrying their own supplies, Drag Challenge adds another dimension to drag racing. These cars have to work as cars, as well as quarter mile weapons. And NOSHOW definitely fits the bill.