“We need to have a South Island round if it’s going to be a real national championship,” explained Ricky Ireland, New Zealand Burnout Championship (NZBC) founder, what seems now like many moons ago. And despite the absolute logistical nightmare of sorting a venue, and bringing the whole burnout circus to the other end of the country in the middle of a wetter-than-usual spring, the NZBC team’s commitment never wavered.
Having the crew at Invercargill’s Rock Riverside Speedway onboard helped immeasurably, who took charge of the venue and the running of the event. All this was topped off by sponsorship by Supreme Excavation and Site Works, who didn’t only extend the existing pad, but completely reshaped it to accommodate the gnarly shenanigans expected of a burnout competition at this level.
Over 40 competitors entered to tear up the newly-laid burnout pad, and the strong local contingent was complemented by a handful of further-travelled entrants. Returning the favour shown by South Islanders Chris Daley, Rob Mitchell, and Jacob Warren, who all travelled north for the first two rounds, NZBC points-leader Rob Toheriri dragged the ‘AGROXB’ and ‘AGROXF’ Falcons down-country, joined by Darren Roberts’ ‘LIMITR’ Holden VX Calais.
But the furthest-travelled was also the star of the show — Andrew ‘Lynchy’ Lynch, who flew over from Horsham, Victoria, to shred some tyres, sink some beer, then get home for work on Monday. His dedication was rewarded with an exclusive ride to the venue in a helicopter piloted by Invercargill mayor and local larrikin Tim Shadbolt, who also cut the ribbon on the new pad, before it was christened by Lynchy in a demonstration that would set the tone for the rest of the day.
The king of the tip in, and one of the world’s most renowned burnout drivers, Lynchy was here put on a show — what he does best! He wasn’t just a drawcard for the spectators, but an aspirational figure for competitors, of just what can be achieved without the need for cubic inches or cubic dollars.
As as multi-round, points-based competition spanning both the North and South Islands, this counted as the first real event of its kind, and the South Islanders took things seriously. One of the most impressive vehicles on display also put on one of the best shows, with Paul Henry’s ’58 Chev blowing tyres left, right, and centre.
This car is one of the mainstays of the South Island burnout scene, and has evolved over the years to its current iteration, powered by a supercharged and dry-sumped 416ci small block built to rev. It gets the job done with ease, and power is channeled through a four-speed manual box — far from ideal at this level, but Paul wouldn’t have it any other way.
Keegan Ward’s Rambler Rebel is another slightly unusual sight, unless you’re familiar with the ‘anything goes’ attitude of the New Zealand burnout scene. His ’69 Rambler Rebel 770 runs a 454ci big block Chev, which explains its surprising ability to smash tyres, and sits on full airbag suspension for the best of both stance and drivability.
Mark Wilson’s XR Falcon is one tough machine, powered by a screaming 347ci stroker with a five-speed manual box behind it. Putting on a hell of a show for the crowd, he would have been a shoe-in for the finals, if a blown radiator hose didn’t see him out of the day’s competition. Better luck next time …
Having competed against the best, Jacob Warren knew what was expected at a competition like this, and didn’t disappoint. His Holden LH Torana is powered by a 6-71-blown 400ci small block, and put on one of the best performances of the day — a definite contender for the finals, if not for his penchant for dipping off the pad.
And it wouldn’t be an Invercargill burnout competition without Chris Daley and his ‘SYCO8’ Holden Monaro — a combo that are basically Southland royalty. Maybe it was the home advantage, or maybe Chris had picked up a whole lot of pointers from the Aussie big boys, but the Monaro was on fire — not literally, fortunately, and his efforts were sufficient to push him to First Overall, and Pro Class First!
Then there were the usual suspects — Rob Toheriri made the long haul down, and wasn’t there to make up the numbers, finishing Second Overall in the ‘AGROXB” Falcon coupe, and nabbing V8 Class First.
And Darren Roberts pedalled the ‘LIMITR’ Holden VX Calais to Third Overall and V8 Class Second, while Shaun Jury managed to climb to the top of the field of fours, sixes, and rotaries, pushing the AU Falcon to 4/6/R First.
And the party didn’t stop once the sun began to sink, with a whole bunch of very impressive performances put on in the failing light. Lynchy single-handedly ensured many sets of rims will never mount tyres again, and made it well worth the while of everyone who stayed on until the end.
What an event, to not only defy the odds, but to do so in such a spectacular manner. The next NZBC round will be held at Meremere Dragway on November 26, and we’re hanging out to be there already.
First Overall — Chris Daley (Holden HQ Monaro coupe)
Second Overall — Rob Toheriri (Ford XB Falcon coupe)
Third Overall — Darren Roberts (Holden VX Calais)
Pro Class First — Chris Daley (Holden HQ Monaro coupe)
Pro Class Second — Paul Henry (1958 Chev)
Pro Class Third — Keegan Ward (Rambler Rebel)
V8 Class First — Rob Toheriri (Ford XB Falcon coupe)
V8 Class Second — Darren Roberts (Holden VX Calais)
V8 Class Third — Rob Toheriri (Ford XF Falcon)
4/6/R First — Shaun Jury (Ford AU Falcon)
4/6/R Second — Leeson Templeton (Ford AU Falcon)
4/6/R Third — Brook Taylor (Nissan Cedric)
Promoter’s Choice — Paul Henry (1958 Chev)
Lynchy's Choice — Jacob Warren (Holden Torana)