Sydney girl Erin Koukides, 16, in her junior dragster at the Winternationals at Willowbank at the weekend.
Sydney girl Erin Koukides, 16, in her junior dragster at the Winternationals at Willowbank at the weekend. Sarah Harvey

Young racer hooked on drags

AT sixteen, Erin Koukides already knows she's addicted to the adrenaline rush of drag racing.

Thousands of people turned out to watch the Winternationals at Willowbank Raceway over the weekend, but spectating was not enough for Erin.

She competed in Round 1 of the junior dragsters category on Saturday night in her miniature Minnie Mouse-themed car.

Erin and her parents, Nicola and Terry, drove from Sydney to attend the event, which was part of Erin's first season of racing.

Erin said she was enjoying her debut season.

"We've been up to Queensland before, and I've been to quarter-finals and semis," Erin said.

"I do it for the adrenaline - it just feels awesome - and for the feeling you get when you win."

"I can get up to 130kmh in this, and I have one more season left of junior dragsters and then I'll go up to Super Sedans or something similar."

Erin said the secret to drag racing was all about reaction time.

"I practise with this mini lighting set-up and as soon as the light flashes I have to press a button," she said.

Terry Koukides said his daughter shared his passion for drag racing.

"We had the car for my son originally, and he wasn't really motivated," Mr Koukides said.

"It was sitting in the garage and Erin must have only been six, but she grew up and got really keen so we did it up and she started racing. I'd been doing it with my brother for a while, I was putting the cars together and he'd race, so it's great to see it continue through the family."

Mr Koukides said the junior dragster category normally featured more girls than boys.

"I think the girls are more patient, and maybe more intelligent at that age," Mr Koukides laughed.

"The juniors are open to kids aged from eight to 16, and fundamentally the cars are a half-size of what they normally are," he explained.



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