The NZDRA Central Nationals were held at Masterton Motorplex over December 10 and 11. There were 142 cars entered, and a high number of spectators poured through the gates on day one, withmany keen to see Nigel Dixon’s new BF Falcon Top Doorslammer make its debut.

The Falcon, imported from Australia, is an ex–Brett Stevens car built by Gary O’Rourke. Under the hood is a 521ci Brad Anderson billet Hemi with Anderson Stage 8 heads, PSI 206D screw-type supercharger, and carbon-fibre injector hat. The 3000hp combo is backed up by a three-speed Lenco box and nine-inch diff.

Nigel loves his burnouts and never disappoints the crowd by frying the tyres to almost half track on every run. Thanks in part to help from Australians Grant O’Rourke and Aaron Deery, along with local hot shot Bronson Dunne, the car became the second-quickest currently competing Top Doorslammer on only the second pass with a blistering 6.44 at 225mph. 

Another to impress was 17-year-old Nathan Hartley who has graduated from Junior Dragster, where he won two titles. This season he’s campaigning the ex–Ron Olsen ’82 Mustang.
The car runs a 498ci SVO engine and should be capable of nine-second passes.

After a few practice burnouts on his dad Murray’s driveway, he hit the track for the first time and showed he wasn't afraid of the car at all, as he lay down some serious rubber. His second pass was a 10.6 at 111mph. Nathan works at Pizza Hut as a delivery boy, so it looks like he's going to have to deliver a lot of pizza if he keeps doing long burnouts.

Another young gun to recently step up is Vanessa Lilly. Well known for her work as back-up girl for a number of vehicles, she’s now taken over driving duties of Gerald Smith’s blown and injected Altered.  She’s taken the massive jump like a duck to water, and was pulling wheels-up launches all day long, running a best of 8.89 at 130mph. 

While Vanessa got the wheels up, it was Rhys Humphries who kept them up in his massively overpowered out-of-control Cuda. The car would launch and lurch down the strip pulling the wheels off the ground multiple times as it took the long way down the strip, narrowly missing the guard rails a number of times. The car’s 8.76-second best pass of the weekend was not at all representative of the car’s potential. 

Twenty-six-year-old Zach Sayer has been racing his 1988 Nissan Cefiro at Masterton for four years now and is getting faster every season. What the general public might not know is that Zach is in a wheelchair after a freak accident on a dirt bike, which happened in the same area where the dragstrip is now situated. Using hand controls, he did his personal best over the weekend with a 10.34 at 130mph.  He’s now hoping for a high nine-second pass before the end of the season.

The car runs an ethanol-drinking RB30DET with a Garrett GT42 turbo backed by a Powerglide and 5000rpm stall converter. 

Taranaki’s Wayne Curry drove his blown Altered but didn’t have the greatest meeting.  After a good strong burnout the problems set in.  At the top end of the track it looked like the car dropped oil everywhere, but once Wayne had stopped it became apparent that the car’s on-board fire-suppression system had accidentally gone off. 

While happy there was no permanent damage it did mean a long drive back to Taranaki for crew member Grant Stables to get more fire bottles from his own car. 

Alan Hartley was one of the happiest racers — after trying to sell his blown Altered with no luck, he decided to rebuild the engine and go racing again. The car ran hard and Alan managed his first six-second pass a 6.96 at 180.81, but yes, apparently the car is still for sale. 

One new car and driver combo to debut at the event that we can't wait to see get sorted is the  ‘426MAX’ Plymouth Belvedere of Bill Armstrong. The car didn't make a clean pass on the day, but we're sure it'll be onto the NZ’s Quickest Streeters list, when it does. 

Despite the rain threatening all day, the track managed to stay dry until the end of racing at 4.30pm. Sadly the next day dawned wet and the event was cancelled. Could we have seen a five-second pass from Nigel Dixon? Could we have seen Vanessa edge even lower into the eights? Or could Wayne Currey get a handle on his new combo? We’ll now have to wait till the next event to find out!