April Fuels Day at Meremere
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April 1 could be renamed April Fuels Day, with an international line-up of nitro-burning racers set to light up the quarter-mile at Meremere Dragway on Saturday.
The annual Bay Rodders' Nostalgia Drags feature a tribute to the supercharged, nitromethane-burning "Fuel Altereds" that were a 1970s drag racing sensation with their supercharged horsepower and short-wheelbase unpredictability.
The go-ahead Tauranga-based hot rod club has put together the Aeroflow World Fuel Altered Challenge, bringing US and Australian teams to race against New Zealand's best cars.
It's a field of six unique nitro machines with the return of US racing veteran Ron Hope driving his Rat Trap altered that made a rain-shortened appearance at the 2015 Nostalgia Drags.
Rat Trap has raced since 1969 and is one of the most travelled drag cars, having been raced in the US, UK, Canada and New Zealand, and it has appeared at the Goodwood Festival of Speed.
Australian drag racing stalwart Graeme Cowin is bringing three cars to the Trans America Shipping-sponsored event. They will be piloted by drivers from the Aeroflow Outlaw Nitro Funny Car Series that Cowin runs in Australia.
Kiwi funny car racer Morice McMillan gets the chance to race Cowin's Spooky, a newly completed Fiat Topolino bodied altered with Hemi-power while Rick Gauci will race Berzerk and Justin Walsh will line-up in Cowin's legendary Psycho altered.
Te Puke's Dave Gauld has run a number of events this summer in his Nitemare '34 Ford Coupe with big block Chevrolet power to prepare for the Nostalgia meet and the other Kiwi interest is provided by the restoration of Pete Lodge's Hombre.
The most famous of New Zealand's quarter-mile altereds when it raced in Amco Jeans livery, Hombre remained the NZ class record holder for 38 years until Gauld ran quicker two years ago. Hombre will be driven this weekend by Shane Lodge.
The World Fuel Altered Challenge is the latest Nostalgia Drags headline event and follows up a focus on 60s and 70s era front-engine dragsters and also nitro funny cars in recent years.
Other established Nostalgia Drags competitions includes a front-engine dragster challenge and classes for Pre-49 Hot Rods, Pre-72 American, four-cylinder Four-bangers, Classic Gassers, Competition Cars and a Flat Head Challenge for side-valve Ford V8s.
The event continues to be paired with the NZ Hot Rod Magazine Hot Rod Club Champs but has a change of format . The Nostalgia racing is on Saturday and the inter-club street cars racing on Sunday, starting at 9am.