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Bumper finish to drag season

Close racing highlighted ‘March Mayhem’, which wrapped up the season at Masterton Motorplex dragstrip on Saturday and Sunday.

Heavy rain over Friday night threatened to derail the meeting, billed as a shootout between the popular Wild Bunch and Outlaw 71 cars.

But after a delayed start to racing to about 1pm Saturday, one round was completed that afternoon, with another three rounds and semifinals and finals on Sunday.

The Wild Bunch cars took the honours over the Outlaw 71s in a tightly fought contest. The highlight of the meeting, though, was a stunning race between New Zealand drag racing legend Tony Marsh in his 1971 Ford Maverick and newly crowned national Doorslammer champion, Masterton’s Dwane Garrett, in his Torquing Heads Chev Camaro.

Motorplex manager Bob Wilton said the drivers were side by side from start to finish, with the spectators unable to determine the winner. At the end of the quarter-mile, Garrett took bragging rights in the fastest time of the meeting at 6.295 seconds at 221.80mph, with Marsh narrowly behind in 6.395 seconds at 215.83mph.

For the first time, trophies were presented to the top points scorers in the popular Super Sedan and Super Street classes, which attract the biggest entries for all meetings.

Lower Hutt drivers took out both awards, Damon Grant winning the Super Streets in his 1983 Ford Cortina and Shane Cunningham claiming the Super Sedans in his 1983 Toyota Starlet.

Alison Boaler from Hastings and Anton Foley from Palmerston North shared the Steve Green Memorial Trophy in memory of the late Steve Green, a popular drag racing photographer turned motorcycle drag racer. The trophy is awarded each year for the top motorbike drag racer over the season.

Wilton was over the moon with how the meeting went, given the delayed start to racing.

“We had a very good turnout Sunday, and we had a full car park, so I was pretty happy about that. We had 181 cars, so I was pretty much on the button when I said 180,” Wilton said.

Competition racing will rev up again in November. Before then, there will be the fun Dads’ Drags on Father’s Day.

Chris Cogdale
Chris Cogdale
Chris “Coggie” Cogdale has extensive knowledge of sport in Wairarapa having covered it for more than 30 years, including radio for 28 years. He has been the sports guru at the Wairarapa Times-Age since 2019.

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