Spring is a busy time of year, as stores dust off the ‘sale’ banners, homemakers prepare for a caffeine-fuelled cleaning spree, and the automotive calendar auto-populates itself with countless events seeking to take full advantage of the intermittently decent weather. 

So it was that the last Saturday of September saw Helensville welcome a contingent of vehicles on trailers, most with mufflers removed and rear guards beaten severely — the eagerly awaited Helensville Burnout Competition had returned from hibernation! Hosted by the Kaipara Classic Car Club at Swale Earthmovers Ltd yard, the competition is a smaller event open to the public, and never fails to net a decent turnout. For $10 spectator entry at the gate, why not? 

With a bunch of tougher vehicles sitting in bits in preparation for bigger competitions later on in the year, or preparing to head across the ditch, the advantage of the smaller turnout was obvious in giving a lot more pad time to competitors — a great way to dust off the cobwebs before the summertime competitions really kick off. 

Anton Curin dusted the cobwebs off his neglected Nissan Cefiro shell, after a mate basically told him he wouldn't be able to get it going in time for Helensville. With around 20 days to go, he pulled an RB20E out from under the bench at his Automotive Anarchy workshop, strapped a turbo to the side, and got the thing skidding with nothing more than after-hours work and a self-imposed $1000 budget. The distributor drive gear sheared off after one skid, but the satisfaction of being able to say 'I told you so' made it all worth it. 

Steve Rex’s injected 304-powered VN wagon is a familiar sight on the pad, and having busted arse earlier in the year to get it up to scratch, he took the opportunity to blow some tyres without punishing the V8 as heavily as he’s been known to. 

A little worse for the wear after a full year of abuse, Callum McLeod’s 1UZ-powered Lexus LS400 might be the most reliable car on the scene at the moment — he just keeps feeding it, and it keeps on taking it. 

So does Josh Curran McRae’s 3.8 V6–powered Holden EH wagon. This is a cool little car, and though Josh seems to have been trying his best to destroy it, the thing just keeps on going. He’d like more power, and has plans to build a supercharged 202ci straight six, but the does pretty damn good in a car that doesn’t make all too much power. 

What this competition really had was an abundance of Holdens, and Phillipa Beattie showed everyone just how tough a two-bolt Holden V8 could be. Her ‘MZ SK1D’ Holden Statesman has been pushed to hell and back, and you just can’t beat the noise of a rowdy plastic motor at high revs. 

Where those are concerned, though, we have the be all and end all of this comp right here … 

Matty’s extraordinarily tough VK Commodore is packing a massive turbo strapped to the side of its injected Holden V8, with a serving of nitrous on top. It’s got no problem breaking traction, either, frying the rears without even breaking a sweat. While it never placed as far as the competition side of things went, it was definitely a crowd favourite, with hordes of people coming up for a closer look when it wasn’t on the pad. 

Alistair Campbell used Ford power to show everyone how things are done — a little bit of Ford power and a whole lot of mechanical abuse. Those open headers are definitely attention grabbing, and he knows how to pedal it, swinging the AU Falcon hack around just about every square inch he could find. 

And Holley Gracie had the family EB Falcon skid hack out to play, getting in a decent warm up skid before really letting loose and showing why she’s one of the scene’s up-and-comers. Once she achieves her goal of getting an LS in her VK Commodore, it’s gonna be something to watch!

Of course, while the EB was there for Holley to compete in, her mum couldn’t resist jumping in to show her how things are done. Liz started off pretty gently, but it didn’t take her long to start kicking the clutch and producing more smoke than a 26-year-old taxi has any right to. 

And then there were all the other cars that just kept coming out for more, keeping things rolling deep into the afternoon. Prizegiving followed, and while we didn’t get any names, they know who they are. Well done to all involved — the next one will be at October 28. Lock it in.