EVENT: Jamboree Sydney 2012

Jamboree, an event run by Ray Box and the Sport Compact Group, has been the premier event, if not the only event for Australian sport compact drag racing for over 20 years. Being held inaugurally in Queensland at Willowbank Dragway and holding a special place in the hearts of those who have raced there since the very beginning, it has since expanded to Sydney as the sister event to the home event in Brisbane. Formally known as Compak Attack, the 9th running of the event was recently held at Sydney Dragway at the heart of Western Sydney, where Team Cars For Hope headed to capture the fierce and fast world that is drag racing. This would be the lead up to the main event in September, where a multitude of teams will descend upon for a chance to snap up the holy grail of rotary and turbo drag racing in Australia. The one day event for Sydney was backed by sunny skies and high temperatures that made for a very sticky track and ensured tight competition between the 170 competitors. The various categories were diverse in cars and power and included Factory Xtreme, Pro Turbo, Pro Compact, Modified 10.5, Extreme, Modified Compact, Pro 289, Street 289, All Motor and Street Compact classes. There was some unforgettable action that unfolded on the quarter mile for Jamboree Sydney 2012.

Arguably the leaders of the rotary scene in Sydney, Pac Racing, were back again this year with their famously fast 20B MX-6 in the Factory Xtreme class, which would be it’s last outing before being placed back into retirement to make way for their newer and more powerful car.

The MX-6, which has lately faced some stiff competition with higher power figures, was struggling with the increase in power that PAC had fed into it prior to Jamboree and lost to Joe Signorelli’s Gas Motorsport Celica in round 3 of eliminations.

Nothing beats the big boys of Factory Xtreme, where half track burnouts are the norm. Joe Signorelli’s are one of the best we’ve seen. The high-pitched turbo spooling and the cloud of tyre smoke that follows is something that can only be experienced in person.

The finals consisted of the big guns Signorelli vs Harvey. Both were on par at the 60ft mark, but Harvey pulled away in the closing metres, stopping the clock at 6.421 at 221mph against Signorelli’s 6.623 at 215mph.

A 2JZ in an M3 BMW is not something you see everyday. Such uniqueness in the engine and chassis pairings is one of the many aspects of sport compact drag racing that brings fans back year after year.

The cars in Pro Turbo represent the general shape of a specific vehicle but often with a complex custom tube frame chassis in place of the original manufacturer’s. Michael Baghdadi’s S15 Silvia looks vastly different from what you can purchase at a Nissan dealer, such as a gaping hole in the front to feed air to the massive turbo underneath, among other outlandish modifications all in the quest for speed.

Although there were mainly older generation rotaries competing in Jamboree, there were a healthy showing of the newer generation as well, competing in Pro Turbo…

…such as Daniel Swanney’s ‘SIR20B’ RX-7, who traveled down from Queensland for Jamboree Sydney. Swanney had a bad start to qualifying but ended qualifying in 3rd on a 7.728, however lost to the eventual winner, Rob Novak in his 4G63 Datsun 1200, in the semi-finals.

This FD RX-7 was driven by Kiwi Gina Bullians, one of the first females we’ve seen driving a drag car and the only female in this years field, who came runner up in the Pro Turbo class.

30ft wheelies are quite common in Modified 10.5, where enormous power is mated with a comparably lighter weight and smaller wheelbase, as teams attempt to put the power to the track without lighting up the rubber in the process.

The class not only caters for rotaries and 4s, but also V8s, which were plentiful throughout Modified 10.5, mixing it up with the smaller displacements. Joe Gauci’s Cortina uses a twin turbo setup as seen through the front grille, unlike the conventional supercharger setup often associated with V8s.

Daniel Stoldatic’s ‘Pro 100’ Mazda R100 might be small, but packs a punch with it’s 13BT rotor. However, this wasn’t enough in eliminations, with a 8.266 against Joe Gauci’s 7.398 pass in the Cortina. Gauci went on to beat Shane Crichton’s Toyota Cressida in the finals and sealing the win with a 7.416 at 198mph.

Especially for the V8 fans was the Extreme class, with many cars that you wouldn’t expect to find at an event dominated by rotors. Adrian Santoro’s XW Falcon had nice launches, though just couldn’t cut it running high 9s when the rest of the field was running 7s and even 6s.

The same could not be said for Ali Rayan’s Torana, who couldn’t just get the power down during this qualifying run. The Extreme trophy was taken home by Peter Papas in the LX Torana against Steve Petrovski.

Lining up before the obligatory burnout and staging process is the calm before the storm. It’s where drivers have that last chance to run through the procedure in their minds, such as remembering the shift points and the location of the parachute release, and where the team simultaneously checks tyre pressures and wheelie-bar settings in the final minutes.

The moment when the car starts for the burnout is just as nerve-wrecking for the team as it is for the driver. Failure at this stage means the run is forfeited if everything doesn’t go to plan. Mark Tischendorf’s Mazda 323 successfully fires up ready to smoke it up.

The wheelie-bar forms a vital part of a drag car, helping to keep the rear tyres loaded to prevent loss of traction on launch…

…but sometimes the launches get a little out of hand.

And sometimes crazy launches complemented some pretty crazy results. Ben Palmer’s RX-3 took out Modified Compact with a 9.329 at 149mph after qualifying in 2nd place.

Insanely low pressures in the super soft compound rear tyres means tonnes of deformation in the tyre carcass during the launch, all in an effort to get the most grip when it counts the most.

It also means tonnes of tyre smoke that the spectators love to see, especially in Modified Compact! Fred Karam rips a mega skid in his short-wheelbased Mazda 323.

Damien McKern’s Pac Performance RX-2 ran consistently high 7s all day, with brutal crackling launches. Here you can see the chalk left by the wheelie bar, which is used as data to analyse the launch characteristics of the car for the eliminations. McKern qualified in the top position, however was not in round 2 due to a punctured front tyre.

The Gas Motorsport Supra driven by Po Tung in Street 289 was pulling consistently high quality burnouts and low 8 second runs. That super-long wheelie-bar was definitely needed to keep things sensible upon launch.

The Street 289 class was won by Ray Fairfull, beating cars much smaller and lighter than his Ford Falcon. Tim Burg qualified low in 9th place and lost to Robert Ciampi in the first round of eliminations, despite the high hopes for his classic Mazda 808.

Although non-turbo, the All Motor class was one to watch out for. They might not win in terms of outright power, but what they lack in power they make up in light weight and rawness.

It was definitely fun to watch Joseph Di Giorgio’s EG Civic as he revved the guts out of the H22A down the track, but was knocked out early in the day.

Henry Spicak’s VW Beetle was good enough to get him to the finals, however, could only manage a runner up position against Roy Yaghi’s RX-3.

The Street Compact class features street registered rides from across Sydney and Australia. These Cressida’s are good for 11s, not bad for a street driven sedan.

It was good to watch the range of less powerful, but still exciting cars battling it out hard with each other, creating some close battles separated by only fractions of a second.

R35 GT-Rs were never really intended for drag strip use, but it’s okay to stretch it’s legs once in a while, isn’t it?

Equally interesting is this 13B Cortina, which would definitely create a fuss between both the rotary fans and the Ford fans.

The pits was where spectators could go to when the track action got a little repetitive. Here you could find the teams hard at work preparing for the next battle as well as cars that had arrived straight from their runs…

…including this Street Compact classed CRX with fats up front and a menacing turbo peeking through the front bar…

…to this pink RX-3 named ‘ILBUZU’, that you won’t often find on the streets.

Queenslander Travis Beckman’s green machine CA18-powered Datsun 1200 was so well prepared that it wouldn’t be out of place at the show and shine let alone the drag strip!

It’s great to see the trek that competitors make to Sydney Jamboree even with Willowbank Dragway on their doorstep!

Anthony Maatouk’s ‘VLGOD’ VL Commodore clearly demonstrates that he means business with the awesome burnouts he pulls down the track. Rightly so, Anthony was crowned with the biggest burnouts of this year’s event.

Looks can be deceiving, as Andrew Stavrou’s 10 second Escort proves.

One of our favourites of the day was this immaculate KE10 Corolla driven by Lee Crow. It was amazing to see his 8 second passes, especially for such an old car outputting so much power.

Standing next to rotors and feeling them cracking on the rev-limiter at over 10,000rpm is definitely an experience, as we left Jamboree happily with smoke in our lungs, chunks of rubber on our shirts and buzzing in our ears after being the only ones without ear protection!

We’re ready for Jamboree Sydney 2013…

Matthew is the Company Secretary at Cars For Hope, taking care of things behind the scenes as well as writing, editing or photographing much of what appears on the website. He's an aspiring Mechanical Engineer, and is an avid photographer, cyclist and motorsports-watcher in his spare time. Check out Matthew's thoughts and adventures on his website.

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