Easter weekend offers a feast of motorsport action around New Zealand.
Events as diverse as gravity-defying 4x4 Trials action and a tyre-smoking showcase of the rich history of Kiwi drag racing are among the holiday weekend treats for motorsport enthusiasts.
Easter Saturday will see the decider for the 2014-15 New Zealand 4x4 Trials Championship which kicked off in November at Waihi Beach.
The final of the six round national series is being hosted by the Thames Valley 4WD Club at a Maxwell Rd, Maramarua venue starting at 9am.
With four wins in the previous five rounds Wanganui driver Hamish Auret with his 7.0-litre Corvette-engined Class D Supermodified machine has established himself as the top driver in the sport this season.
Strong fields of up to 60 vehicles — with the majority in the Super Modified categories — have been the norm at the National 4x4 events this season. The Meremere Dragway is busy over Easter weekend with the NZ Hot Rod Magazine Club Champs for street-legal hot rods on Saturday and the popular Nostalgia Drags meet on Sunday.
Established as one of the highlights of the drag racing season, the Bay Rodders’ promoted Nostalgia Drags will feature a big field of front-engine dragsters providing eliminator competition and the appearance of the legendary Rat Trap Top Fuel Altered of Kentucky’s Ron Hope.
Hope is expected to match race against the Kiwi nitro nostalgia cars of Te Puke’s Dave Gauld in his Nitemare ‘34 Ford Altered and the Nitro Flashback ‘76 Chev Vega funny car of Invercargill racer Karl Boniface.
The holiday weekend circuit racing is provided by the traditional Easter meeting at Taupo Motor Sport Park including the final rounds of the North Island-based race series for 2014-15.
A busy programme includes the GTNZ, GT1 and GT2 classes, the final round of the Formula First Championship and a support programme of SS2000, NZ Six, Super Mini Challenge, Porsche Club, Pre-65, NZ Sports Racing, and Classic race categories.
Kartsport New Zealand makes use of the long weekend for its national sprint championships over three days of racing at Palmerston North.
Ten class titles will be contested at the Manawatu Toyota Raceway with about 180 drivers in action. Qualifying is on Friday and five classes will race on Saturday and Sunday.
With the 2015 rally season about to get into gear a rallysprint being run by Motorsport Bay of Plenty near Paengaroa on Easter Sunday should see a strong turnout of competitors. The 7.6km gravel loop is in the Pinnacles Forest, a venue used as part of the Rotorua International Rally about 10 years ago.
Easter’s biggest speedway meeting is at Rotorua’s Paradise Valley Raceway with strong fields of Super Stocks, Stock Cars and Modifieds on the Saturday-Sunday double header programme.
National championship competition on two wheels has a South Island focus with the fourth and fifth rounds of the New Zealand Enduro Champs during the long weekend.
Peraki Station on the Bank’s Peninsula provides the terrain to challenge the top enduro riders on Saturday and the Mosgiel District Motorcycle Club runs the fifth round on Easter Monday.
Also providing South Island competition is the first regional round of the NZ Off Road Racing Champs for South Island teams at Twizel.
The Otago Off Road Racing Club hosts the event close-by Lake Ruataniwha with short course racing on Saturday and a 250km enduro on Easter Sunday.