National title for Putaruru drag racer
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.
Drag racer Jeremy Hewson with his national title holding Toyota starlet.