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National drag championships get green light

The 55th New Zealand dragster nationals have the green light for this weekend at the Masterton Motorplex, although numbers are likely to be down because of the impact of Cyclone Gabrielle.

Masterton Motorplex manager Bob Wilton expects 130-140 cars for the two days of racing, down from the usual 150-plus.

He said the South Island racers have had their Cook Strait ferry crossings rescheduled, and most of the cars from Auckland can get to the venue; however, the Hawke’s Bay drivers are unlikely to attend.

Despite the heavy rain earlier in the week, Wilton said yesterday the track was in excellent condition, but the start of racing tomorrow could be delayed to finish preparations, meaning a likely lunchtime start.

“We’ve just got a brand new machine from Australia that scrapes the excess rubber off. When it gets too much of a build-up, it starts to lift, so we scraped all that only a week ago, and now we’ve got to start putting it back down. Otherwise, you’ve got a smooth concrete surface with no traction and if you can’t leave the startline at full noise, it’s a waste of time.”

Up to 15 group one cars, which include the top doorslammers and top alcohol classes capable of times in the five and six-second brackets, and speeds exceeding 200mph, are expected to be one of the highlights of the meeting.

Aucklander Mark Vincent and New Zealand’s fastest woman Tamara Silk [Paraparaumu], are expected to be among the frontrunners in the top alcohol class.

Kiwi drag racing legend Tony Marsh in his newly developed 1971 Ford Maverick, Featherston’s Gavin Greene in his ‘Angry Bird’ 1968 Pontiac Firebird, and Masterton’s Dwane Garrett in his Chev Camaro will be ones to look out for in the doorslammers.

Wilton also anticipates good entries in the competition, supercharged outlaws, modified, super street, motorcycle, and junior dragster categories.

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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