Photos courtesy T.A.D. Photography.
Current Supercharged Outlaws National Champion Matt Watts had to sit out the first 2 rounds of the 2013 season while he and dad Guy Watts prepared the teams new altered.
While it's been a frustrating wait, a runner-up to current point's leader Luke Marsden at the recent Aeroflow round in Adelaide was an excellent result for the cars first competitive hit out.
Gone but not forgotten
With the old car gone it was time to look for a new car. The search didn't take long, and on September the 12th, 2012 (which also happened to be father's day), the team's new altered was purchased from Stan and Nola Tindal in NSW.
Designed for Top Alcohol duties, the new car is all chrome-molly, has 4 wheel disk brakes and dual parachutes. According to Matt it's "100% safer, drives dead straight and it just wants to race."
With only two months until the Nationals in November there was no chance that Matt and Guy would be ready in time. Originally setup for a big hemi, the blokes had to do a lot of work to retrofit the 360 Dart small-block between the chassis rails.
After many late nights the new car was finally ready for testing and the team headed out to Willowbank Raceway in January. With two aborted runs due to tyre shake, the team came away with one good pass, a 7.50 at 180 mph.
Before heading to Adelaide Matt and Guy tried to get one more test session in February, but when the heavens opened while they were in the stagging lanes it was game over; they would make the 2,000 km to trip to Adelaide with Matt only having 3 passes in the car.
Runner-up in Adelaide
Except for making a wrong turn at Warwick and heading towards Tenterfield, the trip was pretty uneventful for Guy Watts who was doing the driving duties. Talk about drawing the short straw – the rest of the team would be flying in and out of Adelaide.
Keen to get some points on the board, Matt went into the event with a mixture of excitement and apprehension. "I was pretty nervous to start with and the 1st qualifier was pretty heart racing," said Matt. "But we slowly crept up on the tune and the car performed flawlessly all weekend."
While Matt indicated that the team was primarily in Adelaide to test, "it was great to make it all the way to the final in the new car's first outing in competition."
Running to the thousand foot mark, Matt took the 1st round win over Jack Danaher with a 6.026 on a 6.02 dial-in. It was a similar story in round 2, a 6.065 on a 6.06 too good for Doina Day. And in the third round, a backing off 6.10 on a 6.02 had Shaun Kirkman covered.
After a bye in the semi it was time to face off against fellow Queenslander and point's leader Luke Marsden. In the end Matt had to settle for the runner-up spot after the altered ran off the dial-in, a 6.12 on a 6.02 no match for Luke's 5.859.
"We're not sure why it ran so far off in the final but everything checked out ok. To make it so far with such little seat time was just fantastic. We didn't get much time to celebrate or analyse the result as we literally towed back up the return road and headed for the airport, arriving just as the plane was boarding," said Matt.
With the runner-up in Adelaide, Matt collected 80 valuable points in the Championship and sits equal 4th with Chris Hargrave and Andrew Hodgsen.
Next stop for the team; the Nitro Champs at Sydney Dragway from the 3rd to the 5th of May. To see Matt in action check out the Speedweek footage from Adelaide International Raceway...
To get the new car ready and make the trip all the way to Adelaide, Matt and Guy would like to thank the following generous sponsors and supporters:
- Family & Crew
- Steve Reed of Allstar Batteries
- Paddy's Bins
- Fast Ass Couriers
- TDC Refrigeration
- Talice Security
- Repco Alice Springs