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LAURIE TURNS BACK THE CLOCK FOR BENARABY

Article Date: 5 July 2011

Current leader in the Queensland Street Car Eighth Mile Drag Racing Series Super Street bracket, Laurie Bonato, is returning to his drag racing roots on July 9 for the penultimate round of the Series at Benaraby Raceway.

His XF Falcon ute has the distinctive GET UTED numberplates and has been a popular addition to the 'short track' Series in the John William Auto Sales Super Street bracket - which he currently leads.

The Bundaberg racer - whose made his comeback to racing in the last two years - first raced at the Benaraby venue when it first opened nearly 30 years ago.

He is enjoying the challenge of one-eighth mile racing.

"It’s all about the start - you have to come out of the blocks quickly otherwise it's your race done," he said. "With quarter mile racing, you have the opportunity to get it back, but you've got to get away quickly with this eighth-mile racing.

"That’s the challenge I really enjoy - it's different and we have to take a different approach when we get to the racetrack."

Laurie got into racing "more years ago than I care to remember" and has raced all over the State. After a hiatus to have a family and build a business, he re-entered the sport with his son - Anthony - at the wheel. Now daughters Katrina and Alanna are getting on board as well.

"Anthony got into racing when he was old enough and that was fantastic, being able to work on the cars with him," Bonato said. "Although I wasn’t racing, I was never far away from drag racing, we always kept an eye on what was happening and spectated where we could.

"Drag racing is the ideal way to get young drivers away from racing on the streets and giving them an interest as well and it’s proved to be a wonderful bonding experience for us.

"When my son decided to have a layoff, I got back involved - which was around 18 months ago. Now my son and two daughters have the bug again, it will be great to be on the road as a father-son team. Put my daughters into that and it's a complete family affair."

The GET UTED machine has been prepared in Bonato's Bundaberg garage with help from his good friend Mal Everett and this year they have worked on the driveline in preparation for the one-eighth mile racing.

Series organiser, John Winterburn - is enthused by the direction the Series has taken this year.

"It’s been a hard year all round for drag racers - it seems like we know how to break a drought!" Winterburn said. "The July 9 event at Benaraby will be a big one, many of our competitors will have a short turnaround to the re-run of the Castrol EDGE Winternationals, which is a boon for not only them, but for drag racing fans all over Queensland."

The penultimate round of the Series will be held at Benaraby Dragway on the 9th of July, before the Grand Finale gets underway at Ironbark Raceway on the 24th of September. Benaraby Dragway is located on the Pacific Hwy just outside Gladstone in Queensland.

Currently leading the championship points are Kiah Curling (Diamond T Products Junior Dragster), Richie Paterson (QLD Nameplate Group Modified Bike), Laurie Bonato (John William Auto Sales Super Street), Darren Doeblien (JP Racing Super Sedan), Athol Jacobsen (RD William Excavator Parts Modified) and Loughlin Boyde (F G Loy & Sons Earthmoving Classic).

The Queensland Street Car Magazine Eighth Mile Series includes rounds of racing plus a Grand Finale, hosted by each track on a rotational basis year by year.

Special winner and runner-up trophies will be available for each bracket at each round, with the Grand Finale to see a special winner trophy plus $750 prize money awarded to the highest point score of each bracket, and a special runner-up trophy and $250 prize money to go to the second highest point scorer of each bracket.

For more information on the 2011 Queensland Street Car Magazine Eighth Mile Drag Racing Series, including details on how to enter and race rules, visit www.willowbankraceway.com.au

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