Nitro News 22/6/2017 - The only Aussie built nitro dragster is coming to Darwin!

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Australians are known for their ingenuity across all walks of life, but in the world of drag racing there is one family that stands out.

Sydney’s Sainty family have built their own Top Fuel dragsters, capable of burning the nitromethane required to produce 10,000 horsepower and accelerate to speeds of up to 500kmh in just five seconds.

Terry Sainty is the driver and he, together with father Stan and uncle Norm, designed and built their own unique Top Fuel motor in the nineties. They have been one of the legendary teams of Top Fuel ever since and this year at Nitro Up North they will make their first ever foray into Darwin’s Hidden Valley Drag Strip.

“We hear everyone up there is hungry for some nitro so we will be doing our best to let everyone have an up close look at the car,” Terry said.

“I’ve never been to Darwin before, what I know is from a little bit of World War II history. But we know how friendly people are up there and while we haven’t planned any holidays just yet, we might go and see some big crocodiles.”

The Sainty team has been one of the in form performers in recent rounds of the 400 Thunder Drag Racing Series, which sees its first round held at Nitro Up North. Terry credited the input of experienced nitro tuner Dwayne Reilly with helping to uncover a few secrets of the motor.

“Dwayne has been helping us with the tune up, we have changed the camshaft timing and got fussier with the settings in general. More fuel volume and clutch and getting a good baseline tune up.”

That ‘good baseline’ has seen Sainty descend into the coveted four second zones at both Sydney Dragway and Willowbank Raceway recently and Hidden Valley is next on the radar.

“We’ve made some more changes since with more fuel volume in the middle of the track where we have been hurting the motor in the past. I just need to make sure I am ready to hang on and keep it in the groove!

“We will be out there to do our best for Gulf Western Oil, Speedflow and Eagle Leads and we are slowly catching up to our opponents with this Aussie built motor.”

Sainty will be taking on Lamattina Top Fuel Racing’s Kelly Bettes, who is testing in Queensland this weekend to get in form, Premiair Racing’s Peter Xiberras and the ‘Nitro Madman’ Mark Sheehan at Nitro Up North, which takes place from July 21 to 22.

Get your tickets online now, or at the gate.


Want to avoid the queues on race day and get to your seat as soon as you can? Pre-purchase your tickets online and you can! Tickets will be mailed out to you after order. Please note that online ticket purchase will close off on July 8 to allow for enough time to mail out.


The world of Top Fuel drag racing has been wrapped in excitement since the announcement of Lamattina Top Fuel Racing’s new driver, Kelly Bettes.

The 32 year old Queensland woman was the driver of choice for the team’s 10,000 horsepower, 500kmh dragster given her high level of experience and dedication to the sport.

Bettes, a former Australian Modified champion, will make her competition debut at Nitro Up North on July 21 and 22.

“I am so looking forward to the Nitro Up North event, I have never even been to Hidden Valley Drag Strip but I have heard how good and smooth the track is and also how much fun the event is to be at,” she said.

“I hear the crowds are fantastic! I am so pumped that this event and venue will be my debut to racing in Top Fuel.”

Bettes will be part of an awesome show that includes the 400 Thunder Professional Drag Racing Series Pro Slammers, along with nitro bikes!

Last year the Top Fuel dragsters blitzed the track record to the stunned amazement of fans and Bettes would love to give that a nudge herself.

“All in all I can’t wait to meet the people of Darwin and hit the loud pedal July 21 and 22,” she said.

For more information on Nitro Up North, make sure to keep checking or check out Pre-purchase tickets online now.


There’s an early leader in the race for entries at Nitro Up North on July 21 and 22 – and it’s the crowd pleasing Top Doorslammers!

Despite there being over two months until the event, eight cars have already nominated and the number is expected to climb before race day as teams get excited for the greatest adventure in drag racing.

Western Australia’s Pino Priolo is one of the early nominees. The driver of the crowd-pleasing 37 Chev said the atmosphere of Darwin’s Hidden Valley Drag Strip is unlike anywhere else in the country – and that’s a major reason why he has been back four times to compete.

“You know, it’s more like the old days of drag racing,” he said. “People are laid back on the hill, everyone is relaxed. And it’s a beautiful facility. We get to use the Supercars garages, the track staff are absolutely brilliant and they can’t do enough to help us.

“The Northern Territory Government get behind this event which is an amazing thing, they absolutely pack the place out and put on a great show.”

Priolo will be racing at both Darwin and the Alice Springs championship round a week afterwards, and while he can’t stay between the two events due to business commitments, his crew will. So while the boss is away, the boys will play!

“I’ll leave them up there and I’m sure they will find the time to go fishing and enjoy the Northern Territory,” he said.

Priolo has the help of NT Hauliers to get the car to and from the event, just another example of the friendliness of the Darwin community.

“I met Bruce and Amanda from NT Hauliers at the race track,” he explained. “They loved the car, came up to me and had a chat and we hit it off. I was able to sit Amanda in the car in the pits while we warmed it up, that was pretty exciting for her. She had the biggest smile on her face.

“Everyone there is so friendly. How can you not want to go back?”


Entries are now open for Nitro Up North – the biggest adventure in Australian drag racing!

Teams from around the country have already expressed their strong interest in travelling to Darwin to be a part of this amazing event and now the list will begin to build.

We’ve heard about convoys leaving from all parts of the country, keen to see the unique part of the world that is the Northern Territory.

As a part of the event entry process, we will be gathering some statistics for the Northern Territory Government about the impact this rocking event has on the Top End.

So don’t delay, get your entry in and make sure to spread the word to all your friends that Nitro Up North is the place to be on July 21 and 22.



The news Northern Territory motorsport fans have been waiting for has been confirmed with Nitro Up North ready to strike on July 21 and 22 at Hidden Valley Drag Strip in Darwin.
Nitro fuelled dragsters will once again shake the ground with six cars due to head north for the first time including Rapisarda Autosport International, Lamattina Top Fuel Racing and Sheehan Racing.
They will be joined by Top Doorslammers, Top Alcohol Funny Cars and Dragsters and hundreds of racers in the Summit Sportsman Series for awesome championship drag racing.
Drag racing teams from around the country are already planning their adventures to the Top End with convoys being organised across every state.
Proudly sponsored by the Northern Territory Government and Motorsports NT, Nitro Up North will attract thousands of spectators to Hidden Valley Drag Strip to witness the awe-inspiring spectacle of nitro drag racing.
Nitro Up North organiser Scott MacLean said hopes were high for another tremendous event, building on last year’s record crowds.
“This event is world class and planning is already well advanced to make sure the 2017 show is just as high quality,” he said.
“We’ve got the best drag racers from all around Australia in coming to Darwin. They see it as an opportunity not just to do some racing but also to see the country and the spectacular landscapes that the Northern Territory is known for.
“Travelling to Nitro Up North isn’t just another drag racing event – it’s an adventure.”
Minister for Sport, the Hon Lauren Moss MLA said the Northern Territory Government was delighted that Nitro Up North was on once again.
“We are very happy to be supporting this wonderful motor sport event organised and run by the Hidden Valley Drag Racing Association,” she said.
“If the previous events are anything to go by then this year’s Nitro Up North is going to be absolutely awesome and I look forward to seeing some terrific racing from the fastest cars on the planet. Last year saw the third fastest speed in the world, in history, set at Hidden Valley at over 500kph – it says something about the quality of our drag strip and everyone should get out to see world class racing at our own venue.”
Entries are now open for racers at and accommodation is filling up fast around the city, so why not check out our partners at Palms City Resort, Quest Berrimah Serviced Apartments, Leprechaun Resort, The Cavenagh or HiWay Inn? Go to for some great discount codes.
Hidden Valley Drag Strip looks forward to having everyone back at Nitro Up North this year so stay tuned for all the major news in the lead up.