2017/18 IHRA Series. Round 5
2018 IHRA New Zealand Nationals
The 2018 IHRA New Zealand Nationals held at Meremere Dragway had great support with 150 competitors fronting to attempt to win a Nationals title.
Aeroflow Top Alcohol
Aeroflow Top Alcohol saw six competitors front to attempt to win New Zealands most prestigous drag racing title. After round two of qualifying, Anthony Marsh was in the top position with a 5.526 at 257.48 pass in the Mountshop A/Fuel Dragster. The race of round two qualifying was between Bert King in the Powder Surfaces TA/Dragster and Johnny Alsop in the Alsop Racing TA/Altered. The dragsters 5.888 at 242.19 secured the second spot and the altereds 5.896 at 227.57 put Johnny in third. Bryan Norman was fourth in his FED AA/D with a 6.731 and Simon Fowke rounded out the field with a 7.0 in his 57 Chev funny car.
The final session saw Bryan Norman improve with a 6.355 at 215.24, which put him in third position after Anthony Marsh withdrew with engine damage. Simon Fowke also improved, to a 6.860 at 205.72 to be fourth. Frank Bogaart made an appearance in his funny car, but he didn't get down the track.
With Marsh out, Bert King had a 5.841 at 243.06 bye in round one. Next up were two South Island cars, Bryan Norman from Alexandra in his FED and and Simon Fowke from Christchurch. Norman took the win with a 6.454 at 216.10. Johnny Alsop then blew up his gearbox, after his burnout, handing the win to Frank Bogaart who also lost fire.
In the second round Bert King recorded another 5.8, a 5.867 at 243.77 to defeat Bryan Normans 6.521 at 217.49 In the other semi final, Frank Bogaart failed to start. Bert King had damaged some lifters, in the semi final, so he converted the motor to 7 cylinders and accepted the green to win the title in the final.
Eight competitors fronted for Top Doorslammer. The highlight of the early rounds of qualifying was Barry Plumpton's 6.168 at 235.23. That saw him in top spot and be on the way to two possible national records. The ET record is currently held by Trevor Smith with a 6.261 and the speed record by Wayne Yearbury at 229. Nigel Dixon was second with a pedaling 6.602 and Squig Miles in third with PB's of 6.944 and 205.5mph, from the STA Falcon. Rod Harvey, in Trevor Smith's Statesman, was in fourth with a 7.068 closely followed by Craig Brown with a 7.074 in fifth. Sixth was Cess Miller on a 7.904. Mark Bardsley and Rod Benjes both overpowered the track.
The third round of qualifying saw Dixon improve with a 6.438, but he was passed by Rod Harvey who recorded a 6.331 at 225.82, in the B&T Earthmoving Statesman, to move into scond. Dixon suffered severe tyre shake that tore the front strut apart. Mark Bardsley finally get down the track with a 6.950 to be fourth and Rod Benjes recorded a diff busting 7.277 to be sixth. Squig withdrew from competition with a cracked rear main.
Round one of eliminations saw Barry Plumpton with a 6.357 second bye in his Camaro. Mark Bardsley, in the Rislone Camaro, improved again with a 6.649 to beat Craig Brown who recorded a 7.179 in his 55 Chev, but a torched head meant that Mark was out. Nigel Dixon fitted new front struts and a tyre before recording a 6.354, in the Kruzin Kustoms BF Falcon, to beat Rod Benjes whose Childs Play Baretta broke a blower belt. Dixon however damaged his gearbox and would not front for the next round. Rod Harvey used a 6.605 to defeat Cess Miller's 8.567 in his 59 Impala.
With Bardsley and Dixon out, Barry Plumpton and Rod Harvey both had round two byes. Barry recorded a 6.970 at 205.94 and Rod cruised through for a 9.327.
In the final, Rod Harvey used a 6.405 at 221.52 to defeat Barry Plumpton's 8.227 at 115.09. It was Team Smith Racing's fourth Nationals win, two in Top Doorslammer and two in Junior Dragster. It was also the fourth Nationals win for Rod Harvey. Four wins in four different brackets, Altered in 2003, Sport Compact in 2007, Supercharged Outlaws in 2014 and Top Doorslammer in 2018.
Other highlights included:
- Cory Abbott recording the first legal Pro Import 6.8 second pass, with a 6.829 recorded on the way to his third nationals win
- Massive wheelstands by Gavin Oram and Grant Briffault
- Dwane Osborne breaking both ends of Ash Becks D/A record that had stood for thirteen years