How­ever, as far as per­sonal bests were con­cerned, it was Bert King, also rac­ing in Top Al­co­hol who’d take the cake — a 5.84 at 243.06mph is ab­so­lutely mov­ing, and cer­tainly counts for a lot when you’re rac­ing at that level. Of course, it would be rude to over­look the Marsh Mo­tor­sport/Mount Shop boys, who had the A/Fuel drag­ster out in a show of force. A 5.52 at 257.48mph was far and away the quick­est and fastest pass of the week­end, but the lads were un­for­tu­nately un­able to do too much else due to a cat­a­strophic en­gine fail­ure, pulling out of com­pe­ti­tion. Then there was a raft of other per­sonal bests — Craig Grif­fith’s drag­ster run­ning a 6.72 at 198.35mph, Steve Mil­liken run­ning his Topolino Al­tered to a 7.30 at 181.06mph, and Stu­art Hen­leyMinch­ing­ton’s 8.17 at 159.99mph. Drag rac­ing vet­eran, Gavin Oram, also made a come­back, to much ac­claim, mark­ing the com­pe­ti­tion de­but of his new and sig­nif­i­cantly im­proved Ply­mouth Ar­row. The tiny hatch­back has been around for many years — some will re­mem­ber it in its old ni­trous-as­sisted guise many moons ago. It’s now meaner than ever, with a twin-turbo

Reece Fish–built 377ci small block tuned by C&M Per­for­mance. A cer­ti­fied loose unit, Gavin def­i­nitely gave the crowds a fair share of ex­cite­ment on Sun­day, when his wheelie bars gave way un­der an enor­mous wheel stand, show­ing ev­ery­one just what a weapon he has on his hands. The 8.29 at 171.79mph he man­aged over the week­end is just an in­di­ca­tor of what’s to come from this thing. In terms of tur­bocharged per­for­mance, we’ve also got to give a spe­cial men­tion to Chad Tully and the Tully Mo­tor­sport team, whose wicked-look­ing Holden To­rana is sure to ruf­fle a few feath­ers. The low-slung four-door re­ally looks the part, with its tough stance and sec­tioned front clip, but it’s the tur­bocharged Ford Barra straight-six that’s gonna up­set the Holden lovers. A pretty fresh build, it man­aged a 9.14 at 144.03mph, which we’re sure is only scratch­ing the sur­face of what this car is ca­pa­ble of. Of course, while PBs bring some brag­ging rights, what the driv­ers were re­ally out there do­ing it for was in the aim of be­ing crowned an IHRA NZ Na­tional Cham­pion — some­thing that many have tried, but few have achieved. By the end of the IHRA NZ Na­tion­als 2018

week­end, it was clear who’d en­joyed suc­cess on the points board. In Top Al­co­hol class, it was none other than the hard-charg­ing Bert King tak­ing top hon­ours, with the wicked Al­tereds of Stu Hen­ley-Minch­ing­ton and Steve Mil­liken run­ning all over the Mod­i­fied and Su­per­charged Out­law classes, re­spec­tively. Steve Carlsen hus­tled the tough Fal­con Sprint to the top of the Su­per Sedan class, tak­ing the win ahead of Mere­mere reg­u­lar Dutchie Wi­jde­ven. In Top Doorslam­mer, it was Barry Plump­ton who once again took the na­tional ti­tle, de­spite the best ef­forts of Waikato’s Nigel Dixon. In Com­pe­ti­tion, the points were close through the field, but Dwayne Os­borne man­aged a nar­row vic­tory over Ian West Stevens. Top Street had the op­po­site, with Glen Old­field’s gor­geous Nova walk­ing all over the com­pe­ti­tions to vic­tory. The Su­per Street field was a mas­sive one at every round of the se­ries, so to win would be a mat­ter of con­sis­tency, and that was some­thing that Greg Mal­colm bought, which paid off in the form of a na­tional ti­tle. With the 2017–18 drag rac­ing sea­son draw­ing to a close, we’re sure to see just as many im­pres­sive re­sults next year when the rac­ers come back to do it all again! If it’s any­thing like this sea­son’s na­tional se­ries, it’s set to be an­other cracker!

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