On the Sunday (October 25) of the long weekend that was Labour Weekend 2015 just about the whole country got out there to do what they love — and for drag racers of the South Island, that meant drag racing! The Pegasus Drag Racing Club hold their South Island Champs at Ruapuna Drag Strip, and this time around saw the strip crawling with tough machinery. With the level of preparation put into the track surface over the week leading up to the event, things were looking good for a great day of racing.   

With cars travelling from Riverton in the deep south, and others from Auckland in the north, there was a great mix of cars ready to lay down some rubber. For many, this was their first meet of the season after the September event had to be cancelled to due the weather. And even though there was a lack of competition cars present, the Super Sedan field sure made up for that. A number of cars are running new set-ups this season, with a mixed bag of results witnessed on Sunday. 

Having run in bare metal last season, Murray Dawson has given his front-engined dragster (FED) a new coat of paint for this season. Dawson went on to take the win in the Modified class, running 9.741 at 141.78mph on a 9.20 dial-in. 

Daniel Southall hit the track in his 1969 Camaro, running a whole new combo this season. Previously running a nitrous-equipped 406ci small block, the engine is now fitted with a Procharger, and the rear has new mini-tubs. Southall was hoping to better his PB of 9.77 seconds, but only got in a half pass before an electrical problem shut him down. This will be one car to watch once the gremlins are sorted. 

Robert Shearing is the owner of this 1967 Camaro, also known as ‘AGRO8’. Having travelled up from Riverton, he was forced to shut down early with mechanical issues. The car is powered by the old engine from Shearing's brother Brendon’s Holden Monaro HQ (featured in NZV8 Issue No. 115). The supercharged 509ci big block had run a 9.34 at 139mph in Brendon’s HQ, and in the lighter Camaro — which also benefits from bigger rear rubber — we’re looking out for eights. 

With great track prep leading up to the event, Doron Andersen Vazey had no problem sending his ’68 Cuda skyward during racing. He brought his car all the way down from Auckland, and thrilled the crowd with its new paint and wheels-up performances like this. 

Sitting in the staging lanes during practice were two previous NZV8 cover cars. Brendon Shearings ’71 Holden Monaro is now running a supercharged 536ci big block, but was on the trailer early. The black ’72 Monaro of Warren Black, with its supercharged 555ci big block, was out in round one after a missed gear saw him beaten by Adam Thomspon. 

The ups and downs of the day were all taken in good stead by the participants, as we all know that’s what drag racing’s about — win, lose, or break something, it’s all about getting out there and having a blast. And doing so on a long weekend heading into summer and the drag racing season; well, we wouldn’t have it any other way! 

Rod Dunn

Born and bred in Central Otago, I moved to Christchurch in 1995. I’ve had several different jobs over the years, from being a kiln operator, to running my own handyman business, and currently I'm the Maintenance Manager at the Wigram Airforce Museum. I'm happily married to my wife Anne-Marie, and between us we have six children — all living away from home now. Photography has been a consistent interest throughout my life, and I've always had a passion for cars, so it was just natural that I would end up photographing them. I also love to do landscape photography whenever I get the chance. I began contributing to NZV8 magazine in 2012 and have gone on to become NZV8's South Island correspondent, photographing and writing both feature car and event articles. I love meeting people and shooting their cars, as well as covering shows for the mag. Long may it continue.