The 47th New Zealand Drag Racing Association(NZDRA) Drag Racing Nationals was held on April 11–12 at Masterton Motorplex. With around 160 entrants from all over the country this was going to be a good event, and there had been plenty of work put in by the track-prep crew to ensure the best possible surface. Fields were down a bit in the top classes, with only four cars in Top Doorslammer, but both Super Street and Super Sedan had big fields.

Bert King in his rear-engined dragster had the car dialled, pulling the front wheels on every run, running a  stout 6.22s in the finals against Alan Hartley’s Altered, who was unable to reverse after the burnout. King also went home with the fastest speed of the event of 214.87mph.

Eddie Trybula’s ’57 Chev is pretty famous for big wheel-stands, but this weekend it was his front end flying through the air near the finishing line. Eddie won the race and returned with no front for the next round.

Eddie was a busy boy as he ran the Chev as well as his recently completed Holden Monaro, while his son Josh ran his own turbocharged Impala.

Mark Gapp, from Palmerston North’s Pro Parts, also had a wild ride in his recently purchased ’41 Willys Coupe when he pulled a massive wheel-stand on his first-ever pass in the car. Perhaps the previous owner should have mentioned the bars had been lifted up.

Mark Thomas hasn’t raced his Ford Customline for some time, but his car looked great and sounded awesome. Unfortunately an oil line let go during a burnout leaving oil all over the track, but many hands made light work of the situation.While there was no prize for the biggest oil down, he did take home one for best-appearing car and crew.

Super Sedan was a tough class with 32 cars entered. The times ranged from being the low eights to high 10s, so drivers had to be on the ball. The final came down to Richard Bewley’s ’66 Cortina and Ian Harvey’s ’67 Mercury Cougar — it was close to say the least. The Cortina won with a 9.75s on a 9.75 dial-in, while the cougar ran a 9.59s on a 9.50 dial in!

The Top Doorslammer final was between the nitrous Mountain motor of Barry Plumpton’s Chev Monte Carlo against the blown big block of Nigel Dixon’s Camaro. Plumpton left first and finished first with a 7.12s at 196.15mph, while Dixon finished with a 8.71s at 109.37mph — well off his best.

Robert Dallev.jpg

Qualifying ended around 5pm on Saturday with no major stoppages, apart from a engine destroying itself on the finishing line in Robert Dallev’s injected, small block Chevette.

Sunday’s track conditions were excellent; several competitors ran personal bests and there were plenty of wheel-stands including the display Wanganui’s Rhys O’Mahony put on when he left only one wheel on the ground.

Gary Cawthra and team worked through the night to try and get his procharged Falcon running as it should, only to continue with a few issues the following day. The team think they’re now onto the source of their issues, and, if so, the car will be one to watch next season.

Shane Eastham, in his wild 1937 Vauxhall, also left the crowd gaping with his wheels-up antics.

Overall, it was a very successful event with a good barbeque and prize-giving at the end. Well done to all involved, we can’t wait to be back again next season!

Look out for a full report in the next issue of NZV8.