New records set at Spring Nationals
Words by Peter S. Cooper.  Pic by SE Photography.

Four new national records were set at the recent Auckland Harley Davidson 2014 Spring Nationals, held at Meremere Dragway.

In spite of mid-afternoon showers delaying some of the rounds, ever-improving track conditions thanks to the tireless efforts of the Meremere Dragway crew saw a number of competitors achieve personal bests, and more than a few racing in the Dial-Your-Own (DYO) classes breaking out of their elected elapsed times (E.T.).

The meeting’s record-breakers included, Phil Hurst, who piloted his 180 cubic inch, four cylinder Fontana speedway engine-powered C/D machine to a new low E.T. class record of 9.235 @ 141.92 mph. He was also runner-up in the final of the NZ Hot Rod Magazine-sponsored Competition Class, won by Waiuku’s Raymond Gubb running a 7.047 @ 190.78mph in his monster 530 cubic inch Big-Block Chevy dragster.

Traveling all the way from Whangarei was worthwhile for Grant Little, who won the VHT Top Street Class and set a new F/MS E.T. record of 9.693 @ 137.71mph in his strong-running XY Ford Falcon, beating Featherston’s Gavin Green’s HK Holden Monaro in a classic all-Aussie Muscle final.

Paul Dowdall from Palmerston North also tasted victory in the V Energy Drinks Sport Compact Class, beating Tauranga’s Chris Green in the final, but also setting a new S/M top speed record, running 173.58 mph to beat out the existing top speed record of 167.69mph in his immaculate 13B-powered RX8.

Darryl Benson drove all the way from Hastings, to take his rapid 675cc Triumph motorbike to a new top speed record B/MB class record, clocking at 128.02 mph on Meremere’s legendary quarter-mile course. He was runner up in the final against Glen Eden’s Alaistair Galbraith’s Suzuki Hayabusa, who won the Scrap Palace Modified Bike class.

And if we’re giving kudos on distance traveled, then the combined efforts of Lower Hutt racer Graham Christison and Motueka based Craig Griffiths is worth a top mention. Christison took out the Supercharged Outlaw division in a strong eight car field with a 7.582 @ 165.54mph over Griffiths. Griffiths – having qualified with a 7.298 @ 190.16mph – saw the final snatched away after lifting the wheels on his dragster too high for his liking.

Closer to home in the Top Doorslammer division is a tale of the comeback kids Ross Taylor of Pukekohe in his 1957 Chevy Sports Coupe and Russell Lowe of Rotorua in his 1969 Camaro. Lowe would succumb to a tyre issue in the final leaving Taylor running a 6.722 @ 217.84 with the win.

The Auckland Harley Davidson Spring Nationals was a fitting place to have the Auckland Harley Davidson team of Greg Pratt and Karl Fyn both on V-Rod Destroyers take first and second place respectively in the hotly contested Competition Bike Division. Neither racers are strangers to the podium, but wonderful to see the Auckland Harley Davidson team really make this their event.

We’re not leaving without mention of our first side by side 5 second pass of the season. Chris Johnston in his 2004 Uyehara Chev powered dragster ran a 5.805 @ 246.89mph against Anthony Marsh’s 5.490 @ 265.38mph in a 1999 McKinney Hemi powered dragster. It was enough to whet the appetite nicely for the next big meeting…the ROCK FM 2015 Nitro Shootout.  Book the weekend of Saturday 10th January 2015 race day and Sunday 11th January 2015 for a rain date if required and join the Facebook event page here for full details. 

Auckland Harley Davidson 2014 Spring Nationals FULL RESULTS

By Peter S. Cooper