Kiwinats turns Christchurch to smoke!

Posted in Cars, Lifestyle

With high hopes for good numbers this year, the organizers of Kiwinats Powerplay #2 — held at Mike Pero Motorsport Park in Ruapuna on November 14 — were not disappointed, as a long queue of tough cars formed at the entrance from the moment the gates opened. 

With numbers up greatly on last year’s event — at just shy of 100 in total — it was easy to see that Kiwinats Powerplay is becoming a fun and must-do event on the Canterbury calendar. After a drivers briefing, the track was opened at 8.30am for the first of two cruising sessions, with many heading out onto the track for what was to be a two-hour cruise. 

Around 10.30am it was time for the first drift session, and this saw a lot of unlikely vehicles lining up to have a go. After much sideways action, and in some cases spinouts, the drifters were replaced by the kid’s cruise, where people could take their children for a few hot laps. The police even got involved and had a car out there circling with flashing lights. This is probably the only time many drivers would have had the chance to pass a cop car that had its lights flashing, which was amusing to watch. With more cruise and drift sessions continuing into the afternoon, many spectators took the opportunity to go for a ride as a passenger, with plenty of cars travelling around the circuit. 

By the end of the afternoon it was time for the burnouts — a much anticipated event that never fails to disappoint. With more than 20 vehicles lined up, vying to be crowned the ‘king of the smoke’, spectators got to see everything from a Mini all the way up to a Capri drag car — and as some drivers found out, it’s not as easy to make continuous smoke as one might have thought. Once the burnouts were over it was prize-giving and thank you time, along with the announcement that the event would take place all over again on March 4, 2016. We know we’ll be back to check out out, and suggest if you’re anywhere in the South Island, you do the same!

“There is no point having a cool car if you are afraid to use it,” says Bob Applegate, owner of this purple ’69 Plymouth Road Runner. Bob took every opportunity to get his ride out onto the track and wasn’t scared of letting loose with the 440 big block–powered and four-speed machine.

Event organizer Steve Saul took time out from his duties to perform in the burnout comp. The ’79 Ford F100 is powered by a 302 V8 topped with a 6-71 supercharger, sending its power rearward, through a C6 trans, to a nine-inch diff. The truck usually runs 15-inch–wide rear tyres, so made short work of the skinnies put on for the burnout.

Sam Atkins loves nothing more than getting his ’87 Toyota Hilux out and enjoying all the driving events. Powered by a 2.8-litre Supra motor, Sam was the first competitor in the burnouts this year, setting the bar for everyone else. And in case you were thinking that he was a fan of the old TV series M*A*S*H, he tells us that it actually stands for Mad As Skid Hack!

This is something you don’t see every day — a ’58 Chev on full lock, drifting its way around a race circuit. Paul Henry is the owner of this Chev, which he has affectionately named ‘Rusty’, seen here competing in the drift comp. And if throwing a big heavy car like this into a sideways skid isn’t hard enough, try doing it with a bung arm as Paul did in this case.

One of the most popular events this year was the drifting, with a large field wanting to give it a try. Not only did Cory Farrant put on a great display of driving skill and control, he went on to win the drifting with showmanship like this.

Without a doubt, the burnouts would have to be the most popular event of the day, with around 20 owners treating their cars to mechanical torture while trying to be king of the smoke. Tony Brunt can be seen here giving his VN Commodore hell, and he eventually took second. 

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.