The drag racing season kicked off with a hell of a start over Labour Weekend, October 23, with the IHRA South Island Champs kicking off at Ruapuna Park in Christchurch.

With so many new and improved cars, the battle on the mainline showed that there’s the potential for an amazing season ahead. 

You know you are in for a great day of racing when the pits start filling up at 8am. A number of the cars in attendance came from the deep south, and a handful came from as far north as Auckland.

One of the most-anticipated car unveilings for this season had to be Brendon Shearing’s ex–NZV8 feature car HQ Monaro. Gone was the huge supercharger bursting through the bonnet that the car was known for, having been replaced by a bonnet scoop containing two cutouts to feed air to the new twin-turbo power plant.

Brendon was treating the day as a test and tune, and managed a best of 9.1 at 154mph with a lack of traction and with the boost dialled down. While not quite at his PB of 8.76, it was one hell of a debut, and a result the team couldn't be happier with, as it shows the switch to turbos was the right one to make. 

Giving Brendon a good run was Dan Southall in his Procharged small block–powered Camaro. He ran a string of 8.9s and a new PB of 156mph. 

Another quick street car up from the deep south was Chris Daley in his 'SYCO8' HQ Monaro, which was also running a new engine. With the tunnel ram replaced with a 8-71 blower, Chris ran a new PB of 10.4, with a lot of potential still to be unleashed. 

While not currently street-legal, the street-spec Torana of Hedgehog Racing managed to break the beams with an impressive 9.72-second pass. 

Speaking of quick street cars, Kerry Stewart debuted his newly completed T-bucket in style, running straight into the eight-second zone with a 8.95-second pass at 150.57mph, fresh from getting a WoF. That throws him right in the deep end of the quickest street cars in the country, and adds another contender to the battle for quickest street car in the South Island, which was, until now a two-horse race between Shearing and Southall.  

Local Ian Paki wasn’t quite so lucky, having a great day in his small block–powered Capri with a best of 10.6 at 124mph, until his driveshaft let go at half track. Luckily Ian was OK, but the Capri will require a bit of work to the floor. 

It was great to see Katy Tolhurst step up with slicks on her T-bucket and she was happy to run an 11.0, making her quite possibly one of the fastest grandmas in the country. 

With so many new cars and combos debuting, the season is shaping up to be a real battle. Well done to Pegasus Bay Drag Racing Club and its many helpers for another great day.

Check back here for a full results list once it becomes available. 

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.

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