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Report: Gazzanats Darwin 2022 – Dubai Car News

Darwin’s Hidden Valley Raceway may host an annual Supercars round, but if you’re keen to see big horsepower in fury at the top end, Gazzanats is definitely one to mark on your calendar. Organized by the Burnout Maniac Myers Family, this year’s Hidden Canyon tire-shredding action spanned two full days of track cruising, roll racing, power skids and monster burnout pad sessions. Funded by Gary and Debbie Myers, fully laden transporters rumbled from as far afield as WA and Victoria, taking in huge numbers of entrants including more than 40 blown-out containers – a bay for Darwin. Example turnout.

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While our westerner, Boris Viskovic, usually flew in from WA and mesmerized the atmosphere, this year it was my turn, and my first time at Gazzanats was also my first time in the NT. Migrating from winter Geelong to dry weather, 30 degrees Darwin was a shock to the senses, but certainly not unwelcome. Offering a stone’s throw from Darwin, many entrants brought their families along for the ride, enjoying country pubs and beautiful swimming holes. If you ask us, it was the perfect lead-in to a jam-packed, smoke-filled weekend.

Unfortunately, Gazzanats NT’s opening skid was less than ideal. Fifty Shave by Kevin Mantach (Sm, March ’20) fired on the main straight and faced a stuck throttle. Cue threw the chopped 1950 coupe into a spin to lose some speed, but it tagged the wall hard enough to clear the fuel tank from the boot.

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Thankfully, he was walking and talking after the steak, and went to the hospital to get some stitches and a look.

Things go more smoothly once track cruising opens up, giving punters the chance to keep it flat on the Supercar circuit (albeit with orders to avoid the grass at all costs).

The evening burn at the Hidden Valley was an amazing experience as spectators found a spot on the hill overlooking the pad, backed by an orange sunset. The smoke from burning was also not a problem, as it helped keep the moose at bay. Qualifying was fairly drama-free apart from Jay Boucher’s RAMPAGE VF Commodore catching fire and damaging its tailshaft.

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The carnage escalated for the weekend’s four-hour final session, with Ryan Pearson setting himself on fire before kissing the wall in his Holden HT premiere. Van Dow’s burnout in his SLYLUX ute was also cut agonizingly short by a mechanical failure seconds after tip-in, leaving the serious contender frustrated.

Dwane Palentine claimed victory in the packed Balloon class with an incredible display in his PEPERIT Torana, with Billy Seton taking the top spot in the Naturally Aspirated V8 field behind the wheel of the SILYTOY VK.

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Show ‘n’ Shine also featured a number of cool local rides, which complemented the balls-out track driving well. The space features an eclectic mix of burnout missiles and flashy feature cars, as well as oddities like the sleek Carver and Aaron Clarke’s Mad Max-style Peugeot saloon. Japanese goods also performed well, with Supras and Stageas prominently featured alongside HiLuxes.

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Aaron Webber dominated roll racing to claim the trophy and Maguire’s detailed pack. “I don’t know what I’m going to do with it, because I don’t wash it,” he laughed.

If you are a regular. Street Machine Readers, you’re probably familiar with the Myers clan, as Gary and son Jack are both Aussie burnout royalty. But if you haven’t seen them run an event, it’s worth checking out. With their dedicated staff, they take ‘hands-on’ to a new level.

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You’ll find Debbie tending the gates and taking care of the drivers, Gary scraping the burnt rubber off the pads every night, and Jack live-streaming the whole thing on Facebook. Their dedication to the art of the burnout, combined with Darwin’s wonderful weather and relaxed atmosphere, make Gazzanats NT a must-do.


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Sheehan Varney’s VZ-fronted VU SS ute put on a big flame show on Friday night. Power comes from a BYE Performance-assembled, iron-block 427ci LSX, with a 6/71 TBS blower and carbon fiber injector heat. Having debuted in motorsport almost 18 months ago and fresh from a full WA burnout season, it will be this time Street Machine Smyrnatus 35

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Robert Cottrell’s methanol-sipping, LS2-swapped XD was one of the toughest Chargers during every cruise and super skid session, and he put on an equally impressive showing to finish top 10 in the burnout pad.

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Daniel Catalano describes the 8/71 flying Shave-powered FJ40 as a beast around corners, out of its leaves. “The track is very hard to cruise, but on the pad it’s bad,” he laughed. “It’s a handful, but it’s good fun!” The cruiser crashed into a wall Friday night, but returned Saturday after Daniel and his crew straightened the front using some straps and two support vehicles.

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Dayne Bairstow’s HAVEAGO XG ute four/six cylinder was a highlight of the class, sending up a thick plume of smoke from his insanely inspired barra and blowing both tyres.

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Ever seen a real Dell VX GTS 300 track car? Troy Sutherland purchased this Callaway powered weapon essentially as-is from the original owner. The rebuilt mill wears Harrop ITBs, paired with a full brace of coolers and super-firm suspension. There are also six-pot HSV stoppers, a carbon fiber tailshaft, plenty of negative camber, and even a rear sway bar from an American GTO racer.

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Aiden Leist paid just $150 for VK Calais when he was 15 years old. -5.7 is built for simplicity and reliability. “It’s just something we can get in, throw carefully into the air, and just break the tires,” enthuses Aidan.

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Catherine’s Mark Ryan debuted his Capri GT at Gazzanats, taking home first in the Go to Wah. The car uses the 369 Windsor stroker driveline from his CHEEKY8 Capri, which was lost in a shed fire. “It was a drag car, so we had to convert it back to a street car,” Mark said. “This is literally the first event that has happened and I couldn’t be happier. It’s going great.”

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In addition to his VX, Troy Sutherland also brought along the artist formerly known as MR PSI. In the late 2000s, the twin-turbo, 416ci VU was one of the first Australian cars to crack 1700rwhp. After the sudden death of owner Lyle Lemon in 2008, it changed hands a few times, eventually becoming the Rollers. It now runs a hard-aspirated LS combo, though the Troy still has the original bonnet with the turbo cutouts hanging on the wall.

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Brad Schulter went for an early donut in the entry lane during Friday night’s burnout. It didn’t quite work, but it backed up his Datsun ute and ended his skid impressively. He also struggled on Saturday, nearly hitting the far wall before hitting reverse and restarting

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Kerry Kyriacou’s LX Torry is a local gem, running a 6.0L LS2 and T56 combo, with 9in underneath and Wilwood discs. “You can afford a lower differential and still be economical on the highway,” he said. “It’s nice to take an old car and modernize it, you know?” Carey took to go-to-wow, roll racing and track cruising with enthusiasm.

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Corey Johnston’s HX brought some grandpa flavor to the cruise sessions. It’s seen a few different combos, but now it packs a 6.0L L98 with a TBS 8/71 blower and twin 850 carbs, making 700hp on the trades. “It’s a very low maintenance setup by far, touchwood,” Corey said. “Right now I can just jump in and enjoy it and not stress too much.”

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John Curwen-Walker’s iconic ’90s-built FX made it awards season, taking home the Best Cruiser Car and Top Holden Four-Door awards. It is a regular at both Gazzanats and Red CentreNATS, where John campaigned it to Grand Champion in 2015.

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It was a simple and uber stylish addition to the HQ GTS 350 Monaro show ‘n’ shine. The mini-tub car runs on a Turbo 400 and 9in rear, with matte 10in wheels. “I run it a lot in the dry season, and I take it out in the wet,” said owner John Lara. “It’s a family thing; we take our baby with us all the time.”

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An unusual visitor from WA was Kevin Mason in his FIRE BUG Rambler, who took on the EFI, methanol-drinking LS1 last year. Kevin broke eight sets of tires over the two-day show and achieved a top-10 naturally aspirated finish.

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