Ben Dobinson of Rockhampton with his highly modified Ford Barra Turbo powered Nissan GQ Patrol that he will race at the King of the Strip at Benaraby Dragway.
Ben Dobinson of Rockhampton with his highly modified Ford Barra Turbo powered Nissan GQ Patrol that he will race at the King of the Strip at Benaraby Dragway.

Rocky man gets 4WD drag rules rewritten to race at Benaraby

WHEN Ben Dobinson found out he couldn’t drag race his 400-plus horsepower four-wheel-drive, that wasn’t going to stop him.

He simply got the rule book rewritten.

The Dobinsons Spring and Suspension Rockhampton manager said there had been a huge surge in popularity of four-wheel-drives in Central Queensland, but the owners of these modified machines couldn’t previously race their vehicles like modified car fanatics.

“Traditionally drag racing has always been drag cars, or street cars and our industry is four-wheel drives,” he said.

“I have a high-powered four-wheel-drive and the trend over the last 10 years has been towards putting Commodore motors or Falcon motors into four-wheel drives and getting heaps of power out of them.

Two of the highly modified four-wheel drives that will race in this weekend's King of the Strip at Benaraby Dragway.
Two of the highly modified four-wheel drives that will race in this weekend's King of the Strip at Benaraby Dragway.

“Especially over the last few years there is a huge market for them and heaps of guys have these vehicles but nobody has been able to run them down the drag strip.”

The previous Australian National Drag Racing Association ANDRA rules, Mr Dobinson said, would only permit certain vehicles with a crankshaft height of 600mm to drag race.

“The previous ANDRA rules didn’t really suit these four-wheel-drives,” he said.

“Under the previous rules most of the production four-wheel drives were right on the limit, so as soon as you lifted one or put bigger tyres on it, you couldn’t race it.

“Drag racing four-wheel-drives is something I wanted to do, and I thought I’ve got to make it happen.”

What followed was an extensive research and submission process, which resulted in Mr Dobinson’s wish being granted by ANDRA.

“So I got onto ANDRA and spoke to two guys who were really helpful and I submitted a rule change,” he said.

“I submitted the rule change at the start of the year and it took up until about two months ago for it to be approved.

“It now allows production four-wheel drive vehicles to run a higher crankshaft centre height.”

Central Queensland Drag Racing Association CQDRA president Mike Gawley said Ben approached him about running a King of the Strip event for four-wheel-drives only.

“Ben Dobinson approached me in January at a club day and wanted to know about racing four-wheel-drives there,” he said.

“With our research we did, we found that the permitted crankshaft centre line height was 600mm.

“It was written years ago as a general safety factor.

“So Ben Dobbo said can we do anything about it?”

A highly modified Nissan Patrol that will race at the King of the Strip at Benaraby Dragway.
A highly modified Nissan Patrol that will race at the King of the Strip at Benaraby Dragway.

Mr Gawley said he advised Ben that ANDRA were very cooperative and he would have to do the research himself to convince the drag racing body that changing the rules would still be safe.

“Ben went out and did a months worth of research and literally measured every type of four-wheel drive and wrote a full specification sheet on a huge variety of vehicles.

“He lodged it with ANDRA and a couple of months ago they released updates to their rule book and at the very bottom of the list was the crankshaft centre line height.

“They adopted everything exactly as he wrote it.”

This resulted in CQDRA agreeing to hold Australia’s first four-wheel-drive drag racing meeting, King of the Strip, Mr Gawley said, at Benaraby Dragway this weekend.

“Dobinsons Spring and Suspension are putting up $3000 in prizemoney for what should be a great weekend,” Mr Gawley said.

For more information or to nominate your four-wheel drive visit the CQDRA Facebook page.

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