Drag racing: Karen Hay powers into five-second club
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With the summer racing season gaining momentum at Meremere Dragway on Sunday, the first significant quarter-mile record to be lowered saw Bay of Plenty racer Karen Hay power into the 5secs zone.
Already New Zealand’s quickest female racer by a clear margin with a 6.340secs record set in 2017 driving her family-run twin turbo Ford T Roadster, Hay’s chance to break into the “fives” came from an offer to pilot Russell Christoffersen’s RC Motorsport twin turbo Chev rear-engine dragster.
Hay made some shakedown runs in the car last month and accelerated into the low-6secs range during Saturday’s Test and Tune day at Meremere before uncorking a 5.993secs/242.32mph effort.
The Top Doorslammer benchmark is 6.182secs by Barry Plumpton in his 15.7-litre nitrous-boosted 68 Camaro.
Attempts to lower the record further on Sunday were frustrated by a faulty turbo sensor that caused the engine to overboost as the car left the startline. With that rectified, the team made another run that appeared to be an improvement but the timing system malfunctioned.
Hay was determined to run deeper into the fives and track officials left the timing gear and safety crew in place for a late final run.
“I didn’t want to leave the track till we’d gone even quicker. I was determined not to be a one-hit wonder,” Hay said.
The last pass, late on Sunday afternoon, tripped the timing beams at 5.991secs and slightly slower through the finish line speed trap at 239.70mph.
“Russell gave me a great opportunity. I’m so happy to achieve our goal and repay the faith he had in me. It’s a big thing to put someone else in your car,” Hay said.
“It’s a cool car to drive. When you watch the dragsters, you think they run nice and straight but you really have to drive it to keep it in the groove. There were a few different things to get used to. The parachute button was on the other side and the transbrake was also on the opposite side to our car.
“I think I was lucky to get the opportunity to drive a turbo rail because I have so much experience in our turbo car.”
Nigel Dixon blasted his BF Falcon Top Doorslammer to an impressive 6.281secs/233.2mph test run.
Christoffersen will be back behind the wheel of the turbo dragster for the January 12 Meremere meet while Hay returns to the Evil II Roadster that has had updates over the winter.
The weekend’s other notable performances included Anthony Marsh’s drive of the Marsh Motorsport A-Fuel (Nitro-injected) dragster at 5.411secs and 273.66mph on a Sunday exhibition run while the first serious shots were fired in the Top Doorslammer performance race with Nigel Dixon (Hamilton) and Barry Plumpton (Auckland) powering deep into the 6secs bracket.
Dixon impressed with a 6.281secs/233.2mph run in his BF Ford Falcon, confirming the car had been experiencing from a down-on-power magneto last summer.
Plumpton continued to concentrate on fine-tuning the 60-foot and half-track increments with his 959 cubic-inch (15.7-litre) nitrous-injected ’68 Camaro and then went under his IHRA Top Doorslammer national record with a 6.182secs/211.5mph Sunday run. Two more passes looking for further gains were thwarted by tyre shake.
Grant Briffault's front-engine dragster bounces through the braking area with tangled parachutes.
Sunday’s Top Comp eliminations came down to a duel between the front-engine blown alcohol dragster of Hamilton’s Grant Briffault and Aucklander Steve Milliken in his big block Topolino altered.
They selected identical dial-ins to make it a heads-up final with Briffault making his best run of the day at 7.223secs/184.5mph to edge Milliken’s 7.434secs/180mph effort.
The season continues with the NZDRA Super Street Nationals at Tokoroa’s Amisfield drag strip on December 1. The opening round of the new Kiwi Thunder Series for Top Alcohol and Top Doorslammer categories is at Meremere Dragway on January 12.