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Racewars 2017 Revisited

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The Temple of Tyre-slaying. The sanctuary of skids. The basilica of burnouts. Racewars is not your typical drag-racing event. In fact, it’s just about as much fun as you can have in Australia on four wheels... at least within the confines of the law. Thousands of spectators and a few hundred competitors partake in the annual pilgrimage to Racewars, which for the first time last year, was hosted in Albany on their international-spec airport featuring a freshly-laid tarmac strip measuring 1800 metres end-to-end.

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To summarize this unholy event of high octane speed, it is broken down into a few stages over the weekend.

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Friday. This acts as the premeet - a lot of the competitors and spectators travel down with their cars, there’s usually three or so official convoys leaving Perth which is the very first opportunity to see some of the cars up close and in the flesh. If you miss the convoy, there’s a show and shine with the competitors and some of the best local metal in the town centre later that afternoon. The guys get a quick opportunity to shakedown and make some last-minute adjustments on the street, ready for the weekend of racing to kick on. After all that’s done and dusted, everyone goes to the pub to consume about 19 tequila slammers and engage in some merry shittalking and grudge match initiations. This is where the dynamic duo Huggy and Riggs begin to chime in. Acting as the official Racewars Radio commentators, they narrate every passing moment of the 72 hours in the South West, both on and off the strip.

Saturday is where the real event starts. Everything kicks off at 9am with the 400m roll racing. Head to head, no bullshit runs where drivers bury their foot into the firewall to see who is the fastest over a ¼ mile from a running start. Think regulation-style drag racing, but with a roll on. It’s a good test of driver’s skill and acts as a proper ‘bedding-in’ for the cars.

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The afternoon is put aside for the 800m roll ons, same format as the 400m, but by the afternoon the whole field is primed and ready to take part. It’s easily the busiest event with the most competitors, with runs broken down into classes of vehicle. Grudge matches, head-to-heads and passenger runs for lucky spectators goes on here.

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Evening time is the domain of our good friends over at Forged Magazine with ‘Cash Days,’ a new event for 2017. A $100 buy in and you go head to head over an ⅛ of a mile. Standing start. Put up or shut up. Epic David and Goliath battles against all out drag cars, blown burnout bunkys, priceless supercars and AWD monsters. It’s last man standing until 10pm. Whoever wins takes home the whole cash pot. Cash Days will be returning bigger and better for this year’s event on March 03 in Albany and is open to any car, in the Racewars field or not.

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Sunday rolls off with a continuation of the 800m racing while the official Racewars car and bike show is hosted in the grounds of the airport. Then, just after lunch when the engines are warm and the egos are at boiling point, it is time for the headline event. A VMAX dash from a standanding start to the ET-marked finishing line 1000m at the other end of the strip. This is where the heavy hitters come out and do battle. The run starts with burnouts on specially designed pads to warm tyres, hearts and minds, without ruining the airstrip, before the dash to the finish line.

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For the final hour of the session, the Hour of Power initiates, where the fastest 10 cars of the weekend go head to head. One car per run, fastest time and speed over the 1000m wins the Racewars crown. You’re brimming with anticipation as each run gets faster and faster, seemingly never ending .5kph of speed here, an extra 2kph there. Intense would be an understatement. The hour passes in what feels like a few minutes.

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Last year, there was some serious competition in the form of Matt Haines’ 3.2L stroker 1150hp R32 GTR up against John Kopcheff’s ‘Underground Racing’ Turbocharged Lamborghini Gallardo. Kopcheff pipped Hainesy at the eleventh hour with a blistering run in the last 10 minutes of session. 324.97kph over the 100m, just 0.65kph quicker than Matt’s run a few minutes earlier. But that’s all it took and as the great Abraham Lincoln once said, ‘Ask any racer, any real racer; It doesn’t matter if you win by an inch or a mile, winning is winning.’

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Then it’s all over. The grand champion is crowned and it’s time for trophies and 19 more tequila slammers before the next event on the public holiday Monday. Another new addition, the ACM Electrical Sprint is a rally-sprint type event where the wind-down from an intense weekend takes place. A lot of the competitors take part in laps around the industrial complex on a specially marked sprint course. There’s some serious contenders in the form of highly strung Evos and WRXs, with the seriously fast machinery from Racewars opting to drop a set of tyres or two as they make their way around the track for the fun of it.

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Racewars is back at Albany airport next weekend (March 03-05.) This year is looking bigger and better than ever, with competitors flying in from all over Australia, and as recently confirmed, both Kopcheff and Haines will be returning for the grudge match after 12 months of upgrades and fettling to both cars. If you’re in WA and have a spare day or two, I strongly recommend you make the journey down to the amazing South West to check out some grassroots Motorsport that has grown to become the biggest and best private racing event in Australia.

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If you can’t make it, our resident cardinal of carnage, Andrew Cummins will be there covering the antics all weekend.