Motorsport: Summer set for hot action
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January brings raft of motorsport
Christmas Day delivers the calm before a storm of summer holiday Kiwi motorsport action.
Most motorsport disciplines have major events scheduled through the Christmas-New Year break and into the second weekend of January.
Motorsport in New Zealand has two long-established Boxing Day traditions.
There is the annual Wanganui motorcycle street race on the Cemetery Circuit — first staged in 1951 — which in the modern era is the finale to the three-round Suzuki Series, which has run at Hampton Downs and Manfeild over the last two weekends.
So far, the 2015 series has been notable for the track record-smashing run by the British F1 Sidecar duo of Tim Reeves and Mark Wilkes.
In the F1 Superbikes category, the series lead is shared by Liechtenstein’s Horst Saiger (Kawasaki) and Wellington’s Sloan Frost (Suzuki).
The other traditional Boxing Day fixture is racing at Auckland’s Western Springs Speedway.
December 26 is the opening round of the United Truck Parts International Midget Car Series featuring top USA, Australian and Kiwi drivers.
The series then continues December 28, January 1 and wraps up January 3 with the World 50-lap Classic.
The major holiday motocross event is the Honda Summercross double header at the BOP Motorcycle Club’s Awakaponga MX track near Matata.
Summercross has a 44-year history and features Mini MX, Junior MX and Export 65cc race on Sunday, December 27, while the Senior MX1 (450cc), MX2 (250cc) and Youth MX (15-21 years) classes along with veteran and womens racing is on Monday, December 28.
There are three drag racing events over the holiday season.
Quarter-mile competition will return to Taupo Thunder Dragway (at the Bruce McLaren Motorsport Park) after being absent from the venue last summer for the NZ Drag Racing Association Summer Nationals on December 27-28.
On January 2-3, the Masterton Motorplex hosts the Dragstalgia nostalgia drag racing event including a front-engine dragster challenge.
Saturday, January 9 sees the ground shaking at an event that has only been staged on two previous occasions but has rapidly has become Kiwi drag racing’s biggest attraction.
The Rock FM Nitro Shootout at Meremere Dragway will again match up the Marsh Motorsport and Fish Family Racing Top Fuel dragsters.
With Anthony Marsh breaking into the 4secs bracket at the January 2015 event and then clocking a 300mph run in March, the next benchmark for the nitromethane burners is a metric one — the race to a 500km/h top-end speed. There are five Speedway New Zealand 2015-16 national titles set to be decided during the holiday fortnight.
Drag racing returns to Taupo after a one year hiatus with the NZDRA Summer Nationals on December 27-28.Photograph/Colin Smith.
First up is the New Zealand Minisprint Championship at Palmerston North on December 27, while Western Springs hosts the NZ Three-quarter Midget Car title as part of its December 28 international meeting.
Te Marua Speedway near Upper Hutt hosts the New Zealand Modified Champs as a two-night January 3-4 contest, while a single-night format is set for NZ Sprint Car Championship at Baypark Speedway on January 6.
Kawasaki racer Horst Saiger (Liechtenstein) shares the lead in the F1 Superbike class with Wellington's Sloan Frost heading into the Boxing Day finale of the Suzuki Series at Wanganui.Photograph/Colin Smith.
And the heavy metal is being tuned-up for the NZ Super Stock Championship to be raced at Taranaki’s Stratford Speedway on January 8-9. The sport of Drifting has its big summer holiday event set for January 8-9 with round two of the Demon Energy D1NZ national series at Mt Maunganui’s Baypark stadium. The opening round of the NZ Superbike Championship — with New Zealand Grand Prix titles also up for grabs — will be raced at Ruapuna Park near Christchurch on January 9-10.
The January circuit racing gets under way over the January 9-10 weekend with events at both Taupo and Timaru. The Tasman Revival meeting at Taupo offers up a mix of classic/historic categories along with championship rounds for Formula First and North Island Pro Sevens while Timaru’s Levels Raceway is hosting the opening round of the NZ Super Truck Championship along with the OSCA Super Saloons and the NZ Super Six Championship.