Racer John Ricca at the Kenda event in Sydney earlier this year. Picture: dragphotos.com.au
Racer John Ricca at the Kenda event in Sydney earlier this year. Picture: dragphotos.com.au

Premier Radial event with American flavour in Ipswich

AS normality slowly returns to dragracing at Willowbank, racers and fans have another big event to look forward to.

The Radial Redemption hits Willowbank Raceway on September 26, after two days of testing.

The Kenda Drag Radial Series is the premier radial event in Australia with excitement, wheel-standing action and the fastest radial cars on the quarter mile.

The event is the brain child of dragracers Justin Simpson and Scott Harker.

It is a radial only style event with the divider being radial tires not conventional slicks.

The event is based on heads up racing where racers can pretty much race any type of car as long as it has radial tires.

With 2020 being a disruptive year, not as many Kenda events have been able to successfully run. However this month's Radial Redemption is eagerly awaited.

Although the entrants are limited to states not currently restricted from Queensland due to COVID-19, this has not stopped the legendary Twin Turbo Mustang of RPM Melbourne from making an appearance.

In 2019, Jarrod Wood ran a 3.99 1/8th mile pass in the Twin Turbo Mustang, becoming the first racer to run a three second pass on a radial tire in Australia.

Since then the car has switched hands and is now in the possession of John Ricca from Race Parts Melbourne.

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Ricca crewed for Wood in the States last year.

"If a car pops up, reasonably priced, I wouldn't mind buying it,'' Ricca said, to which Wood replied: 'Why don't you buy this?'

And Ricca said: "I was thinking something a bit slower but we did a deal and I bought the Mustang from him.

"We went back to the States in October of last year where I raced the car at No Mercy before running our first Kenda event in February of this year at Sydney Dragway.

"We ended up coming runner up at the event. We were out in front and probably would have won the finals but we didn't notice the fuel cap hadn't been put back on and the car literally blew up in a ball of flames just before the finish line. It blew the windows out, the car was on fire, everything was burnt, it was crazy.

"Thankfully I hit the fire system and put the fire out pretty quickly, there was no major damage, it was mainly cosmetic."

The car, fitted with a fully built engine from TKM Performance in the States, hasn't been tested since putting it back together.

Ricca was keen to get it back on the track.

However, with current restrictions in Melbourne he is unable to travel in Queensland, so he has sent up the car for Wood to again jump behind the wheel and see what he can do with a car that hasn't been back on the track since the fire.

Ricca says that Wood "knows the car better than me, he has done more laps in it than me, he knows the car inside and out so I am sure he will just jump in and be right at home.

"Last time he drove the car in Australia he ran a 3.99, it is now lighter and has had some major upgrades. So once we dial in the 330 we are just going to run it out the back door and see what it does."

Wood is grateful for the opportunity to be able to run his old car at the premier radial event - The Kenda Radial Redemption 2020.

"It is always a good day of racing with plenty of fun and action,'' Wood said.

"It will be good to get back behind the wheel of one of the baddest steel roof radial cars on the planet.

"It is a great opportunity for us as a team to get some more testing under our belt and to keep me in driver mode for when we can get back to racing our Corvette in the States.''

Event promoter Scott Harker was keen to see the popular event firing up.

"We are excited to get the local radial scene back on track in a race format, and even better to be able to have spectators back at the events,'' he said.

"The Queensland Radial scene is where it all began and we hope to see over 80 cars enter for this event, making it exciting for everyone involved.

"We want to thank the racers, fans and sponsors for their continued support through these tricky times.''

For more information, race day schedule and tickets, visit willowbankraceway.com.au

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