NZDRA Southern Nationals

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The NZDRA ‘Southern Nationals’ New Zealand Championship will soon be rolling into the region for a full on day of drag competition.

The New Zealand Drag Racing Association national series is a collection of race meetings held throughout the country where drivers compete to earn points for an overall winning total. There are five rounds in the series, the previous event being hosted in Taupo on December 27 and 28, and now its Nelson’s turn to host local and out of town drivers in the fourth round.

What better way to spend your Saturday than at the Motueka airfield taking in the noise, the speed and the smoke screens that drag racing is famous for.

Drags PictureThe national series is the most important event on the New Zealand drag racing calendar, because it gets everyone touring around the country, which is not possible for most regular race meetings. The chance to have the first place marking of 1NZ on the side of their car is also a big deal for all serious drag racers, and is just as important as making records. Points are not just accumulated from racing, and drivers can bump up their overall total by travelling to the meetings held around the country. The fifth and final round of the series will be held back in Taupo on March 19 and 20.

“The Nelson club is proud to be able to be associated with the national series and bring this event to Nelson, along with our meeting sponsors and helpers that we have in the Nelson Tasman region, so we’re lucky to see it and we’re lucky to get it,” says event organiser, John Gourdie.

“We’re going to see a good field in the supercharged outlaw class, that’s a spectacular class that we don’t normally see in Nelson, so that’s going to be a good one for spectators, there’s also a strong field in super stock and super sedan.”

Race day starts around 10am with practice and qualifying runs, allowing drivers the chance to familiarise themselves with the track and how their car performs on it, then the real action will kick off at 12pm.

Those chasing points will be positioned on a ladder according to their performance in the qualifying passes and from noon until 4:30pm they will be whittled down until a winner is determined for each class.

While drag racing offers the opportunity to get up close and personal with the action on the tarmac, an added bonus is their open door policy in the pit area, allowing people to walk around the competing cars as they’re being worked on by the race crews, or even have a word to the drivers about their cars and the world of drag racing.

The NZDRA New Zealand National series will feature a number of different classes, from street bikes and fully-fledged drag bikes, to junior dragsters, street cars, muscle cars, door cars and full drag cars, offering plenty of action for any petrol head.

Don’t miss out on the drags this weekend, Saturday, February 6, with adults tickets just $15, 12-16 years $5 and children under 12 are free. There will be Eftpos available at the gates on the day and a selection of food and drink will also be available for purchase. John reminds spectators that it is normally a very hot day out on the airfield so people need to look after themselves by bringing a wide brim hat and plenty of sunscreen. When the excitement of the day is over, feel free to join the drivers and supporters at Armadillos Bar and Restaurant on Richmond’s Queen St for the prize giving and after race function. If the weather is unsuitable on the day, racing will be postponed until Sunday, February 7.