History was celebrated at 200 miles per hour on Easter Sunday at the annual Nostalgia Drags meeting at Meremere Dragway.Tauranga’s Bay Rodders Inc. brought three Australian teams to its popular nostalgia meet but it was South Islanders who took away the major honours.
Top Alcohol front engine dragster (FED) match race honours went to Alexandra’s Bryan Norman who claimed a 2-1 victory over Australian racer Peter Duffy.And in the Nitro Nostalgia challenge Invercargill funny car racer Karl Boniface was a 3-0 winner over the Fuel Altered of Te Puke’s Dave Gauld.
For Norman it’s the second time in three months that the long haul from Central Otago has been rewarded with Meremere success.After spending four years constructing his latest front-engine dragster — which runs a blown Chrysler Hemi engine which previously powered the rear engine Top Alcohol dragster of Southlander John Neilan — he won the Top Alcohol honours at the January Nitro Shoot-out event.
Pre-49 class contenders Kevin Wright (near lane) in his 1931 Model A Ford and Geoff Sadler with his 1932 Ford leave the starting lights on a qualifying run. Picture/Colin Smith.
First time out the car had run very low 7-second passes and on Sunday afternoon it made another performance step. With the match race title already decided in Norman’s favour the third round produced was just eighth pass the car has completed and although it produced a red-light loss the 6.846secs/198.9mph time slip is its best yet.Norman says the car has been engineered to run very low 6secs passes.
It gets another outing at Masterton’s end-of-season meeting on April 9-10.
Nostalgia Drags regular Boniface made a low 7secs pass first up on Sunday when Gauld grazed the left hand concrete wall while the second run for the Castrol Edge ‘74 Chevrolet Vega was a strong 6.902secs/204.9mph effort.
This qualifying match-up between Kendall Smith in the `Green Go' dragster and Cameron Paterson (far lane) also turned out to the Blown FED final pairing with Paterson taking the honours. Picture/Colin Smith.
Boniface ran a solo 7.040secs/201.3mph third run after Gauld had steering issues following his burnout.Young Putaruru racer Cameron Paterson had twice finished runner-up in the front-engine dragster eliminator at the Nostalgia Drags and made it third-time-lucky racing to victory in the Pete Dore Memorial Trophy event against the Fiat-bodied Green Go dragster of Kendall Smith (Palmerston North).
Bryan Norman brought this new supercharged front-engine dragster from Alexandra and raced into the 6secs bracket. Picture/Colin Smith.
This year’s event saw a record 18 front-engine dragster entries with competition split into naturally aspirated and blown categories.The small block SVO Ford powered ‘67 rail of Levin’s Ross Windley took the normally aspirated honours over the wheel-standing small block Chev rail of Australian racer Darren Otto.
The quickest and fastest run of the weekend was posted by Rotorua’s Lyndsay Hay who took over the driving duties of the Hay Family Evil II ‘27 Ford roadster which had recently set a national record for a turbocharged BB/Altered with his daughter Karen at the wheel.
Euan Mark lines up with Marcus Page for the T Bucket Extreme Challenge. Picture/Colin Smith.
Hay’s target was his first 200mph run and after making a couple of early runs in the 170mph range he blasted through the two-ton barrier with a 6.835secs/209.2mph run.
Palmerston North's Kendall Smith takes a rough ride in the braking area in his Fiat-bodied dragster. Picture/Colin Smith
The Penske Commercial Vehicles Nostalgia Drags were run as a double-header with Saturday’s NZ Hot Rod Magazine Club Champs – an annual hot rod inter-club challenge for street legal cars. The Easter weekend racing saw 237 entries in action.