Drag racers put pedal to the metal in battle for Rockynats title

Published on 17 April 2022

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As the sun glistened off the mighty Fitzroy River on to the line of National Trust buildings over 300 entrants were getting their cars ready to race over the 1/8th mile Quay Street drag strip for the Rare Spares Rockynats 02 Garret Motion Street Drags event. Held across the three days of the event in a fast paced, no fuss format; drivers and spectators alike were wowed by the calibre of drag racing and wide variety of vehicles showcased.

Summernats co-owner, Andy Lopez, said the unique format of the Rockynats Drags allows for more cars and more racing. “After this weekend, Rockynats is the biggest drag racing event in Australia to belted down this Aussie first street built 1/8th mile strip,” said Andy. “An incredible 1150 passes were staged to massive crowds, and the racers absolutely loved the raw and challenging no prep format.”

With times ranging from 10.25 to a super quick 6.93 – a Rockynats record – there was hardly a spare space in the jam-packed viewing area for the full three days of action.

Rockynats 01 Street Drags winner and Sunshine Coast local, Shane Page was stoked with his Sunday morning run in his 1988 Holden Calais which saw him lay down the quickest time of the competition and secure a spot in the finals.

“My quickest time last year was a 7.08 so my goal for this year was to break into a six second pass,” he said. “I was very happy when I looked at time and saw it was 6.93.”

While he couldn’t better his time up against Luke Rosadi and his 2012 Holden HSV Maloo Ute in the final, Shane still managed to cross the line first and secure the Pro title for the second year running.

“The track was getting hotter and the cars slipperier as the day went on, but I was fortunate enough to put down a solid run and pull it off with a time of 7.23,” he explained. “It wasn’t easy though. There was a lot more people in the competition this year and the cars were all very quick so to come away with the win two years in a row is just a bonus!”

Winner of the competition’s Street category, Heath Lebsanft, was equally thrilled to walk away with a win after his bright yellow 1971 Holden Monaro Coupe edged out Jamie Freeman’s 1972 Holden HQ Kingswood in the final run.

“I knew my car was fast and that it’d be up there, but I didn’t really expect to win, so I’m stoked!”

“We made it into the finals last year but then it rained which was a bit devastating, so this year was an opportunity for a bit of redemption,” he reflected. “I also love old school racing so to have two small block, aspirated cars in the final just made it all the more fun.”

Advance Rockhampton Executive Manager, Greg Bowden, said the Street Drags has been a hugely popular event for entrants and spectators alike, with many citing it’s unique, riverfront location as a key drawcard.

“Where else can you see drags down the main street of town with Queensland's longest stretch of National Trust buildings as the backdrop? Only at Rockynats!” he said.

As the final checked flag falls at Rockynats for another year, entrants are already gearing up for Rockynats 03.

“I thought last year was good, but this year has definitely topped it,” says Shane. “We’ve already booked our motel ready to come back next year and all the talk along pit lane is that everyone else is doing the same.”