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Motorplex gears up for furious climax

It will be petrolhead heaven today and tomorrow as the National Drag Racing Championships come to a fast and furious end at the Masterton Motorplex.

While the undoubted highlight will be the ground-shaking appearance of Michael Franklin’s nitro-powered funny car in six runs down the international drag strip, there will be plenty of interest in the races for championship glory from the group one cars down to the junior dragsters.

Top of the list is the fight for championship honours in the top doorslammers between Masterton’s Steve Carlsen in his 1965 Ford up against Aucklander Nigel Dixon, also in a Ford. Dixon, with 384 points, has an 84-point advantage over Carlsen coming into the weekend.

The closest battle, though, could be in the top alcohol class, where Aucklander Mark Vincent holds a narrow seven-point lead over New Zealand’s fastest woman over the quarter-mile, Tamara Silk from Kāpiti.

An intriguing entry and possible party pooper in the top alcohols could be Bryan Norman, who left his front-engined dragster, which is capable of 200mph plus speeds, in Masterton after last year’s final and has yet to race it this season.

“There are quite a few other top cars coming because it’s their last shot at running on a Group A track because they can only race here and Auckland [Meremere],” Masterton Motorplex general manager Bob Wilton said.

“Everybody recognises this is the final, so let’s give it a good bash.”

Wilton anticipates a big entry of more than 180 cars and motorbikes from all over the country for the finale.

Racing gets underway at 10am today and 9am tomorrow.

And a reminder: Franklin’s nostalgic 1957 Chev funny car, which has a best time of 5.71 seconds at 260.7mph, will make three runs each day over the slick Motorplex quarter-mile at 11am, 1pm and 3pm.

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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