Dixon and the big bad 360 km/h Falcon take on Meremere
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Big challenges ahead for Hamiltonian and his big boisterous Ford Falcon doorslammer
For Hamilton drag racer Nigel Dixon, the straight line is a 360km/h learning curve.
Earlier this summer, Dixon debuted a new BF Ford Falcon in the sport's Top Doorslammer category and with just a handful of quarter-mile passes he's already knocking on the door of New Zealand record pace.
On debut at Masterton Motorplex during December's rain-shortened Central Nationals, Dixon set a new track record at 6.44s/225.28mph and in January at Meremere a 6.42s/199.14mph effort, with the car slowing just before the finish, underlined the Falcon's potential.
The current IHRA national ET "door car" record of 6.413s was set by Pukekohe's Ross Taylor in 2012, and the other half of the national record belongs to Aucklander Wayne Yearbury at 229.51mph (set in 2014).
This Saturday at Meremere Dragway, Dixon and his Kruzin' Kustoms team are looking to make further progress with the Falcon.
Dixon imported the Falcon as a rolling chassis from Australia and spent last winter pairing it with a methanol-fuelled 3500- horsepower supercharged Hemi V8 engine he'd bought earlier.
Both the car and the engine have previously run 5sec passes in Australia and that's Dixon's performance target for Kiwi tracks.
"My goal is to run a five, whether we are the first [Doorslammer] to do it or not. That might happen soon, or it could be next season," says Dixon.
Stepping up to those performance levels is all in the detail. "You have to get the tune, chassis set-up and the clutch settings just right.You can have everything spot on but if the track isn't right you will just smoke the tyres.
"I'm learning every time I sit in the car and more performance will come with more seat time.
"We have a young team who are learning as well and even though I've been racing for 20 years, I haven't raced a Hemi before and my previous car was about 1500-horsepower."
Along with his personal goals Dixon hopes the new car will bring attention to drag racing and in particular lift the level of competition in the Top Doorslammer class.
"There are some really good cars in New Zealand but a lot of them are sitting in sheds. I'm keen to see them out running again," he said.
The new Gubb racing twin dragster; Athol Williams will bring his nitro-burning 1550cc machine to Meremere. Photo / Colin Smith
Meremere Dragway is expecting a turnout of six or seven cars to contest a Top Doorslammer Shoot Out on Saturday. The meeting -- which is round four of the 2016-17 Competition Series -- will also feature Top Alcohol cars and the Competition, Motorcycle, Pro Nostalgia and Super Street categories.
Top Fuel motorcycle racer Athol Williams will bring his nitro-burning 1550cc machine to the Meremere Dragway this weekend. Photo / Colin Smith
Other planned attractions include an appearance by the fearsome Top Fuel motorcycle of Pokeno's Athol Williams -- looking to further improve on a March 2016 run at 6.258s/237.30mph -- and Te Puke's Dave Gauld will campaign his crowd pleasing 34 Ford Coupe nitro altered.
Saturday's drag meet will have qualifying from 11am with eliminations running into the early evening.