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Fast ‘n furious at Motorplex

Masterton’s Dwyane Garrett had several five-second passes. PHOTOS/JADE CVETKOV

Auckland Invasion a hit
The Group One category was hotly contested on the weekend with Auckland’s Anthony Marsh and Chris Johnston battling for the top honour at Masterton Motorplex.


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The status of the Masterton Motorplex as arguably New Zealand’s best drag strip was enhanced with a bumper entry of Group One cars for the national championships meeting over the weekend.

Masterton Motorplex president Bob Wilton was delighted with the line-up of 18 cars in the Group One class that can only race at Masterton and Meremere, south of Auckland, and the drivers didn’t disappoint.

Anthony Marsh won Group One from fellow-Aucklander Chris Johnston.

Marsh was aiming to break 280mph but “struggled to get miles per hour,” Wilton said.

“His best run was about 271mph, but he virtually equalled his best time and CJ [Johnston] was very close to his personal best on any track,” Wilton said.

Anthony Marsh hit a top speed of 273mph to win Group One.

Marsh’s best time was 5.347 seconds for the quarter mile, and Johnston clocked 5.477 seconds at 259.41mph.

Of the Wairarapa drivers, Dwyane Garrett ran some five-second passes in his Torqueing Heads dragster, but Featherston’s Gavin Green didn’t have a good meeting in his supercharged Pontiac Firebird.

“Gavin was struggling all weekend with tyre pressure problems and hit the wall during one of the pre-race burnouts — that was the end of his meeting,” Wilton said.

Another Wairarapa driver to impress was Nick Reiri in a Mitsubishi Evo 7 which has a turbo-charged 1300cc rotary engine built by his father Danny, who used to do the track maintenance at meetings.

Now based in Australia, Reiri had a best time of 7.3sec hitting a speed of 183mph for the quarter mile.

Gary Plumpton from Auckland went on to dominate the Door Slammer class in his nitrous-powered 1968 Chev Camaro with a best time of 6.9sec at 190.12mph.

The meeting attracted 185 cars and motorcycles over the classes, and Wilton said the crowd was down a bit on the January 4-5 meeting.

“There’s been a lot happening in drag racing circles and people have been going to other meetings, and with the return of the ‘Wild Bunch’ cars in January, we were always going to get a big crowd for that meeting,”
he said.

Wilton was confident though that the next meeting on March 21-22 would attract a big crowd because of the presence of some super-quick Australians.

“We’ve got eight funny cars, all nitro-powered coming, and they run about 260mph,” he said.

“There will also be a wheelstander, driven by a woman [23-year-old Chelsea Leahy].

“The car goes down the track on its back wheels at speeds faster than 100mph and the driver looks through a hole in the floor. It also puts on a flame show.”


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