Kyle Hopf has built a precision vehicle capable of world class performances on a radial drag racing tyre, but he says his team's Unlimited Radial victory at the 2019 Kenda Radial Riot was something of a 'Bradbury' performance.
Hopf was referencing infamous Australian speed skater Steven Bradbury, who came from last position in the 2002 Winter Olympics to win a gold medal when all of his opponents crashed out on the final corner. After running threes in testing and the Friday night shootout, Hopf and driver Terry Seng managed to only get down the track once on a hot Saturday surface. But that proved enough as the competition was having the same issues at Australia's biggest radial drag racing event.
“It was a Bradbury, everyone else tripped over,” he said. “We didn't have an overly successful day, but we managed to get where we needed to be.”
Seng defeated Simon Kryger in round one with a 4.08/198mph but as the sun beat down on the track each pass became trickier. He took advantage of a red light from Craig Hewitt in round two and then had a win by default in round three when Dale Heiler (who claimed the overall 2019 Kenda championship) had head gasket problems.
The Camaro was part of a historic week of radial drag racing in Queensland, as half of the first side-by-side three second run on radials in Australia, alongside Wade Wagstaff.
“It was probably the happiest I have ever been to lose a race,” Hopf said. “We were using the top eight shootout as a testing session to try and get the car in the direction we wanted. To run two almost identical three second passes and back it up with Wade, was pretty memorable. If we couldn't run the first three in the country at least we got to run the first side-by-side three.”