Nitro-burning dragsters smash records at Meremere
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Hamilton driver Nigel Dixon clinched his biggest drag racing win and reset the national elapsed time (ET) record for the Top Doorslammer class on the final pass of Sunday’s NZ Nationals at Meremere Dragway.
The Auckland Harley Davidson NZ Nationals was also the penultimate round of the national points series and Dixon headed the Doorslammer field with a stout 6.154secs/242.52mph qualifying pass on Saturday — the highest top speed ever posted by a "door" car on a New Zealand track.
A national record has to be backed-up with another run within 1 per cent at the same event and Dixon clicked of the requisite 6.181s effort in Sunday’s Doorslammer final against Auckland’s Barry Plumpton.
With a seven-car field, top qualifier Dixon had a bye in round one and raced another solo when the Pontiac Grand-Am of Rex Duckett (Otaki) had starter motor issues. That run looked strong but the timing system didn’t record any data for Dixon.
In the final Plumpton’s nitrous boosted `68 Camaro rolled through the timing beams to prompt a red light. Dixon raced through in 6.181s/225.4mph to clinch the title.
"He [Plumpton] handed it to me and I took it," said Dixon.
This summer the Kruzin Kustoms team has worked on improving consistency with the supercharged Hemi powered BA Falcon.
"We had got to the point where we could regularly run 6.30s but pushing through that was a challenge," said Dixon.
‘‘Bronson [crew chief Bronson Dunne] has done an exceptional job. He’s mixed and matched advice from three or four different people and about three meetings back it started to come together.
"The 242mph on Saturday showed we were getting there. What we’re doing shouldn’t really work but I’m very happy that it is.
"The crew had to work hard today. We had the gearbox out of the car and completely rebuilt it after it didn’t shift into second gear on the first run."
There was a dramatic Top Alcohol final between dragster rivals Chris Johnston (Buckland) and Anthony Marsh (Auckland).
Johnston held the performance edge with his 5.359s/268.0mph semi-final run — not only a new personal best but also believed to be the quickest and fastest quarter-mile pass by a supercharged alcohol car in Australasia.
Marsh’s injected nitro A/Fuel dragster was close behind with a 5.468s/274.1mph semi-final effort.
At half-track in the final Johnston’s hopes were over with his right front wheel tucked at an unusual angle and his car moving right to scatter the timing blocks (an automatic disqualification).
Marsh had to pedal briefly and clocked 6.081s, crossing the finish line to win at 243.3mph — where his problems began and his car was heavily damaged when he crashed off the top end of the `strip.
"I missed getting on the ‘chute lever and went a long way off the end of the track into a paddock. It rolled over and I ended up in the gorse bushes and cow crap," said Marsh.
"The car is probably a write-off but the cockpit, the seat and the belts have all done their job," said Marsh.
After a recent string of low-6secs passes, Kapiti Coast racer Tamara Silk powered her way into the 5secs club — the second Kiwi female racer to do so. Her new PB is 5.939s and earlier in the day she had clocked a 236mph top speed.
Palmerston North’s Mark Gapp won the Supercharged Outlaws title in his `41 Willys over Te Awamutu’s Bobby Owens in his Ford T-Bucket. The Competition title went to Ian West-Stevens (Tuakau) in his always consistent Fontana four-cylinder rear-engine dragster over points leader Adrian Rivers (Whanganui).
Top Street series leader Scott Tolhurst (Christchurch) defeated his nearest points rival Roger Binnema (Balclutha) in the semi-finals and raced on in his turbocharged Toyota Soarer to beat the Mazda RX-2 of Craig Davies (New Plymouth) in the final.
The dragsters and altereds in the Modified class produced a close final with Te Puke’s Ben McLeod in his Lexus V8 powered dragster taking a narrow win over the big block T-altered of Jason Dolores.
With 32 qualifiers, Super Sedan was a five-round contest with Lee Sherwin (Pukekohe) showing his mastery of precision dial-you-own (DYO) racing to steer his 8.2-litre Ford Escort to the final where he beat the unique Lexus V8 powered Commer van of Tim Hawke.
Suzuki Hayabusa rider Cole Scammell made the trip from Dunedin to beat Ohaupo’s Alan Thoresen (Kawasaki) in the Modified Bike final and Harley Davidson Destroyers lined up for a heads-up Comp Bike Final with Ray Pratt defeating Karl Fyn.
When the 21-strong Junior Dragster field had raced through five rounds of elimination Emma Bingley was crowned champion and another five-round contest decided Super Street with Taumarunui’s Karl Flintoff in his ‘69 Valiant beating the XC Ford Falcon of New Plymouth’s Marc and Liam Shotter.