Gourdie pushes limits for quickest time
The first day of summer turned on a scorcher, heating the concrete start pad and asphalt runway at the Motueka strip for some blazing runs at the second meeting of the Nelson Drag Racing Association's summer season.
John Gourdie laid down the fastest quarter mile time at the Motueka's Rock 94.4FM Dragway on Saturday, with Nelson Drag Racing Association (NDRA) members Paul Johnston and Clinton Lochhead also impressing at the Turbochargers NZ Forced Induction Drags.
With a majority of local competitors, and only a handful from outside the top of the south, the local lads dominated. NDRA members won six of seven classes, and also picked up the three quickest time awards.
Although it was "not a tidy run" Gourdie's eight-second flat pass in his 23T Altered dragster was the quickest of the day. The pass also allowed Gourdie to test out the catch net at the end of the track, even if it was not by choice.
"The parachute is the primary source of stopping for the car so when you don't get a correct shoot deployment, it's all on down there," said Gourdie.
The adept NDRA president was able to handle the car very quickly and efficiently to haul it in. And the high quality catch net imported from the US performed to task.
"I put my car into the net and it restrained the car. We were able to go back to the pits, have a look around the car and carry on with the day."
Gourdie described the event as very successful with the heat a "critical" component in getting the cars hooked-up on the track. The introduction of the Forced Induction Drags added an extra component to competition, and times were much improved across many of the returning participants.
With every passing run Johnston Procharged Chev pickup gets quicker. Running a quickest time of 13.325sec in the car's debut in the first round last month, Johnston shed more than five seconds, running an 8.3 at 141.3mph (227.4kmh).
After winning the quickest forced induction car for the day award, Johnston said the 498 cubic inch Chev engine, producing around 1800 horsepower, still had more to give.
"Every run just gets better and better," said Johnston.
"There is still a lot left in it, with the power it makes to the weight of the car, it has got a high six second run in it, at probably close to 200 miles per hour."
Lochhead's NAC sponsored 800hp Nissan Turbo Altered picked up the quickest turbocharged car of the day award with a time of 9.1sec. Lochhead earned the NDRA a new trophy sponsored by Turbochargers NZ Ltd.
The quickest turbocharged bike of the day award was claimed Craig Wray of Nelson, running 9.2sec at 138.2mph (222.41kmh) on his Suzuki GS 1000 Turbo.
In the Turbochargers NZ street import class Nelson's Dayne Taylor emerged as the top performer. Taylor's 1996 Nissan Silvia ran 13.4 at 105.8mph (170.27kmh) while, in the grudge class, quickest reaction went to David Thelin with a 0.456sec in his 2003 Holden GTS.
Richie Ayers in his 1971 VG Pro Street Valiant won the super street class, running 11.5 at 112.4mph (180.89kmh).
The super sedan class saw Steve Bennett of Nelson repeat his win from round one in his 1959 Ford Prefect, slightly improving his time to a 10.4 at 113.5mph (182.66kmh).
The Richie Woodall Memorial Cup continued in the modified bike class with Mark O'Carroll of Nelson claiming top points on his Suzuki M109R 1800cc, posting 11.8 at 111.8mph (179.92kmh).
The competition bike class was won by Christchurch's Marty Wilson, running 9.633 at 137.5mph (221.28kmh) on his Harley Davidson V Rod Destroyer.
NDRA members lead in four of the five series standings after two rounds. Gourdie is leading the modified class, Motueka's Mark Pahl is out front in the competition bike class, Ayers leads the super street, Bennett the super sedan class and Karl Dykes the modified bike class.
With Nelson drivers enjoying a strong run in the opening two rounds, their mettle will be tested at the next competition meeting on February 2. A national New Zealand Drag Racing Association event will attract top cars and drivers to the region.
- The Nelson Mail