You understand burnouts or you don’t. If you don’t, now is not the time, and this is not the article, to convince you otherwise. Just know that there is a lot more to it than a bunch of hoons hacking up a back street at 3am — and there has been a lot more to it than that for quite some time.
While that’s most obviously evident in Australia, with huge spectator numbers and enormous prize pools for competitors, New Zealand is slowly but surely stepping up to the plate. The local burnout scene is flourishing, best witnessed through the emergence of a number of elite-level machines over the last year, all dedicated to the cause.
While the Australians have been consistently raising the bar, our locals have caught up enough to currently have a five-car burnout team over there, ready to compete at Tread Cemetery and the legendary Street Machine Summernats. And despite the light years between our local scene and the Aussies, one of the events paving the way is the Scrap Palace Morrinsville Burnout Comp.
For over 10 years, Dion D’Anvers has been hosting the event in his Morrinsville backyard, and in that time it’s grown from a pretty small bogan shindig to a full-blown, professionally run event. The pad’s evolved over that time, too, and 2016 welcomed a newly laid lead-in — just the ticket for some Aussie-style tip-ins.
In the months leading up to the event, Dion was concerned about losing five of New Zealand’s heaviest-hitting burnout cars to Australia — especially with one of Australia’s most-famous burnout legends, Mick Brasher, attending as a guest judge — but as it turned out, he needn’t have worried.
First up was Tracey Beer in the instantly recognizable Nano Energizer–sponsored Holden HZ ute. Tracey is one of the most highly regarded women in the burnout scene, and she pulled out all the stops before the comp, bolting her 355ci small block Chev together only for unforeseen complications to put that plan to rest. At the 11th hour, she trekked to Helensville for an unknown-condition small block to drop in, and skidded it to death — literally. Near the end of a hefty skid, the small block decided it couldn’t hack it, prematurely ending Tracey’s day.
Thankfully, from then on, engine meltdowns were few and far between — surprising, considering how hard many competitors were pushing. Brett Kenny is one such competitor, who has been giving his LS1-powered VT Commodore death for far longer than we’d care to remember. It’s spent more time on the limiter than off it, and is still living to tell the tale, unlike the mountain of decimated tyres that ‘ADDVT’ leaves in its wake.
Where there are shredded tyres, there’s smoke, and where there’s smoke, Joe Coombes is unlikely to be far away. His ‘Double Brown’ VK Commodore somehow produced insane quantities of smoke all day long, despite its fairly basic engine package, proving that you can rip a hefty skid if you really want to — or if you’ve run out of mechanical sympathy.
Just as impressive was Mark Hudson’s tough XY Falcon. Mark never fails to put on a show, and had a pretty eventful weekend, torturing his XY to a top-10 placing after running his 10-second Capri streeter at Meremere Dragway the night before. He unfortunately ended up advising out due to technical issues, but was unquestionably one of the strongest skidders of the day.
While Mark Hudson was definitely rated as a crowd favourite, top honours would have to go to Hamish Pankhurst’s ‘SHTBOX’ Nissan Laurel C34. The 440ci big block Mopar–powered death trap is always a hit with the crowd, and Hamish shows it no mercy on the pad. He made the trip up to Morrinsville from rural Canterbury, along with a whole bunch of the ‘Darrell’ boys and Michael Ledgerwood’s 4A-GTE-powered Corolla wagon — possibly the only four-banger in attendance, and one that ripped better skids than a lot of the V8s in attendance.
However, if there was a car there that pushed all of the right buttons for the crowd, it’d have to be Rob Macraee’s meth-drinking supercharged 383ci small block–powered Holden HQ ute. By far the best-sounding car there, it also made short work of the rears, destroying them in a truly spectacular fashion.
Not to be outdone by the old man, Rob’s son Fraser followed up in his Holden HZ one-tonner. Despite the HZ’s lack of methanol and forced induction, Fraser can rip an epic skid, and his total commitment to shredding tyres gave us one of the best burnouts of the day.
Liz and Ryan Gracie had their blown 355ci small block Chev–powered XA Fairmont coupe there, for its first-ever burnout. It goes as well as it was built to, and Liz once again proved her skill behind the wheel, with a wild tip-in followed by thorough usage of the entire burnout pad surface. It doesn’t sound half bad either …
Although, the exact same could be said of Shane Brown’s ’32 Ford sedan. High revs and consistent movement around the burnout pad is a winning formula, and Shane was a clear shoe-in for the top 10.
He was joined by Stu Wot’s KE35 Corolla — a sassy, supercharged Holden V6–powered mongrel — as well as the Commodores of Brett Kenny and Joe Coombes, Shaun Jury’s turbocharged Barra-powered Falcon, Ian Marshall’s Falcon wagon, Rob Macraee’s Holden HQ ute, Jason’s skid buggy, Chris Brennan’s XF Falcon, and Hamish Pankhurst’s SHTBOX Laurel.
It was here that we saw the second engine malfunction of the day, when Jason’s turbocharged 1UZ-FE-powered skid buggy shit itself mid skid. It actually did something very similar at the 2014 Scrap Palace Morrinsville Burnout Comp, and certainly says a lot about how hard he pushes the thing — all or nothing!
Chris Brennan’s blown small block–powered XF Falcon was another strong contender, with no sign of the overheating issues that plagued his car in earlier years. Laying down a number of neat, and extremely loud, burnouts throughout the day, he was definitely a standout.
But there could be only one, and that would be awarded to Shaun Jury, in his recently completed Barra-powered Falcon. A super-wild tip-in was followed by a textbook burnout, maximizing pad usage, staying off the rev limiter, and seriously dense clouds of smoke. A non-V8 showing ’em how it’s done? Anything can happen!
So, to conclude the event, it turns out that Dion didn’t need to worry about the Kiwi contingent several thousand kilometres away in Australia. The people of the New Zealand burnout scene have proven that they’re capable of stepping up to fill their missing — and pretty large — boots, and we can’t wait to see what will happen next year when the heavy-hitters return, and new builds are unveiled to challenge them …
Thanks to Lance Farrow for additional photos, many of which can be viewed in the gallery below.