For many, day two of the V 4&Rotary Nationals is the highlight of their weekend. The noise, action, madness, and mayhem all contribute to that perch-your-buttocks-at-the-edge-of-your-plastic-bench-seat feeling; A similar feeling I suspect to an American attending a ball game. 

Never before have I seen so many iconic New Zealand import drag racing cars make a comeback. I did hear recently that trends repeat themselves, and as the import scene is said to be tapering off slowly, and less import cars being built for the gruelling discipline, it makes sense that cars built in the ‘golden era’ are being brought out of their sheds, ready to kill the less-modified, modern competition.

It was great to see Andrew Browning debut his rebuilt ex-Ronnie Lim Honda Integra DC2 drag car. Andrew ran into a few issues at the start of the day, but once those were ironed out his times started dropping considerably. The first pass was a 15.548 at 88mph (141.6kph) due to a 6400rpm rev limit. The second time, the rev limit was increased to 8500rpm, which meant VTEC could engage — and he logged a 14.770 at 99.27mph (159.8kph). Andrew really sussed it on the third run. He gave it plenty more revs at the line and managed a full second quicker, with a 13.770 at 98.27mph (158.1kph). The plan is to go turbo at some stage, with a low boost set-up to start, then turn the wick up once Andrew is familiar with driving a boosted Honda drag car.

Adam Wilson has converted the Redline Performance Mitsubishi VR4 back into a drag vehicle after being out of action for several years. According to the team, the VR4 has competed successfully in various hill-climb events around the North Island.

The set-up for this event was completely identical to the hill-climb package, but with more power — a staggering 740kW (992hp) at the wheels. The purpose of the day was testing, so Adam went easy on the VR4 and he ran in the 12s. When he did decide to give it some more jandal, the transfer case decided it didn’t feel like competing any more.

Jeremy Hewson, piloting his newly built nine-second 13B turbo Toyota Starlet, battled through to the finals against Cory Abbott’s six-second FD RX-7 despite the two cars’ PBs being over two seconds apart.

The Abbott brothers had struggled for traction on previous runs, and the final was no different — he crossed the centre line and handed Jeremy Hewson the win, crowning him Pro Import champion.

Sport Mod was as intense as Pro Import, with Ben Moorcock, Jason Horn, Ben Cox, Shane Herbert, Paul Dowdall, and Adam Wilson all fighting it out to make it to Australia.

With nobody left to race, Cox was already in the finals, which left Dowdall and Moorcock to battle it out for the chance at the Aussie trip. Dowdall won with a 9.144-second pass at 164.23mph (264.3kph), allowing him to progress into the finals. But the race didn’t go his way, as he launched too early, red lighting and instantly handing the win to Ben Cox despite being quicker, at 8.545 compared to Cox’s 9.118.

It’s safe to say Ben Cox is over the moon with the win, and he’ll head over to Australia to represent the Kiwis in the Sport Mod class in his SR20VET-powered Datsun 1200. Congratulations, Ben.

Jason Horn has recently made the switch to a much larger Turbonetics turbo, Spark Tech ignition and a Link ECU in his RWD Lancer, and he was struggling to get off the line as the much larger Turbonetics turbo wasn’t able to build sufficient boost pressure to launch in the correct manner. According to Jason, the 35hp shot of nitrous currently used will need to be swapped to a 60hp shot to get the big single turbo spinning.

Robbie Ward and the RIPS Racing team are still coming to grips with the new methanol engine set-up in MGAWOT III, with 60-foot times not where Robbie would like and the soaring track temperatures also playing havoc with the available grip. So although times were off his PB, a win in Exhibition Outlaws made the trip worth it. 


C1 Turbo four-wheel drive: David Duncan, 1992 Nissan Skyline GT-R, 11.723 at 122.68mph (197.4kph)

C2 Turbo two-wheel drive: Troy Pitman, 1987 Holden Calais, 11.069 at 125.53mph

C3 All motor/Rotary N/A: Jarrod Morris, 1994 Honda Civic, 14.250 at 96.82mph (155.8kph)

C4 Quick V8s: Gavin Anderson, Z28, 11.515 at 122.89mph

C5 Motorbikes: Derek Crocker, Kawasaki ZX12R, 10.739 at 126.32mph

C6 Dial Your Own:  Dave Wigg, 2002 Holden Commodore ute, 13.151 at 110.39mph

C7 Rotary Turbo: Andre Antonievich, RX4 coupé, 11.685 at 121.17mph

C8 King Of The Street: Craig Dyson, Mazda R100, 10.252 at 116.57mph

Exhibition Outlaws: Robbie Ward, Nissan Skyline, 7.868 at 180.60mph

Exhibition Street Cars: Doron Anderson, Barracuda fastback, 9.946 at 137.29mph (220.9kph)

Pro Import: Jeremy Hewson, Toyota Starlet, 9.889 at 140.27mph

Sport Mods: Ben Cox, Datsun 1200, 9.118 at 126.87mph

René Vermeer

Dutch, French, or just a Kiwi, René isn’t quite sure, but he does know he has a passion for Japanese vehicles like no other. A well-seasoned Gran Turismo player dating back to his single-digit days, René has a comprehensive knowledge of a wide range of performance vehicles and has owned more than 30 performance cars here in New Zealand, ranging from Nissans to Hondas. A lover of photography, you’ll find him either peeping under someone’s bonnet to snap a detailed shot, or on the side of the racetrack, perfecting his panning.