Australia’s most successful drag racer, Jim Read was probably close to the truth when he called his book The Jim Reed Story – The good, the bad and the ugly.
That’s probably how drag racing was seen back in its evolving days in Australia but Jim, wanted to widen its appeal. “We banned grog at the meetings, so we got bigger, more family oriented crowds. Not just blokes but their wives and children” he said.
Starting in the sport 51 years ago, Jim was Australia’s first driver to better 7 seconds over the quarter mile, then six and then five. He was the first Australian to better 300 miles per hour – nearly 500km/h at the end of the quarter mile, which is about 150km/h faster than any track racer will achieve in Australia. He competed briefly in the US but worked hard with the NSW government for six years to get the drag racing facility at Eastern Creek, more accurately described as Western Sydney International Dragway.
Jim won 17 National Championships, 16 Australian Championships and ten Winternationals, along with NSW Championships, Grand Finals, USA versus Australia and Australia versus New Zealand Match races.
In 1982 the Winternationals at Pomona in California Jim became the first Australian to become a Top Fuel ‘Top Qualifier’ at a US National Hot Rod Association event.