Hot rods rumbled into Gunnedah Airport this week for the Drag-ens Drag Safari – an annual touring event held as part of the Weeks of Speed.

The multi-location safari featured vintage performance cars of all descriptions from many parts of the state and country including Orange, Sydney, Wollongong and South Australia.

The touring event required the competition vehicles to be driven to each competition venue. In days prior to Gunnedah, drivers had competed at drag events at Wellington and Sydney.

Among them was father-son combination Steve and Jacob Cooke from the Hawkesbury region near Sydney.

Dad, Steve, said young Jacob is only 13 years old but already revving to go and follow the proud family tradition in motorsport.

“He will be a fourth generation drag car driver,” Steve said.

Jacob is already a capable hand in the pit area and is helping build another car to race when he’s older.

“It is a lot of fun,” Jacob said.

Another family duo competing at Gunnedah was Ben and Sam Cooley from Camden.

It was just Sam’s second day drag car racing in the refurbished Ford Tourer and is also following in the footsteps of dad, Ben.

The driver with the longest distance to travel was South Australian and rookie drag car competitor, Bryce Stubing.

He has owned his red, 1932 Ford Coupe for 12 years and has clocked about 20,000km on the odometer. But despite the history, this was his first time on the race circuit.

“I’ve never drag raced before, so these are all personal bests,” Bryce quipped, reading over his time sheet.

He was relishing the opportunity to travel Australia as part of the drag car competition.

Also enjoying the tourist side of the competition was Troy Fewings.

“Touring the country is great,” Troy said.

The project manager from Wollongong said the touring party often spends a few dollars in each town it visits, before moving on to the next leg of competition.

Co-ordinating the safari event each year in Gunnedah is Tamworth Drag Racing Association.

Association spokesperson Bill Ausling said this was the third appearance of the safari in Gunnedah but the TRDA has been involved with the Weeks of Speed for decades.

“We’ve been racing with the Weeks of Speed since it started,” Bill said.

“We were one of the clubs which helped initiate the original weekend of speed, so we’ve been here almost 28 years.”

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