What’s not to love about Nitro? We have a few brave, perhaps some would call them stupid, souls who are now starting to get to grips with the explosive stuff after a few seasons of ‘tinkering’ with mixed results. And remembering back to the first meet at Masterton Motorplex (MMP) for 2015, we saw exactly that.

Nitro does a few things well, it makes the internal combustion engine bloody angry, but if you get things wrong, it can destroy engines bloody quickly too! Most importantly though for Bob Wilton and the crew of volunteers at MMP, nitro also gets bums on seats. Then all you had to do was throw a bit of Steve Zahorodny’s jet Funny Car and Simon Fowke’s hard-charging ’57 into the mix and that first meeting had the potential to explode!

Adding to the spectacle was a healthy collection of ‘others’ to ensure the minor fields were full. The focus of the meeting was on the ever-increasing nostalgia wave that is consuming us at the moment. As a result FEDs, Altereds, and T-Buckets dominated the entrants, along with a healthy compliment of comp cars and a smattering of tough street cars thrown in for good measure to try out the well-rubbered and sticky Masterton surface. There really was something there for everyone!

Long and tireless hours of work had been put in by the MMP crew to get the track ready over the days leading up to the January 3–4 event; the hard work they had done paid off for the racers and as a result drivers were licking their lips as they first laid eyes on the shiny black surface.

Arran Brattle in the recently imported Angry Azz FED dramatically slashed his times with each pass over the weekend, eventually running an 8.03 on his final run. Dean Scott, in his big green Holden ute, also took a big bite off his previous quickest ET and ran an 8.44; not bad for a big old hunk of Aussie tin!

Numerous PBs were set during that weekend as the surface just got better and better, providing the drivers and tuners the freedom to lean on things a bit more in their quest for speed!

After two days of great racing, scorching hot sunshine, and many pairs of nitromethane-induced bleeding eyeballs, there was hardly a person leaving that didn’t have a grin from ear to ear that only nitro can bring.

Shane Wishnowsky

My first experience of the V8 engine was not a good one. Picture a white-haired young boy bawling his eyes out when an un-muffled sprintcar was fired up. My Dad, who had been car mad all his life, thought I was broken and he’d produced a dud! He persevered though and a few years later took me to Thunder Park; it was here that I fell in love with the V8 engine and I was hooked! Since then I have been a regular on both sides of the fence at drag strips in the North Island, both as a spectator and a crew member. Never in my wildest dreams did I think that 40 years down the track I would end up photographing and writing about them, not that I’m complaining!