Na­tional ti­tle for Pu­taruru drag racer

South Waikato News - - Your Paper, Your Place - LUKE KIRKEBY

De­spite miss­ing half the drag rac­ing sea­son with car trou­ble, Pu­taruru’s Jeremy Hew­son has man­aged to end it with a na­tional ti­tle.

The 32-year-old pan­el­beater won the cov­eted Su­per Sedan class of 22 in his 1982 ro­tary Toyota Star­let dur­ing the re­cent IHRA New Zealand Na­tion­als at Mere­mere Drag­way.

His win­ning time of 8.84 sec­onds, where he reached speeds of 155 kilo­me­tres, was also a per­sonal best and a New Zealand record for a ro­tary.

Hew­son, who ba­si­cally built the car him­self in his shed - apart from the engine which was built by Green Brothers Rac­ing in Tau­ranga - said it was a life­long dream to win the ti­tle.

‘‘Dad says he took me up to the drags at 18 months old so it’s ba­si­cally in the blood and I’ve been hooked from a young age. This was my dream as a kid,’’ he said.

‘‘I used to go to the drags and watch and the New Zealand Na­tion­als are the pin­na­cle of drag rac­ing in New Zealand, it’s the equiv­a­lent of the In­di­anapo­lis 500 in New Zealand.’’

Af­ter not win­ning a sin­gle race all sea­son due to is­sues with his car, Hew­son said it was a re­lief to find a ‘‘sweet spot’’ in the fi­nal.

‘‘Com­ing into the race I had been hav­ing so many prob­lems be­cause I had just changed to a new trans­mis­sion and the trans­mis­sion pack­age I got from Amer­ica was not ex­actly what they said so there was a lot of mod­i­fy­ing I had to do.

‘‘When I thought I had fi­nally got it right an­other prob­lem would come up so I’d have to get some­thing else changed and I missed half the sea­son be­cause of it which I was gut­ted about.

‘‘It wasn’t un­til the qual­i­fy­ing rounds on the Satur­day of Na­tion­als that I found a sweet spot and I did a whole bunch of per­sonal best times which con­tin­ued through on the Sun­day.’’

He said dur­ing the fi­nal race, which he had a re­ac­tion time of .002 sec­onds in from the start line, he knew he has won be­fore he be­gan.

‘‘The other racer [Ivan Ju­lian] was re­ally good but he knew it was go­ing to be a close race and he jumped the start and got a red light so I knew in­stantly as I left that I had won. It was a good feel­ing I tell you and be­ing the un­der­dog was quite neat,’’ he said.

‘‘I got a stand­ing ova­tion as I was driv­ing back down the re­turn road. It was a re­ally neat feel­ing and ev­ery­one was shak­ing my hand.’’

Hew­son said he now hopes to win a na­tional se­ries ti­tle which he may look at at­tempt­ing next sea­son. Drink driv­ing

The Bay of Plenty Traf­fic Al­co­hol Group was in the South Waikato over the week­end cov­er­ing from Toko­roa to Man­gakino and 11 peo­ple were pro­cessed for drink driv­ing on Satur­day night alone.

The high num­ber of drink driv­ers stopped was not a good re­sult but on the other hand at least they have been re­moved from our roads.

The Traf­fic Al­co­hol Group was in town due to the high num­ber of drink driv­ers we have been hav­ing lately and they can be in town at any time.

If peo­ple con­tinue to drink and drive they will learn the hard way and we will def­i­nitely be see­ing more peo­ple hav­ing to walk to get around. Fam­ily harm There were 11 re­ports of fam­ily harm made this week how­ever there were no ar­rests made.

It is good to see peo­ple are call­ing us early so we can take ac­tion be­fore things get out of hand. Bur­glar­ies There were six bur­glar­ies for the week which is a lot higher than nor­mal. The main tar­gets have been ve­hi­cle parts, tools, and small elec­tronic items.

While the num­ber of bur­glar­ies is not great they have all been mi­nor in na­ture and not as se­ri­ous as what we have been hav­ing. Pre­ven­tion all comes down to se­cu­rity and keep­ing things locked away.

If you are leav­ing a key out­side make sure it is in a locked key box, not un­der a rock.

LUKE KIRKEBY/ FAIR­FAX NZ

Drag racer Jeremy Hew­son with his na­tional ti­tle hold­ing Toyota star­let.

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