Kiwi racing teams deliver nitro-fuelled thrills at Sydney Dragway
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Four Bay of Plenty drag racing teams provided part of the international flavour at the inaugural World Fuel Altered Challenge raced at Sydney Dragway on Saturday.
Te Puke’s Dave Gauld in his Nitemare nitro-burning ‘34 Ford Coupe altered was invited to be part of a 10-car Fuel Altered challenge that included four US teams and five Australian cars delivering short wheelbase nitro-fuelled thrills.
The US contingent showcased quarter-mile heritage with a quartet of the world’s most evocative altereds — Rat Trap, Pure Hell, High Heaven and the Bradford’s Fiat Topolino.
"It was certainly a highlight of my drag racing career to be part of an event like this," said Gauld.
"With 10 cars it was the biggest gathering of fuel altereds anywhere outside of America."
The Fuel Altereds completed two rounds of racing before the event was rained out. Gauld lined up against Australia’s Agro and Berzerk.
"We ran a 7.2secs pass and then a 7.6secs which was slower because we fried the transmission, Gauld said.
"The altereds put on a great show and Bradford’s Topolino ran a 6.07s which is very impressive in a car like that."
Tauranga’s Craig Mullan (Studebaker Lark) and Dave Best (1930 Ford Model A Coupe) along with Whakatane’s GT Norris (Kaiser-Frazer Henry J) raced in the Gasser category — an old school class featuring wheel-standing cars with ‘‘nose-up’’ raised bodies and straight front axles.
The Gassers completed qualifying and two rounds of competition before the rain arrived.
"We got some good runs in and GT ran a personal best — his first-ever nine-second pass — straight out of the container," said Mullan.
"And the best thing is all three have gone back in the container and are coming home without any damage.
"There were 34 Gassers there on Saturday and that’s the biggest field they’ve ever had over there.
"We matched up against similar cars to put on a show and there were lots of dry hooks and big wheel stands. It was great racing."
Mullan said plans are taking shape to bring some of the Australian cars to New Zealand tracks as the category grows here following the inaugural NZ Vintage Gasser Series last summer.
"We had 16 cars at Tokoroa last year and 12 at the Nostalgia Drags. There are at least six new quality cars being built around the country for this season and the goal is get some of the Australians back over here at some stage next year."
The four confirmed rounds for NZ Vintage Gasser Wars competition this summer are at Masterton’s Dragstalgia event (January 4), the Motueka airport (Feb 1), Tokoroa’s Amisfield ‘strip (March 14) and the annual Nostalgia Drags at Meremere (April 4).
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