Just under 140 entrants turned up to the Top Alcohol Challenge, held over April 9–10 at Masterton Motorplex, with cars turning up from all over the country. The lead-up to the event was looking a little dodgy, with most of the country hit by rain, but by the weekend, attendees were treated to two cold days, but not a drop of rain in sight.
And, as this was Masterton’s last meeting for the season, many racers came along with high hopes. A few left with those hopes more than fulfilled. In fact, a number of racers smashed their PBs, and not only by mere hundredths of a second, but by close to half a second in some cases.
With nine Top Alcohol cars entered, one Funny Car, and one front-engined dragster (FED), this was the biggest field of big boys at Masterton in a while. Meanwhile, the Super Sedan class was, once again, filled, promising big burnouts, wheel stands, and everyone generally trying to outdo each other.
Adam Prestney, driving the twin-turbo Pirtek Camaro, smashed his PB big time — the car left the line so effortlessly, and then it just hauled arse right to the end of the track. With a 6.97-second pass at a whopping 209.72mph, the team definitely earned a few celebratory beers!
Fellow Wellingtonian Mark Thomas finally got his Ford Customline sorted, pumping out a 6.47 at 218.12mph. He didn’t get off scot-free though, pulling the chute a bit late, and going for a little drift before ending up in the sand. Fortunately, the car wasn’t damaged from the experience, but, sadly, mechanical issues ended his event early.
Speaking of Top Doorslammers, we even spotted Chris Tynan working on his old ’55 doorslammer in the pits — how’s that for a modern-day blast from the past? Making the occasion even better was that his son Bob was sharing driving duties with current owner Mike Reid — the pair running a best of 7.10 at 186.82mph.
Fabian Goldbert was another Super Sedan competitor who was absolutely hauling arse. He was the number-one qualifier in his class, with a 7.97 at 171.11mph.
Andrew Neiman made the trip over from Wellington, to get behind the wheel of his injected 383ci small block–powered FED. Maybe he should have put his wheelie bars on; after launching hard, the front end headed for the sky, producing the best wheel stand of the meeting.
Brian ‘Stormin’ Norman is a dedicated man, coming all the way up from Alexandria down in the deep south, to race his Hemi-powered FED in the Top Alcohol Challenge. This car looked and sounded terrific, and managed a best of 6.67 at 202.83mph. The goal of running a five-second pass is getting closer and closer.
Frank Bogaart had the only Funny Car entered, and it was worth the trip, with him running a new PB at the event of 7.34 at 183.9mph.
The finals came down to Anthony Marsh and Shane Lodge, with Marsh resetting the track’s best ET and mph, with a 5.37 at 271.62mph. Lodge wasn’t far behind, though, running a quick 5.61 at 249.49mph. Marsh is seen here against Dwane Garrett, who unfortunately grenaded the ‘Torquing Heads’ dragster’s Hemi after its best half-track pass to date.
Vanessa Lilly — maybe New Zealand’s number=one back-up girl — had the honours of backing up the Marsh A-fuel car, among five other cars over the weekend. Having just turned 21 on Saturday, she was lucky enough to be given a ride in Brent Whittingham's wheel-standing Camaro.
Speaking of back-up girls — who doesn't like them?
It wasn’t all plain sailing for everyone, though — looks like he won’t be going far without a drive belt …
It wasn’t just comp cars that were plentiful at the event. How’s this for a line-up of tough streeters, and, yes, they’re all from Whanganui!
The feedback was that the event was the best to be held at Masterton Motorplex — no small feat when the last event held there was also given the same tag line. With two massive events in a row, though, the venue has well and truly proven itself to be up there with the best, and we can’t wait to get back there again next season — and neither can the racers!