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Outlaws versus Wild Bunch

“The biggest meeting we’ve ever had.”

That’s what Masterton Motorplex manager Bob Wilton is billing this weekend’s ‘March Mayhem’, which pits the crowd-pleasing Outlaw 71 and Wild Bunch classes against each other in a series of match races over the two days.

“We’ve got 40 of the Outlaws and Wild Bunch for the team’s racing and challenge, and there’s been plenty of banter on our website.

“It’s no biggy, but it adds a bit of fun,” Wilton said.

“Most of the cars run in the six-second to the high seven-second range, and it’s straight head-to-head.”

The teams can also include a Group One car as a wild card, with Masterton’s newly crowned two-time national champion Dwane Garrett expected to run his Chevy Camaro.

“He’s just come back from Auckland, where he won the points round for New Zealand for Doorslammers. That’s the points from the two codes, the NZDRA and the IHRA, and it shows that consistency and determination pay off in the end.”

Previous attempts to hold the ‘March Mayhem’ were affected by covid-19, and just getting the meeting off the ground is an achievement for Wilton, who reckons it’s a good way to conclude the season.

“This is our first shot at this ‘Mayhem’ because it has been cancelled in the past. Meremere in Auckland had their finals last weekend, and we had the 55th nationals a few weeks before that, and now we’re having our main finish meeting. I’m billing this as the biggest meeting we’ve ever had.”

The ‘Mayhem format’ is the brainchild of veteran Auckland drag racer Ryan Sheldon, who Wilton knows well, having competed against him in the Wild Bunch in his racing days.

“He [Sheldon] came to us three or maybe four years ago and said he wanted to put something together like the Wild Bunch, and we said go for it, and we’ll accommodate you, and we did it in January with our ‘Dragstalgia’ because that fits in with both classes.

“Now he’s come up with this idea, and he’s doing it for the love of the sport.”

Sheldon could also race at the meeting in his Mercedes, although he hit the wall at Meremere, and Wilton is uncertain if the car will be ready to race at Masterton.

Among those confirmed to burn up the quarter-mile strip are Wild Bunch captain and drag racing legend Tony Marsh in his Ford Nova. The Outlaw 71s  will be led by John ‘JD’ Shepherd in his VW Biohazard Bug.

Wilton expects up to 180 cars and bikes for the season finale. Racing will fire up at 10 am Saturday and 9 am 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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