The fourth comp meet of the 2016–’17 Meremere Dragway season was originally supposed to be the Nitro Shootout. Sadly, due to matters outside of anyone’s control, the nitro side couldn’t happen, but that didn’t stop a killer event from taking place.
Word spread on the night before that a full field of Top Doorslammers would be present, as well as a handful of Top Alcohol cars, and, of course, tough streeters, too.
With the weather playing ball leading into the event, track prep began early, and the results show in the times recorded.
One of the big movers of the day was the Gubb family’s twin-turbo dragster competing in the Top Comp class. With the PB going into the event a 6.04, a five-second pass was tantalizingly close. The team didn’t just dip in, though, they smashed their way in, going home happy with a couple of fives — the best being a 5.85 at 254mph.
Fellow twin-turbo Top Comp racer Karen Hay was also stoked with her day. Even though she didn’t run a PB, the car was back into the mid-six-second zone once more — thanks to the help of Terry Bowden and Jason Cutelli — putting her in a good place heading towards the IHRA Nationals in a few weeks’ time.
Top Doorslammer did have a full field as hoped, but most eyes were on the ChildsPlay Chev of John Dillon and Rod Benjes. The Wellington-based team had been thrashing hard the last few weeks to make it to the event, and the effort proved worthwhile when they ran a 6.44 at 223.10mph.
Sadly, the final didn’t go so well, with the car suffering some severe internal damage on the startline, gifting the win to the opposition.
Ryan ‘I’ve-won-every-bloody-thing-this-season’ Sheldon had a turn of bad luck, too, when a transmission line inside the car blew, and, thanks to the in-car transmission cooler fan, spread trans fluid throughout the cabin. Thankfully, he came away unscathed from the incident.
On the street car front, it was great to see Aaron Jenkin’s Torana debut. The twin-turbo 540ci big block impressed on its first pass with a high nine — the second pass being even better with a 9.63 at 147.18mph. With just 8psi boost currently running through the combo, we’d guess an eight-second pass isn’t far away.
Long-time street car racer Dave Moyle got his first eight, after a few years of being oh so close. With the assistance of nitrous, the owner-built ute dropped into the eights with a pb of 8.94 at 155.97mph. Making this even more impressive is the fact the ute is still on leaf springs, and was driven to the track!
It was great to see a few imports out to play, including Kriss Robb who made the trek up from Christchurch with his RX-7. Despite running closer and closer to a seven-second pass at every event recently, it just wasn’t his day.
Tauranga’s Abbott Brothers also had issues, a hole in a wastegate ending their day early.
Also from out of town, Wayne Currie from New Plymouth made a move closer to becoming the first five-second Altered in the country when he ran a 6.15 at 222mph on his second pass of the day. Sadly the other passes weren’t so good, with tyre shake and gearbox issues.
With so many new PBs run at the event, all attention has now turned to the IHRA nationals, which are set to take place at Meremere Dragway on March 11–12. We’d suggest you make sure you’re trackside to watch the action as it unfolds.