PULSING HEAT

BLEED­ING EARDRUMS. FRIED TYRES, AND GOOD VIBES ALL ROUND-SURELY RE­UNION 2017 WAS THE BIG­GEST RO­TARY- ONLY PARTY ON THE PLANET

NZ Performance Car - - News - WORD S: MARC GIB­SON PHO­TOS: RICHARD OPIE

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

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