BLEEDING EARDRUMS. FRIED TYRES, AND GOOD VIBES ALL ROUND-SURELY REUNION 2017 WAS THE BIGGEST ROTARY- ONLY PARTY ON THE PLANET
There ain’t no place like New Zealand for a rotang lover, so it makes sense that we host an event purely for engines of the pulsating variety. Yep, no pistons allowed. Back for its third year, with 258 rotaries rolling through the gates, this was the largest yet. Bleeding ear drums, frying tyres, and delivering good vibes — this is Rotary REunion 2017.
There is no denying that the New Zealand rotary community is one of the biggest in the world, and we have a love and passion for the little Wankel engine that never seems to wane. With this in mind, it seems a nobrainer to have an event that is pure pulse and no piston like REunion. And it’s fair to say that the Power cruise-style event, now in its third year, has been cemented on the calendar for all New Zealand rota heads — well, if the fact that the sheds sold out in 30 minutes and a total of 258 rotaries rolled through the gates over the two days is anything to go by. There was also a welcome expansion in 2017, with the event going from being held on a single day to being held over a weekend filled with cruising, burnouts, drag racing, drifting, and plenty of other sketchy-at-best on-track antics.
Sure, the format for the event is nothing new, but what gives it a really good vibe is that it allows one engine only. It’s something that’s been missing since the Rotary Summer Drags days, and it’s clearly been missed by many, as it brought cars out of the woodwork that have not been seen (or used) for years. Sights like the Grand Parade, with 258 rotaries lining the entire front straight of Taupo Motorsport Park, are a great sign that the community is truly alive and kicking. While not an official world record, we are pretty sure that this number of rotaries must be close to being one. Perhaps next year the Guinness team needs to stop by for lunch?
However, nobody came to hard-park on the front straight; everyone was there to beat on their pride and joy. This was most evident on the skidpad, which, thanks to its run in, allows for the fan favourite, the ‘tip-in’ — a manoeuvre that takes some
big cojones to attempt and some needle-threading skills to pull off without disaster. Best Tip-In of the weekend went to Ryan Dorricott in his ‘RUFCNT’ RX-7. Ryan would go on to earn the coveted King of REunion award for not only participating in all the events but also going large in each, with a zero-f##ks-given attitude. Rocking a 500kW 13B Stage 2, with a with BorgWarner electronic-fuel-injected turbo and Jerico five-speed, what Ryan’s car lacks in polished paintwork is more than compensated for by toughness.
This is why events like REunion are so popular — it’s just like cruising on a Friday, only without police slapping on the cuffs for stepping it out around the corner, or leaving two long black marks as you blast past a mate
Dylan Thomas beat the living shit out of his ‘BALZDP’ wagon all weekend, then drove home to Wellington covered in rubber. The wagon runs a Lawton-built S6 13B turbo with a BorgWarner 300SX and an S5 gearbox, and runs on 98 pump gas, making 385kW
While the event itself is not really focused on the competition side of things, bragging rights are bragging rights, so events like the REunion drags are always going to be hotly contested. Sunday’s final in the naturally aspirated (NA) drag class turned out to be battle of the 20Bs, with Sam Longley’s 10-second ‘GRUMPP’ RX-2 taking out the honours for the second year running. In the turbo class, it was Dan Duncan’s Green Brothers–built street car taking the honors.
‘Mad Mike’ Whiddett himself got into the spirit and road tripped down from the AK in his freshly imported left-hand-drive S2 RX-2 to join in the fun. He even gave out an award to his favourite car —
Dubbed the ‘Death Van’, Nate’s Suzuki from Issue No. 216 is now rocking a TTi sequential to add to the ‘fun’. We are unsure how many brain cells Ethan had lost to make him think that opening the door was a good idea ... The ‘RUFRED’ 12A turbo dragger features some really cool fabrication work handled by Kati Fab, including the inner tub work. We can’t wait to see this car hit the drag strip
the Mazda Capella of ‘Straight Pipe Strawbs’. Mike’s S2 was one of a number of beautiful factory examples, including Tim Woods’ stunning RX-3 coupe. Both could be seen out and about making the most of the cruising sessions — as did the majority of the attendees, meaning the sessions were packed.
We have said it a thousand times before, but there really is no better fun to be had in a street car than four-ups blasting around the track, lining up one another on the straights, and pushing grip
levels on the corners. From the first session on Saturday morning to the last session on Sunday, pit lane was packed and the track was always pumping — without incident, we might add. But the weekend was not without its mechanical issues, which took their toll on a few cars, including some that had been driven from the South Island, these earning Hard Luck awards. We’re still not sure how they got home; still, at least they made it out of the pit garage, unlike me — whoops.
We have the inside word that REunion will be returning for 2018 and the planning is well underway. Bigger? You bet it will be. Louder? Now, that’s up to the rotary community — let’s bolt on those straight pipes, people, and get those tyres ready to kill!
The King of REunion title is not awarded lightly. To take the crown, you need to participate in all forms of event on offer, which is exactly what Ryan Dorricott did in his 500kW 13B Dynopower RX-7. How is this for an impressive list — Best Tip-In award in the burnouts, biggest drift pass of the day, and making it to the finals of the drags only to crack the exhaust manifold? Well earned, Ryan Straight Pipe Strawbs gave his Mazda 616 a good workout all weekend — to the detriment of those standing within earshot. Straight Pipe took out two awards — Best Race Car and Mad Mike’s Choice
Mad Mike drove his freshly imported RX-2 sedan down for some on-track action. The stocker left-hand-drive machine served as his daily while competing in the US