August 29 marks the date of the 2015 Brisbane Jamboree — Australia’s largest annual import drag event. And this year, the New Zealand contingent en route to the illustrious event is more comprehensive than ever before, thanks to the new additions of Tony Markovina’s pro-spec Mazda 6, and Robbie Ward’s RIPS Racing Nissan Skyline, both joining previously announced drivers Ben Cox and Cory Abbott.

After polling the public, Brent Curran of Curran Brothers Racing (CBR) had initially been awarded a slot in the event. However, due to external circumstances, Brent and his Mazda RX-2 could not commit to attending — leading to the fourth slot in the Team New Zealand container needing to be filled at short notice.

Photo: 4&Rotary 

After being recommended for the remaining slot by Rod Harvey, Tony Markovina was thrown into the deep end to complete his Mazda 6 pro-spec drag car project for the event in under two months. The 2006 Rick Jones roller was campaigned in both the USA and Australia in Pro Stock, and features a full-carbon body, Rick Jones chromoly chassis, and 9.5-inch four-linked rear. Plans are for a Mazsport Racing-built 20B power plant, Pro-Jay intake, MicroTech ECU, air-shifted Liberty five-speed, East West Engineering slider clutch, and Precision Gen2 pro-mod turbo, along with some other pretty trick stuff. With such a tight deadline to meet, it’s all hands on deck to get the project finished and on a boat in time for Jambo’ at the end of August.

Photo: 4&Rotary

Tony is understandably excited about the prospect of lining up the big guys in Oz, and giving them a taste of how the Kiwis do it, as he told The Motorhood, “Although I will have a pro-spec car, one thing that won’t change is the size of my burnouts — I now have a car geared for 200mph, imagine the size of those skids!”

Bolstering our line-up is Robbie Ward of RIPS Racing, who has set to work on freshening up the Skyline before he takes on the Aussies. Known for its reliability, the world record–holding Nissan Skyline R32 only needed a set of rings and bearings as preventative maintenance before the event, and the compressor wheel in the Garrett GT55 has been changed to a slightly different unit. “We didn’t want to turn up to Australia and try something new, we wanted to go over and run a set-up we know. We’re already happy with what we’ve done, so there’s no need to try anything silly,” Robbie told us.

Mercury Motorsport is said to have a fairly competitive GT-R that may pose a threat to the RIPS Racing squad, but Robbie is more interested in lining up against Reece McGregor, he told us. “There are a few GT-Rs said to be running in the 7.7–8.8-second bracket, but that’s worlds away from a 7.3–7.4-second run, so we’re feeling confident. Hopefully we can improve on the world record a bit.” In preparation for the showdown, Robbie will be stepping up to a 28x11.5-inch slick tyre.

Neither Cory Abbott nor Ben Cox will make changes ahead of the trip, electing to simply run over both cars with a fine-tooth comb instead. “Hopefully we get some good conditions over there, and if so we are confident it will go a little faster yet,” Cory said.

This is the largest New Zealand import team to head over to Brisbane, so anticipation is high, and we can’t wait to see what the Kiwi drivers can deliver on Australian soil. For all of the information on how the guys go, make sure to keep tabs on The Motorhood!

Photos: NZ Performance Car archive

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.