The early season quarter-mile performance leap from the Alsop brothers ’41 Willys Coupe altered turned into a record-breaking effort at the IHRA Spring Nationals at Meremere.
Having blasted into the 6.4-second range with a 213mph top speed at the season opening competition meet on November 1, the Christchurch team raced deeper into the 6s bracket with an impressive sequence of 6.3s runs.
Johnny Alsop delivered 6.38s and 6.36s qualifying runs and blazed past the big-block twin-turbo roadster of rival Karen Hay (Tauranga) in the first round, with a 6.354s run at 217.7mph.
In the Competition Eliminator final against the four-cylinder rear engine dragster of Phil Hirst (Auckland) the Willys veered left and crossed the centreline. Hirst had already red-lighted at the start but gained the victory as his offence was the lesser of the two rule violations.
Most of the performance gain for Nigel and Johnny Alsop’s 400 cubic-inch small block Chev powered altered has come from the installation of a new PSI supercharger.
Johnny Alsop said the biggest difference driving the car is the power keeps delivering the full length of the quarter-mile.
The 6.354s timeslip is believed to the best run ever by a small-block Chev powered car in Kiwi drag racing. Notably, it’s also quicker than the three-year-old Top Doorslammer record of 6.413s set by Ross Taylor.
Top Alcohol racing produced several 5s passes and was won by Aucklander Anthony Marsh (above) in the Mount Shop A/Fuel dragster after a 5.46s/271mph first-up qualifying run, a tyre-smoking second effort and then a first-round elimination win over Wellington’s Bert King.
Pukekohe’s Chris Johnston beat Whangaparaoa’s Shane Lodge in the other first-round match-up and in the final, Marsh clicked off a 5.503s/261mph to clinch the Spring Nationals title, while Johnston shut off just beyond half track.
Another early-season performance highlight came from the Curran Brothers Racing/Castrol Edge Mazda RX2 (below).
Brent Curran (Matamata) punched in a early 6.979s run in qualifying.
But the real potential of the team’s latest quad rotor/four turbo set-up was revealed by a 6mph gain in its best previous top-end speed, when Curran raced through the finish line at 209.9mph on a later run.
After breaking a 37-year-old New Zealand record for a Top Fuel Altered last season, Te Puke’s Dave Gauld delivered a performance leap of almost half-a-second on Sunday.
A 6.993s/190mph run in his ’34 Ford five-window coupe bodied Altered, beating his January effort of 7.565s.
A run to back-up the effort and officially re-set the record spun the tyres from the start.
The next major event at Meremere Dragway is the third annual Nitro Shootout, set for January 9.