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Close, fast racing thrills big crowd

Masterton Motorplex general manager Bob Wilton was over the moon with the turnout of competitors and spectators for last weekend’s National Drag Racing Finals at the Masterton Motorplex.

The biggest field of the season, comprising 203 cars and motorbikes and the biggest crowd of the summer, turned out for the two-day meeting.

No doubt many spectators were drawn to the dragstrip to see and feel the force of Michael Franklin’s ‘Nitro Hoon’ 1957 Chev nostalgia funny car – the first nitro-powered funny car to run at the Motorplex. They weren’t disappointed when he turned in a blistering 5.76 seconds at 240.69 in his final run down the slick quarter mile.

However, the weekend wasn’t all plain sailing for organisers with overnight rain putting a dampener on Saturday morning racing. Wilton said it took volunteers several hours of hard work to clear the track of pools of water, resulting in a delayed start.

Once the action did get the green light at midday, there was some exciting close racing across all the classes.

There was none more impressive than Carterton’s Jordan Robertson in the ‘Dirty Deeds’ dragster winning the Top Alcohol class with the fastest time of the weekend [apart from Franklin] of 5.854 seconds at 232.53mph.

The fastest speed of the meeting [other than Franklin], 235.01mph, went to Nigel Dixon in winning his semifinal in the Top Doorslammers in his Ford Falcon. Jeff Dobson took the runners-up spot in the crowd-pleasing class.

Regular visitor Dylan DeBoo in the Mayhem Racing 55 Chev won the Supercharged Outlaw from Vanessa Lilly in the Rib Rattler 23T Altered.

The Competition class was won by Stu Minchington in the Anthill Mob Altered, with Reuban Beaumont second in the Sinister FE Dragster, while honours in the Top Street went to Doron Anderson in a 1968 Plymouth Barracuda from Alan Marshall in his 1966 XR Falcon.

Paul McLeod won the Modifieds in his Exterminator racing Dragster ahead of the Little Mouse Fiat Altered of Gerry Rose.

The Super Sedans were taken out by Blair Cole in a 2011 Dodge Challenger, with Mark Shotter in a 1966 Mk1 Cortina runner-up, and the Super Streets went to Harry Tam in a 2012 Dodge Challenger from Peter Fink in a 1969 Dodge Dart.

The Junior Dragsters were won by Shavauan Harvey with Brooklyn Headley second.

On two wheels, Ian Hilder was first in the Competition class from Mark James; Dave Derby won the Modified Bikes ahead of Alan Thorosen; and the Screaming Eagles went to Rawiri Lawson, with Brett Bowman the runner-up.

Another to impress was former motocross star, Masterton’s Johnny Burkhart, who has turned to four wheels and trying to master his recently acquired funny car. Burkhart passed his top doorslammer license with a 6.8-second run at 174mph followed by 7.1 and 7.0 seconds at 201mph, hinting at a good future ahead over the quarter-mile.

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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