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Dragstalgia drags in big crowd

“What a meeting!”

That was the reaction of Masterton Motorplex manager Bob Wilton to the record crowds that turned out for the Dragstalgia meeting on January 3-4.

The meeting was also popular with drivers, attracting more than 180, with some travelling from as far as Whangarei and Invercargill for the popular two-day meeting for nostalgic drag cars and wild bunch cars.

But it was the public turnout that thrilled Wilton, who said it was the biggest crowd in the eight years of racing on the new Motorplex dragstrip.

“We got way into the second car park, so I was pretty happy, and I’m glad we got all the grass out of it; we’d cut it for hay only a few days earlier,” Wilton said.

“I don’t like to put a figure on it, but there were a few thousand.”

Although the meeting was primarily for the nostalgia hot rods, muscle cars, super sedans, competition cars, front-end dragsters [FED], and vintage gas dragsters, two locals – Gavin Green from Featherston and Masterton’s Dwane Garrett – turned on the fireworks in their top doorslammers.

“It was not their meeting, but they asked if they could come along because they wanted some seat time because Gavin is heading to Auckland this weekend for the ‘Wellington Invasion’.”

The pair didn’t disappoint, with Green setting the lowest time of 6.215 seconds with the fastest speed of 236.18mph in his Pontiac Firebird. Garrett wasn’t far off that pace, with a best time of 6.559 seconds and his fastest speed of 217.16mph.

There was also local success for Masterton’s Blair Cole, who took out the Dragstalgia Super Sedan class in his 2011 Dodge Challenger in 9.539 seconds at 133.90mph.

Other winners in the feature Dragstalgia classes were Geoff Dell from Christchurch in the Hot Rods in his 1923 Model T Ford, Te Horo’s Jordan Simmonds in the Muscle Cars in his 1972 Mazda 1300, Christchurch’s Angus McKay in the Vintage Gas, Ross Brown from Whangarei in the FED challenge, Hawera’s Ross Whelan in the Prom Comp, Tony Richardson from Gore in Top Comp, Rhys Harrison from Stokes Valley in Super Comp, and Palmerston North’s Jeff Jones in the Super Streets.

The Motorplex’s next meeting on February 18-19 is also expected to be a bumper, with the big guns from around the country converging on the venue for the 55th New Zealand Nationals.

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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