As the sun peered over Whanganui on March 5, a thick cloud of potential rainfall kept the Wanganui Road Rodders Club biting their nails and crossing their fingers. Sure enough, it held back and allowed the petrolhead town to have its annual street drags — the 31st edition of the club’s notorious event.
Every year the drags take place on Taupo Quay, which was resealed in 2015 causing times to increase for the past two years, but some drivers were able to get back to their low seven-second times.
Unfortunately for the crowd, there were fewer machines entered this year, with 60 entered, down from 70 in 2016. This included four competition cars and five motorbikes, but the woes did not end there as Allan Smith blew his transmission on the first run after a gruelling trip from Motueka the day before.
However, other than a few issues regarding the event’s timing computer, the day ran very smoothly. It doesn’t seem that long ago since we witnessed a Plymouth Road Runner evacuate its fuel over the track and push the day back considerably, but sure enough two years have passed by as quickly as Adrian Rivers did.
The Rivers name is no stranger to the pages of NZV8, and it’s a prolific name in the Whanganui car world. The family's Blu’s Brother dragster put on a show and caused bouts of tinnitus throughout the crowd and most of the town, as its roar echoed through the hills. It managed to do a 7.6-second demo run after the team had fixed a fuel pump issue.
While plenty of locals make a pilgrimage to the event, the Teki family had two members racing — husband and wife Tristan and Joanne. Joanne had the keys to the family’s ’66 Impala, while Tristan was pedalling his blown small block Monaro. There was a month’s worth of dish washing on the line for the loser, which ended up being Tristan, much to Joanne’s delight.
If you didn't make it this year, we suggest you pre-order a 2018 calendar and write ‘Whanganui Street Drags’ in large vividly coloured letters, to insure that you don't miss it next year.