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Wairarapa racers up to speed

A record crowd and close racing at the drags wrapped up a successful two weeks for Wairarapa motorsport competitors and fans.

Although rain on Saturday delayed the start of racing at the Masterton Motorplex, that didn’t dampen the spirits of spectators, and they turned out in droves for a full day’s racing on Sunday.

Motorplex manager Bob Wilton was reluctant to put a figure on the crowd, saying, “Just going on the number of cars in the two car parks, because we don’t often go into the second car park, it was definitely a record crowd. I don’t do a ticket number count, but it was a few thousand.”

On the quarter-mile strip, local racers tasted success, with Carterton’s Jordan Robertson racing to the fastest time of the meeting, a 6.261 second run at 216.19mph in his ‘Dirty Deeds’ rear engine dragster, while Blair Cole from Masterton took the top spot on the podium in the Dragstalgia Super Sedan class, with a dial-in time of 9.91 seconds at 137.35mph.

Other Dragstalgia winners were Warren van den Ende from Napier in the Hot Rod class in his 1947 Chev Thiftmaster, Levin’s Alan Smith in the Muscle Car class in a 1967 HR Holden, Danny Ashkettle from Paraparaumu in the Pro Comp in the ‘Sweet Jane’ 1967 Chev Camaro, and Cory Silk, also from Paraparaumu, in the Top Competition class in his rear engine dragster.

Regular visitor Dylan DeBoo from Blenheim took the Wild Bunch honours in his 1955 Chev Belair with a dial-in time of 7.853 seconds at 168.88mph, Kyle Percival from Bulls won the Super Street class, Lower Hutt’s Shayne Iti was first in the Modified Bikes, Darryl Benson from Hastings won the Competition Bike, and Carlos Harvey from Auckland won the Junior Dragster class.

More than 150 cars, including 30 Wild Bunch cars, faced the starter while several other drivers also completed their racing license passes.

The next meeting is the Mayhem – Wild Bunch vs Outlaw 71s challenge on February 10–11.

Carterton’s Mark Smith raced his BMW to the Classic Sidecar title at the Boxing Day Cemetery Circuit races in Whanganui, teaming with young Isaac Taylor from Masterton, who had never been on the machine until the event.

Although Isaac Taylor swings on the modern sidecars, the classics are a bit more of a workout, but he proved he could handle it when they held off a strong challenge from Bruce Roberts on another BMW to win race one by 1.385 seconds. The second race was another close battle, but this time Roberts and Kendal Dunlop took the chequered flag ahead of Smith and Isaac Taylor.

Five-time national sidecar champion Spike Taylor and Dunlop had two third-place finishes in the Formula One Sidecars at Whanganui, while Michael Wolland and Isaac Taylor were fourth in race two.

Spike Taylor and Dunlop resumed their national championship challenge at Ruapuna, Christchurch, last weekend, finishing runners-up to championship leaders Barry Smith and Stu Dawe in all three races. Wolland and Isaac Taylor took two third placings and a fifth at Ruapuna.

Round two of the National Jetsprint Championships at Whanganui on December 27 was a mixed bag for Wairarapa’s jetsprinters.

Defending Group B champions Sam Gray and Mike Allen were second, and Hamish Clarke and Vanessa Phillips took their first podium finish with a third placing in only their second competitive outing in the boat.

There wasn’t such good news for Bryce and Kylie Baron in Group A. The pair clipped an island and ended up upside down in the water. The rescue team was straight there, but Bryce got out and quickly pulled Kylie out of the water.

Despite the mishap, the Barons remain second in the championship race.

Although a spectacular exit from racing, the crash of the day went to Reuden Hoeksema and Jacob Wood in their superboat, which launched through the timing loop and ended up in the catch fence. World number one and defending champions Sam Newdick and Shama Putaranui were quickest over the day, easily winning the final by more than three seconds.

The next round is at Wānaka on Saturday, January 20.

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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