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Gassers bring fun to national championships

The big guns are ready to fire for the first round of the National Drag Racing Championships at the Masterton Motorplex tomorrow and Sunday.

Adding to the weekend’s entertainment will be a rare appearance of the vintage Gasser cars, a class based on closed-body production models from the 1930s to mid-1960s that are stripped of extraneous weight and jacked up to provide better weight distribution on acceleration.

Masterton Motorplex manager Bob Wilton reckons the class that was formed in 2018 and first raced at the Motorplex in 2019 provide an entertaining spectacle.

“They’re not that fast, but they do wheelstands, burnouts and big bunny hops and put on a display for the public,” Wilton said.

“It’s a class from America, and it’s been revived here, and we have about 16 cars coming. It’s a growing trend to put on something for the public, but we had to jump through a few hoops with the national body to get them here, and we’re putting up a couple of trophies.”

New Zealand drag racing legend Tony Marsh will head what is likely to be a strong field of group one cars, lining up his 1971 Ford Maverick in the Top Doorslammer class.

Marsh normally runs the car in the Wild Bunch class, but because that is not a class recognised by the national body, the veteran is stepping up to the doorslammers.

Wilton reckons Marsh will be fired up for the meeting and has a point to prove after a parachute failure saw the light blue Ford end up in the sandpit last season. Bronson Dunne from Mt Maunganui, in his Holden Monaro, is expected to provide stiff competition.

Wilton is uncertain if defending Top Doorslammer national champion Masterton’s Dwane Garrett will line up, as he is believed to be selling his Chev Camaro, while he said another top-performing local from recent seasons, Gavin Greene from Featherston, is taking a break from the sport.

Wilton expects a big entry of more than 150 cars and motorbikes across all the classes, with more than 80 competitors pre-entered

The action gets underway at 10am tomorrow and 9am Sunday.

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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