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PRE ENTRY IS NOW OPEN:-
Taupo - 48th NZ Nationals 19th & 20th March 2016 entries now open
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No weather problems at Taupo as summer turned up the heat and the atmosphere was superb with lots of gleaming cars, happy faces, sunblock and summer attire. Plus lots of nice American classic cars on the spectator bank park area, no fewer than three Lincoln Continentals, two coupes plus Sedan.
Out on the track a major oil-down held up proceedings for a good while and the sun kept beating down. With four competitors in Top Alcohol we were in for some great action but tyre bounce as the track surface changed towards the end of the strip was causing the pit crews to regularly bolt stuff back down as the drivers and the big engines tried to deal with the chassis vibrations. Dwane Garrett, Wayne Curry, Shane Lodge and John Neilan all had the same conditions to deal with. The best pass from Shane was a 6.009 ET with 232.37mph with a reaction time of 0.222. He was in the final elimination with John Neilan but had transmission problems and couldn’t get off the line, while John was on the button with a reaction time of just 0.009 and an ET of 6.242sec.
An impressive field of 23 Super Sedan Entries saw plenty of interesting vehicles doing their burnout to get that sticky grip for their charge off the line. It’s tight at the top on championship points as Tony Witinitara and Steve Carlsen are tied for first equal on 120 points with Stephen McKay in 3rd on 100 points, while in Super Street five drivers are spread between 153 and 203 points. The Junior Dragster field had no fewer than sixteen entries with current champion Nathan Hartley in his ‘Funny Car’ out in front on 146 points closely followed by Cory Silk on 132 points with Casey Cawthra in third. The next event is the ‘Southern Nationals’ at Motueka on Saturday Feb 6th with most NZDRA classes in action that day.
The weather in Masterton was swelteringly hot on the Saturday once the early morning cloud burnt off. Once the track warmed up and the wind played ball some impressive times were recorded from Top Alcohol down to Junior Dragster.
A NZ record was set in modified bike when Kawasaki rider Anton Foley broke the NZDRA NZ standing ¼ mile ET record for Modified Bikes in the AA/MB class at Masterton on Sunday December 5th. He set a new time of 9.225 on the 1989 ‘Ian Taylor Kawasaki Special’. The ‘Ian Taylor Special’ is based on a 1977 KZ1000 engine with a Mk2 welded crank, JE Pistons, J Head with 2m oversize exhaust valves, Cosworth grind on cams specific for an SC14 Toyota supercharger with twin 1 ¾ SU carburettors running on methanol. At a test and tune day at Masterton, Anton ran a 9.50 sec time on his second run on the bike. The ‘Central Nationals’ were just Anton’s third day on this race machine and he set a new NZDRA NZ record at 9.225 sec. The record is for class AA/MB which is for over 900cc supercharged/turbocharged/nitrous engines. The next round of the NZDRA Championships are the ‘Summer Nationals’ at Taupo on Dec 27-28th where more records could tumble.
Other notable performances saw local Dwane Garrett ‘Torquing Heads’ in Top Alcohol ran a 6.36366 ET with a speed of 190.76 mph, while in Top Doorslammer Mark Thomas ‘PPG Holden’ ran a 6.67118 ET at 172.44 mph while in the Upper Hutt Glass sponsored Supercharged Outlaws Mark Gapp in his ‘Pro Parts Overkill’ ’41 Willys coupe hit a 7.76182 ET and 168.83 mph. Sadly rain cancelled the Finals day much to the disappointment of the 132 entrants.
The first event in the NZDRA Championship was held in late November at the Amisfield airfield at Tokoroa. Heavy rain on Saturday 28th meant the ‘Super Street’ Nationals were postponed till the Sunday 29th. Due to the sodden grounds it took a bit of time to get everything set up, but once underway the action was exciting with great times recorded. Dean Hinton while finishing fourth in qualifying to secure 5 points, plus his 100 for taking the final and 20 points for starting the meeting, leads ‘Super Street’ heading into the ‘Central Nationals’ on 125 points, from Steve Amrein on 103 points with Dean Hastie of Taupo on 84 points in third place.
Robert Cochrane Promoter (left) signs the deal with John Gourdie NZDRA Chairman
John Gourdie NZDRA Chairman (left) welcomes Robert Cochrane Promoter to the NZDRA team
NZDRA NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP SERIES ROARS INTO LIFE NOVEMBER 28th
Thousands of horsepower are set to rock New Zealand when the NZDRA National series roars into life at Tokoroa on Saturday November 28th with the ‘Super Street Nationals’. The New Zealand Drag Racing Association has been sanctioning the National Championship event as the FIA approved governing body for the sport since 1993. NZDRA evolved from part of the NZ Hot Rod Association and the ‘NZ Nationals’ have now run for forty-seven years. This year the NZDRA host a five-round series that includes the opening round at Tokoroa, two events at Taupo, plus Masterton and Nelson.
After Tokoroa the series heads to Masterton for the ‘Central Nationals’ on December 5th & 6th and just after Christmas racers arrive in Taupo for the ‘Summer Nationals’ on December 27th & 28th. Taupo has always been a popular venue with race crews and families with its great holiday environment and this year the race-track just got better. The Tokoroa meeting is at the Amisfield Airport runway at Tokoroa while the Taupo Nationals are run on the purpose built facility at the Taupo Motorsport Park.
In 2016 the Nationals head down to the Motueka Airfield on Saturday 6th February for the ‘Southern Nationals’, a key meeting run by the Nelson Drag Racing Association. Originally formed in 1993 to foster drag-racing in the ‘Top of the South’ region, the club initially ran events on closed-off public roads before investing significant funds in widening and lengthening the airstrip at Motueka in 1998. The grand finale for the season is the 48th ‘New Zealand Nationals’ at Taupo, the most prestigious event on the New Zealand drag racing calendar.
In total there are thirteen National Championship Class titles up for grabs with most champions returning to the series this year to defend their titles. Last season Graham Christison took out the Supercharged Outlaws title with his scratch-built car for the second time and had been runner-up twice and he had also taken a third placing since his return to the sport in 2009. In the ‘70s he raced a car called ‘Jumping Jack Flash’ and in the 80s ‘Zig Zag’. His current racer runs a 350 Chevy small-block cast-iron engine with Dart heads, fuel-injection, a Mallory mag with Powerglide. He describes the car as ‘a basic car but it’s consistent; has a 214-inch wheelbase with a rear-mounted engine putting out 830-odd horsepower. “Last year my best time was a low 7.3 sec run at 182mph. I scored the highest points of all competitors in the NZDRA Series and overall had a pretty good season last year. My team are really looking forward to Masterton on Dec 5-6th.”
Last season a surprise car turned up in the Super Street class, a yellow Datsun 1200 powered by two electric motors! The builder and racer, Tom Short a mechanic from Taupo, admitted he didn’t know how it would go on the strip. ‘When I turned up at the beginning of last season some of the other competitors showed a bit of resistance towards me but I soon earned the respect of the big boys as the season rolled on, taking my first National championship title in my first season as a drag competitor. I am a pit-crewman for a SsangYong Ute racer, have circuit-raced Nissan Skylines before and I built a top drift-car but this was my first foray into drags. At my first meet last year it ran 14.3 all day long. It runs direct-drive, a Godzilla driveshaft and Hilux diff. It’s a strange sensation getting off the line as it takes off in top gear! My two motors are capable of 300hp each but it’s all governed by a controller that allows 300kw or 400hp. I have just fitted a new battery-pack and have got the weight down to 800kg, so am looking forward to seeing how it goes this year.’
The New Zealand Drag Racing Association board recently announced the appointment of a professional promotion firm, Legends Events & Media Ltd, to raise the profile of the sport and facilitate sponsorship and promotion. Legends Media principal Robert Cochrane has worked in motorsport promotion over the past twenty years including long-track, speedway, classic and historic motorcycle road racing, classic and modern moto-trials, scrambles and vintage motocross, drifters and truck-racing, Pre ’65 and muscle-cars. Robert is confident his team can bring new energy and a fresh pair of eyes to the sport of drag-racing going forward, especially with the 2015/16 NZDRA series and in conjunction with the NZDRA Board extending through to the 2018/19 Season.
NATIONAL SERIES DATES
Super Street Nationals. Tokoroa.
Super Street points only
28th November 2015 29th Rain Date.
Central Nationals. Masterton.
5 & 6th December 2015
Summer Nationals. Taupo
27 & 28th December 2015
Southern Nationals. Motueka
Groups 2,3 n 4
6th February 2016 7th Rain Date.
48th New Zealand Nationals. Taupo
19 & 20th March 2016
2015-2016 Race dates for the season, Please check for updates, changes could occur without warning.
|23rd August||Mid Winter Street||Teretonga||Track meet|
|27th September||Blossom Festival||Alexandra||Funday|
|31st October||Sportsman Meeting||Oamaru||Opening meet|
|7th November||4 n Rotary Meeting||Nelson||Opening meet|
|7-8 th November||MMP Opening Meeting||Masterton||Test n Tune|
|22nd November||Sportsman Meeting||Teretonga||
|28th November||Super Street Nationals||Tokoroa||NZDRA National Series|
|5 -6 th December||Central Nationals||Masterton||NZDRA National Series|
|27-28th December||Summer Nationals||Taupo||NZDRA National Series|
|2-3rd January||Nostalgia-Comp Meet||Masterton|
|9th January||Muscle car -Hotrod Drags||Nelson|
|6th February||Southern Nationals||Nelson||NZDRA National Series|
||Rain date if required
|7th February||Sportsman Meeting||Teretonga||Track meet|
|27th February||Shady Showdown Flag Drop||Tokoroa||Track meet|
|12th March||Sportsman Meeting||Teretonga||Track meet|
|13th March||Sportsman Meeting||Oamaru||Track meet
||48th NZ Nationals||Taupo
||National Series Finals|
|26th March||Nth Is Vs Sth Is||Nelson||Keith Whiting Memorial|
|27th March||Rain date if required||Nelson|
|10th April||Sportsman Meeting||Teretonga||Track Meeting|