Nitro Up North is famous for bringing Top Fuel dragsters to Darwin, but they won’t be the only nitro-fuelled machines making their impression on Hidden Valley Drag Strip come July 21 and 22.
Queensland’s Chris Matheson choses to pour the infamous explosive race fuel into a motorcycle – and it’s Australia’s quickest vehicle on two wheels, capable of covering a quarter mile (402m) drag strip in just 6.04 seconds.
Riders in the Top Bike class where Matheson competes are among the bravest in motorsport. Matheson himself has ridden the highs and the lows of extreme drag racing, including a fall at over 350kmh in Sydney and a bizarre electrocution last time he was in Darwin.
“We have raced at Hidden Valley in the past, however, it didn’t end well,” he explained. “During the first round of racing we blew a spark plug (and lead) out of the cylinder head, which hit me in the chest, pumping 45,000 volts (44 amps) through my body. The shock blew my hands off the handle bars, which nearly resulted in me being blown off the bike. Eventually, I got the bike stopped and was taken to Darwin Base Hospital, where I spent some time in the ICU.”
The multi-time national champion has not let such incidents stop him from continuing to chase records and there is one target he would love to achieve – being the first drag racer in the Southern Hemisphere to run a five second pass on a motorcycle.
“We always try to improve our performance and reliability at each event. Our sights are set on running quicker and our ultimate goal is to run in the five second zone. The spectators are in for a real show, so come out and smell the nitro.”
Darwin and Nitro Up North forms an important part of Matheson’s assault on another national title, being the first round of the 400 Thunder Professional Drag Racing Series.
“Nitro Up North is extremely important if you are to have any chance in winning the Australian championship. Not only is the event important in the series, the Northern Territory crowds are the most enthusiastic and supportive we see and the venue is fantastic.
“We have just won the Australian Top Bike Championship for the fourth time and are keen to continue on our winning form. I’ve been running this nitro bike for some seven years, with four national championships and numerous national records under my belt. That doesn’t come without experience, or luck. We are 100% focused on winning and aren’t travelling forty odd hours in a truck to lose.”
Matheson will be taking on a talented field of nitro bikes that also includes the world’s fastest amputee Benny Stevens, who recently returned from racing in the USA, former champions Mark Drew, Chris Porter and Ian Ashelford and more.
The nitro bikes will be joined by Top Fuel Dragsters and Pro Slammers in the opening round of the 400 Thunder Professional Drag Racing Series.
Spectator tickets are now available online, or from Redline Plumbing in Darwin. Tickets will also be available at the gate.