So that was summer aye? Gone in a blink of an eye, but there is no denying that the V 4&Rotary Jamboree was one hell of a send-off to those warmer summer months. Of all the summer shows it always wears me out the most, thanks to the running back and forth between the track, skidpan, and show hall, trying to fit everything in without missing anything, and of course shooting as much as possible at the same time.
Although 99 per cent of the time the show hall is used for horse-related events, and even rodeos, for one weekend of the year the AstroTurf is rolled out and upwards of 130 vehicles pack into the hall.
I don't make it down to the Manawatu more than a few times a year, but each time I go it never ceases to amaze me how much energy the local scene has. While more and more inner-city kids are turning away from building heavily modified cars, this couldn't be further from the truth in the smaller centres.
And of course with Wellington only a few hours south there was a big contingent who made the trip up, including Wellington Trucking Friends (WTF).
Wellington Evo was also in attendance, and they brought along a selection of second- and third-generation Evos.
And Wellington-based Honda club Nine-K (with a few Auckland-based ringers in the mix) also showed up.
Another thing that always excites me about this particular event are the oddballs that pop up. Take this Mini 1000; it was certainly not the mintest or the wildest car on display but nevertheless, the external oil cooler, bolt-on fenders, and widened 12-inch steelies all made for a cool little car.
One build I have been watching for the past 12 months is Dustin Ng's R34. Running a steel GT-R widebody, it also runs R35 GT-R brakes and wheels; so you would expect an RB26 or even a VR38.
But you would be wrong; it's in fact powered by the 400kW-plus 2JZ lurking under the bonnet. Once Dustin completes a few more things we will take a closer look at the R34 in NZ Performance Car.
But of course there wasn't just show cars to look at ...
On the far side of the venue, the track was humming with activity with both the Battle of the Rookies drift comp and a round of the Prowear Superlap series, alongside some seasoned drift pros putting on a show for the crowd.
When the pros weren't on the track they were offering up advice on both car set-up and driving techniques to would-be drifters in the NAC Insurance tech session.
But for some pros, like World Time Attack Champion Garth Walden, their focus was out on track, and Garth was focused on the dramas the Hell Racing team were suffering with the Evo VIII. With the AYC pump packing it in early on, the team was unable to capitalize on the recent aero and suspension changes, having to settle for a 1:08.4, still the fastest lap of the day, but not where they had planned to be.
A few pit bays down, newcomer to the Prowear Super Lap series Mark McIntyre was making his first track appearance in his freshly built S14. One look at this car will tell you its no half-ass attempt at building a serous lap dancer. Mark's best for the day, a credible 1:11.8, earnt him second place overall in Pro Open. We will have more on this car later in the week.
Battle of the Rookies would come down to Dylan Woolhouse and Quentin Waretini. Despite Dylan driving with only one arm, after breaking his right arm in what we will describe as a ‘running accident,’ he would take the win and be heading back to the doctors for a new cast the following day.
Sitting tucked away on the side was the Skid Kings' burnout pad. After horrible weather hampered efforts to set up the temporary pad, the folks at Manfeild offered up the concrete lead-up to one of their sheds, as it looked like the much-hyped feature might not go ahead. Thanks to a few locals who pitched in, it got done and the crowd absolutely loved it.
And who wouldn't, when things like this Nissan Serena deathtrap put on one hell of a show.
We will have more coverage to come over the following week and in NZPC 222, but in the meantime here is an event gallery to check out. Thanks for the party Manawatu, we can't wait to return.