Tringali’s tuned up Transtar

“It is the fastest International in Australia and we’ve got it crackin’!” 

A bold statement perhaps but it would be difficult to argue the point with Frank Tringali as he sits in the pit complex at the Winton Motor Raceway next to his International Transtar race truck. 

Along with his son Anthony, the Tringali Racing team is one of the participants in the Australian Supertruck Nationals which was holding the second round of the 2022 Championship at the rural Victorian circuit.

During the week Frank runs eight trucks on local work around Melbourne but come race weekend it is a different matter with the Silver-92 Detroit powered Transtar taking to the track all in the name of fun, with the purchase of the truck some year back ticking one of Frank’s life goals.

Hold her flat! The Tringali Transtar powers out of turn one on the Winton short track.

“My life’s ambition was to buy an 8-92 manual race truck and I bought it,” recalled Frank.

“Anthony came along at the right age, I said do you want to have a shot and now I can’t get back into it because I can’t get him out of it!”

After building it up from a highway unit into a race truck when Frank purchased it from Don Hodge, the team has since done a considerable amount of work to the engine and most recently the driveline, with the manual gearbox being swapped out in favour of an auto.

“It had a blown motor when we got it, so we took it to Victorian Diesel Services, and Marcus (Prillwitz, a fellow SuperTruck competitor) rebuilt the motor for nothing,” Frank continued.

“We have done a lot of work to it since then including putting disc brakes on the front end, fitting parabolic springs, and putting a Watts Link suspension in the rear. We have been playing around with the injectors, we put our original injectors back in it and it is just screaming its head off.” 

Frank reckons the estimated output from the Detroit is somewhere north of 1000hp and needless to say the Transtar generates a healthy note out the exhaust pipes when on the track. 

The installation this year of the auto box has also brought its challenges for both Frank and Anthony in both driving and pulling up the Transtar.

“It’s a learning curve for Anthony with the auto in as it’s completely different to the manual. I was coming down the back straight yesterday and because we shifted the pedals over, I got them mixed up and it was quite intimidating,” recalled Frank with a smile.

With its purple and blue paintwork and distinctive ‘92’ race number on the doors the Transtar also carries signage for the Isabella and Marcus Foundation,  which raises money and awareness of Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma (DIPG-brain cancer) in children.

“It is a cause very close to our hearts. Anthony had a brain tumour when he was 5 and a half, so we are really passionate about brain cancer research in children.

“We will do truck shows and so forth to raise as much money as we can to pass on to the charity as it’s a really good cause.”

The International will soon have a stablemate with a Kenworth T909 currently being built from the ground up into a race unit.  

Needless to say, it will also be sporting the Detroit badge when it takes to the race circuits in 2023 if all goes to plan, said Frank.

“The Kenworth will be purpose-built for racing. There will be no road-truck stuff on it. It will have a Series 60. I would like to put another 8-92 in it, but the Series 60 is more reliable, and you can tweak them a bit better. 

“Anthony will take it on as our ‘serious’ race truck and I will keep this on for our ‘fun’ truck. The Inter was a steal, I bought it for $6000. We were contemplating selling it because we are building up the new one and had a couple of bites,  but we are going to keep it. I just love the sound of that motor!”

Anthony Tringali heads the swarming pack from a rolling race start.

With the Tringali outfit taking to the track all in the name of having a good time, Frank’s instructions to Anthony in terms of race strategy are pretty simple: [We have a] “Hold her flat race strategy. Just make sure it sounds great when it goes past! I told him want to see smoke coming off those tyres at the end of the race!”

The relaxed nature of the racing and the camaraderie and co-operation amongst the competitors is quite a contrast to other forms of motorsport such as Supercars and Formula One, and Frank wouldn’t have it any other way. 

“This is a sport like no other. Everyone will help each other out to make sure they get the job done. Everyone here in the series is great and if you’re in trouble it’s just a matter of asking and someone will help you out.”

For the Tringalis, trucks are both their business and their hobby, and Frank reckons both he and Anthony will be pounding around the racetracks as part of the Australian Supertruck Series for a few more years yet. 

“We love it. We have our motorhome, and we sleep at the track – we have a ball. Some people like horses, some people like fishing or golf – we love trucks! 

“I never keep any receipts: I don’t want to know, and I don’t care. For all the money we spend on the truck we might get a $50 trophy, but we are here for the fun.

“If it stops being fun, we will stop – but I can’t see that happening yet!”

• The Australian Supertruck Nationals return to Winton for round 3 of the Championship on September 17-18. For further information on DIPG or to donate to the Isabella and Marcus Foundation, click here.  

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