2018/19 Kiwi Thunder Series. Round 4

Masterton Motorplex, 23/24 March, 2019. Results | Round 4 Points (TBC)

The NZDRA Nationals meeting, at Masterton Motorplex on March 23 & 24 was the final round of the Kiwi Thunder Group One National Series.

Top Alcohol

Top Alcohol saw seven competitors front to attempt to gain final round points points in the Kiwi Thunder Series. Chris Johnston was the first to make a qualifying pass, a 5.774 at 262.07 in the Marsh Motorsport TA/D. Anthony Marsh in the Mountshop A/Fuel Dragster was up next and laid down a 5.378 at 269.44. The first pairing was between Jordan Robertson in the Dirty Deeds TA/D and Tamara Silk in the Lucas Oil TA/D. Tamara had a 6.085 PB at 233.43 and Jordan trailed with a 9 second pass.

The second qualifying session saw Anthony Marsh record the fastest Top Alcohol speed at the expense of his ET with a 5.388 at 275.26 mph. Meanwhile, in the other lane, Jordan Robertson was busy keeping his TA/D upright and off the wall when a rear wheel broke off. Chris Johnston experienced severe tyre shake and coasted to a 9 second pass. The car suffered some damage and Chris was not seen on track again. Paul Davison had a 7.4 pass in the Upper Hutt Glass TA/D while Bryan Norman, in his front engined dragster, moved into the fourth spot with a 6.304 at 220.88.

The third session saw Norman improve with a 6.162 at 223.87. Tamara Silk then damaged her transmission and was out. Simon Fowke made his only pass for the weekend with a 6.995 in the 57 Chev TA/FC. Paul Davison improved marginally with a 7.463 at a faster 212.82.

Paul Davison came out for another pass, which saw a big improvement with a 6.410 at 218.75. Unfortunately he ran out of track and severely damaged the dragster when he hit some concrete blocks in the emergency braking area. Paul was OK, but not so the car. That meant that five cars were out and with only two remaining there would not be a Top Alcohol bracket.

Bryan Norman qualified with a best run of 6.162 at 223.87 mph

Bryan Norman qualified with a best run of 6.162 at 223.87 mph. [Photo by: SV Photos]

Anthony Marsh and Bryan Norman then came out for a series of demonstration runs. On a solo pass Marsh went 5.327 at 276.01, being the quickest and fastest the car has gone in A/FD trim. That was followed by a 5.378 at 270.45 and a 5.537 at 259.95 mph. Norman did not match his earlier pace and recorded times of 6.577 at 219.06 and 6.492 at 206.23 to finish the season.

Anthony Marsh won 2019 Kiwi Thunder Top Alcohol Series and set new benchmarks of 5.327 seconds and 276.01 mph

Anthony Marsh won 2019 Kiwi Thunder Top Alcohol Series and set new benchmarks of 5.327 seconds and 276.01 mph. [Photo by: SV Photos]

Anthony Marsh won the Kiwi Thunder Group One National Top Alcohol Series, with Johnny Alsop coming second in the Alsop Racing Top Alcohol altered.

Top Doorslammer

Round one of qualifying saw Brent Whittingham take the lead with a 7.5 pass. Brent is coming to grips with Top Doorslammer having purchased Russell Lowes 1969 Camaro.

The second session got a bit more serious with Gavin Green taking the top spot, in the Pro Parts Firebird, with a 6.251 at a PB equaling 237.4 mph. Nigel Dixon recorded a 6.556, in the Kruzin Kustoms Falcon, to be second. Barry Plumpton was racing his old Monte Carlo, as his 68 Camaro was on its way to Australia where Barry will compete shortly, and recorded a 7.540. Squig Miles made a 8.1 second sorting pass.

Round three saw seven competitors hit the track. Nigel Dixon, Squig Miles and Barry Plumpton all made 6 second passes. Whittingham improved to a 7.279 at 188.83. Rod Benjes, Gavin Green and Adam Prestney all made unrepresentative passes.

The final qualifying session saw Rod Benjes, in the Childs Play Beretta, take the number one position with a PB of 6.211 at 221.50. Whittingham improved again, but his 7.236 would not threaten the top runners. Squig Miles, in the STA Falcon, failed to improve with a 6.864, but he was however happy with a 206.49 PB. Nigel Dixon improved with a 6.217 at 232.26 to finish in second position. Greens 6.436 failed to improve upon his earlier 6.251 and he took the third spot. Barry Plumpton put the Focus Construction Group Monte Carlo into fourth with a 6.795. Adam Prestney in the Pirtek Grand Am and Mark Thomas in his 56 Ford came out a bit after the rest of the bracket. Thomas's 6.825 should have put him in fifth position but he was not shown in the list of qualifiers. Prestney launched well, but recorded an 11 second pass which was also not listed.

Rod Benjes opened round one of eliminations with a bye run. His 7.3 pass damaged the rear main bearing and he would not front for the second round. Squig Miles outran Barry Plumpton with a 6.783 PB, but lost to Barry's 6.950 after being on the loosing end of a 0.111 to 0.282 start line battle. Adam Prestney improved with a 6.942 pass, but he was outshone by Nigel Dixons 6.103 at 241.03 effort. The speed is now the fastest ever Top Doorslammer pass recorded in New Zealand. The ET would be the quickest ever in New Zealand until the next round of eliminations. The final pairing saw Gavin Green get drilled at the lights by Brent Whittingham, 0.012 to 0.419, but he drove around Brent and took the win with a 6.507 over a 7.426.

Barry Plumpton opened round two with a 6.709 bye as Benjes did not front. The other semi final saw history made by Gavin Green and Nigel Dixon. Gavin left the line 0.077 seconds after Nigel and then threw everything at Nigel. He drove around him with the first 6.0 second Top Doorslammer pass, a 6.076 at 234.45. Nigel was not disgraced with a 6.169 at 230.00 and lost the race by 0.016 seconds. It was the quickest Top Doorslammer side by side race in New Zealand, surpassing the previous best of 6.223 and 6.258 which was between Gavin and Mark Bardsley at Meremere Dragway's IHRA Nationals earlier in the month.

Gavin Green recorded the quickest Top Doorslammer pass in New Zealand, a 6.076 at 234.45.

Gavin Green recorded the quickest Top Doorslammer pass in New Zealand, a 6.076 at 234.45. [Photo by: SV Photos]

After that the final was a bit of an anti climax with Barry Plumpton taking the win light, in the Focus Construction Group Monte Carlo, with a 7.220 over Gavins 7.614. The win saw Barry win the Kiwi Thunder Top Doorslammer Championship and Gavin finish in the runnerup position.

Barry Plumpton won the NZDRA Nationals and the 2019 Kiwi Thunder Series

Barry Plumpton won the NZDRA Nationals and the 2019 Kiwi Thunder Series [Photo by: SV Photos]

The inaugural Kiwi Thunder Group One National Series saw three different Top Doorslammer round winners and five cars in the 6.0 to 6.2 second range. Look out for the race to the first five second pass next season.