Meet the first family of drag racing in Murray Bridge

Dave Foster has been learning to drag race – a task made easier when your partner races and her dad has competed nationally.

This story was originally published behind Murray Bridge News’ paywall. Paywalled stories are unlocked four weeks after publication. Can’t wait that long? Subscribe here.

Nothing’s more exciting for Dave Foster than petrol, rubber and high speed.

But even he got a bit nervy when he slid into the seat of a drag racer for the first time.

“People think it’s just going in a straight line, but there’s a hell of a lot to know,” he said.

“Everything happens pretty quick.

“My (‘57 Chevy) will do a seven-and-a-half-second quarter-mile at about 305 kilometres an hour, but there’s a bit to do in those seven seconds.”

You couldn’t blame him for getting a bit edgy.

But it’s a lot easier when your partner has been doing it for 20 years.

It’s easier still when your father-in-law has done it his whole life, and raced against – and beaten – the best in the business.

Bob Sherry raced an NEC-branded top fueler in the 1990s, and has enjoyed a long career in super sedans and other drag classes.

Racing was all he had wanted to do since he was eight years old, he said, when he first saw a drag racer in the pages of a hot rod magazine.

By the age of 14, in 1964, he was working on race cars at Gawler Belt for free, just to get some experience.

Four years after that was his nervous first run at Brooksfield Dragway, then a brand-new facility out at Two Wells.

“After (your first race) you feel like you’re on top of the world,” he said.

“You just want to win, you don’t worry about anything else.”

Fast forward another 20 years and there he was in a top fueler, one of the fastest race cars in Australia, with his daughter Lisa in his crew.

Before much longer she was racing, too, in a VN Commodore.

“It’s highly addictive,” Lisa Sherry said.

“When you go fast once, you want to do it again and again.

“It’s not that you’re nervous, because you know you’re capable, but when you’re strapped in they can’t hear you, you have limited vision ... (and) if you make one mistake in drag racing, you lose.

“Mistakes can be really costly.”

The best drivers were always calm and knew what they were doing.

That was true of Foster, she said: a newcomer to the drag strip, but someone who started racing motocross bikes as soon as he could afford one.

“I wasn’t really a ball sports type of guy,” Foster said of his teenaged years.

“If it didn’t have an engine, I wasn’t interested.”

An injury eventually forced him off the bike and into go-kart racing; then, a few years later, he gave it away to focus on his auto repair business.

Now that he was back in the saddle, though, Lisa described him as a natural.

“We’re expecting great things,” she said.

“It’s a great car, a great tune, and he can really drive it.”