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2019/2020 SEASON

Masterton Motorplex




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Welcome to Masterton Motorplex On behalf of the Members of the Board of Masterton Motorplex and all our hardworking volunteers, I would like to welcome you to MMP and arguably our best season of drag racing ever.

Long time MMP announcer Gavin Doughty, along with Tod Aitken, have been responsible for bringing the new Outlaw 71 class to Masterton again this December, 7th & 8th – just in time for summer!

Between now and March, Masterton Motorplex will not only host four full competition meetings, but also exciting special classes, some of which have never appeared in Masterton before.

Dragstalgia, on the 4th & 5th of January, will feature the return of the ‘Wild Bunch’ organised by Ryan Sheldon.

Contents 2 Welcome 3 About 5-6 Outlaw 71 Class 7 Steve Milliken & Vanessa Lilly 8 Brent Whittingham & John Shepherd

9-10 The Wild Bunch 11 Bobby Owens & David and

Trevor Tynan

12 George McCutcheon & Mark Gapp 13 Ryan Sheldon & Michael Franklin

15 Auckland Invasion 16 The Anthill Mob 17 Roger Binnema & Tamara Silk 18 Rivers Family Racing

20-21 Aeroflow Outlaw Nitro Funny Cars 22 Chelsea & the Sheriff 23 Nitro Girl Power 24 Rick Guachi 25 Justin Walshe 26 Brandon Gosbell & Josh Leahy

2 Masterton Motorplex 2019

With veteran drivers pulling out some classic drag cars that set the scene for supercharged door-cars in New Zealand, many of which have been gathering dust in garages around New Zealand for years, as well as a whole new generation of cars, drivers and crews discovering the thrill of classic, loud, and exciting drag racing. The Auckland Invasion will see the big boys in action, pushing the furthest limits of drag racing in the country in terms of speed and technology as part of the all new, ground-breaking National Drag Racing Championship, on the 15th & 16th of February. And finally, the season will end not only with the Finals of the National Drag Racing Championship, but the appearance of the Aeroflow Outlaw Nitro funny car show. On the 21st of March, 8 Nitro funny cars and the popular Nitro Sheriff Wheel Stander will cross the Tasman to put on this entertaining

Australian series to the New Zealand public and to Masterton Motorplex, for the very first time. None of this would be possible without our MMP volunteers who donate many hours to making these meetings possible. A special mention must include Steve and Rox Carlsen for their hours of work on the new sand trap at the end of the track, Burt King and his boys for their concrete work on the safety barriers and also Gerwin Price and his team for the concreting of the pit spaces. Also a huge thanks to all the volunteers, racers & crews that turn up and offer a hand at our many working bees during the year. I would also like to thank everyone who supports Masterton Motorplex by attending our drags meetings. Without you, and our fantastic competitors, none of this would be happening. Bob Wilton Chairman Masterton Motorplex

Something for absolutely everyone this MMP season

Masterton Motorplex seems to just get bigger and better every year. What began as a club-run annual closed-road street drag meeting and street sprint in the 1980s, has evolved into one of just two permanent drag strips in New Zealand. Last season was a big one for MMP, hosting two rounds of the Kiwi Thunder Group One National Series as well the 51st NZDRA New Zealand Nationals. But this season will be even bigger, including as it will, the return for the second season of the Outlaw 71 class, the hotly anticipated return of The “Wild Bunch”, and eight Aeroflow Outlaw Nitro Funny Cars from Australia. Not to mention hosting round two of the Joint National Championship Series followed by the Finals of the series. This is the first time since the establishment of the IHRA in New Zealand that NZDRA and IHRA have run a combined Nationals series, which will also take place again next season. “Just when we thought we had done everything, some exciting new opportunities came along that we just

couldn’t turn down,” says MMP chairman Bob Wilton. Masterton Motorplex has become an important part of the drag racing circuit, Bob says. “It is definitely one of the places where racers, promotors and teams want to become involved. We are getting more and more people saying ‘can we come’.” The Masterton dragstrip is also inspiring people to bring new cars into New Zealand specifically to race at MMP, some even choosing to make Wairarapa their base. There’s a revival movement going on in drag racing at the moment, Bob notes, as people go back to some of the classes that got left behind by the evolution of drag racing. “People are rediscovering that while they might not be quite as fast, they are fun to drive, and really exciting to watch. “And not everyone can afford to own cutting-edge technology dragsters or doorslammers required to beat national records. “Even the likes of Tony and Anthony Marsh - the team which features the well-


known Mount Shop/Marsh Motorsport livery - have got on board with The Wild Bunch cars.” But there will always be a place for the creme de la creme of New Zealand’s dragsters at Masterton Motorplex and the Auckland Invasion meeting on February 15th - 16th, 2020 will satisfy that hunger. None of this would be possible without the tireless work of the team of volunteers that make Masterton Motorplex what it is, starting with the 15 Board members, each of whom has their own task list. “This season, we have welcomed back a couple of former board members whose experience we appreciate, as well as new board member Justin Hansen, who has already had a long involvement with MMP having looked after various aspects of MMP’s media, promotional and website areas.” This season, MMP also has three announcers, longserving Gavin Doughty who is now putting more of his time into organising Outlaw 71, main announcer Todd Stevenson, and Spike who will be doing the announcing for the motorcycles.

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Blast from the past as Outlaws ride again Loud, fast and unpredictable are three adjectives that attach themselves with ease to the Outlaw 71 class. While Outlaw 71 is a “new” class, old racing heads will experience a touch of deja vu when watching them as the class is based on traditional black belt supercharged cars. The name stems from the Supercharged Outlaws, and is open to cars running any belt-drive Roots or screwtype supercharger, typically known as ‘71’ series of superchargers.

These conventional superchargers now have their own class thanks to Masterton Motorplex commentator Gavin Doughty and Tod Aitken from Maxxed Out Racing who had talked about creating such a class for some time. Belt driven Supercharged Outlaws had once been the norm, Gavin says, but as time went on alternative forms of supercharging were introduced such as turbo, pro-charger, nitrous oxide and nitro methane. This appeared to affect the base of the group, and the development of a second sanctioning body into New Zealand did not appear to help the cause. As time passed, the race fields of this group became smaller and split throughout the country but they had

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Wairarapa’s Brad and Peter Langford of Blue Thunder Photo: Grahams Glimpses Photography.

their own unique charm that Gavin and Tod felt deserved a revival. The Outlaw 71 series comes to the Full Competition Meeting at Masterton Motorplex on Saturday 7th and Sunday 8th December with a line-up of dragsters, altered and door cars. The cars have to run faster than 8 seconds, but slower than 6.5 seconds over the quarter mile. Qualifying is based on reaction time, and the competition uses the DialYour-Own format. This is where the drivers nominate their own target time and then have to get as close to that as possible.

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Continued from page 5 This ensures the cars are all evenly matched, says Gavin, with the DYO handicap resulting in sideby-side finish line action.


This still incorporates fast action packed racing but DYO also tests the skill of the driver and crew to achieve perfect control of their car. Superchargers are notoriously hard to control, says Gavin, and the faster they go, the harder they are to control. “That is why we keep the limit on the slowest and fastest times so that racing is as close as possible.” Since the series started in November 2018, it has become a real crowd pleaser as well as attracting an increasing number of competitors. The number of cars competing now stands at 18 for the 2019-2020 series which includes three additional cars from Australia and one out of the United States, “which is

where we want to be,” says Gavin.

Gavin doing announcing duties at Masterton Motorplex.

“Spectators are going to see fast, exciting action and four brand new cars to New Zealand.”

Carlson in his Falcon Sprint, and Mark Haustein in his 68 Holden Ute.

There is going to be a strong Wairarapa representation with Brad and Peter Langford in Blue Thunder, Steve “Cowboy”

The Outlaw 71s are always popular with children who are welcome to have their free posters signed by the drivers on the day.

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Welcome to the Wairarapa. Enjoy the “drags”

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Vanessa Lilly

DEC 7-8

Rib Rattler Racing

Vanessa’s “Rib Rattler” – a ’23 T Altered, running a 445ci Supercharged Hemi Donovan – is brand new for the Rib Rattler Racing team.

Steve Milliken

“We imported the car from Adelaide in July, and gave it a full birthday over winter, to make sure it was in top shape for the coming season,” says Vanessa. “So it should be an exciting season, with lots to learn, being our first Lenco Clutch car.”

Steve Milliken from Auckland will be debuting his 1930s Chevy sedan. Purchased from Australia, the car has quite a race history.

“The car is a nostalgic early 80s style altered, with Outlaw 71 class a perfect suit for the car, with its old-school take on drag racing,” she says.

36 Chev Master

Steve and his crew have done a tremendous amount of work on the car to make it ready for the season. What sort of character does it have? Bad ass. Why do you choose to race in the Outlaw 71 class? Good bustards and no one else will have me. How long have you been drag racing and how did you get started? Four years and I had to wait until my wife got dementia. What are some of the highlights of your career? Winning nationals and travelling New Zealand with a great bunch of people. Anything else you would like to add? Some more money to my bank account.



“Additionally, the racer return format means more track time for all the cars. Not only is this a great way for fans to see back-to-back laps from their favourite cars, not to mention increased exposure for the car’s sponsors, but it is also really beneficial for myself in terms of getting more time in the seat, because I’m still pretty new behind the wheel! “Plus I can’t ignore the fact that I am going to be both the youngest driver, and the only female in the class, so I have some big boots to fill!”


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DEC 7-8 2019

Brent Whittingham Big Bad Bowtie Racing

With so many new combinations set to take to the track this year, Brent Whittingham is expecting it to be an interesting season. Coming up to their second season in the 1969 Chev Camaro, the plan last season was to ease into it gradually and get used to the new combo while gaining valuable seat time, Brent says. “My PB for our first season was 7.21@189mph. I feel the car has much more potential and hopefully this season we’ll get the chance to explore this.”

John Shepherd


Based on a 1951 Volkswagen, Biohazard is new this year. “I chose to run with Outlaw 71 because it has a lot of offer, says John. “We have fun, we get racer return, which equals extra seat time, the racing is close, and the drivers are good buggers with a passion for supercharged vehicles. I definitely support what is good for the public. I feel this is a positive for New Zealand drag racing.”

The car is powered by a billet alloy 509ci big block Chev topped with a Kobelco 14/71 supercharger and mechanical fuel injection. This blown alcohol combination is capable of around 2500hp. Trans is Reid 2 speed with a Ford 9” rear.

John has been racing on and off for 30 years now.

The 69 Chev Camaro had a reputation in the past for being a wild, somewhat unpredictable ride, but since Grant Downing of Parallax Racecars performed improvements to the car’s setup, “the result is a much better behaved ride proving to be a lot more consistent”.

John’s highlights include winning the 50th nationals at MMP and getting into the 200mph @ 6 sec at Meremere.

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“I got hooked on racing when my sister Kathy and her boyfriend took me to the drags in 1978 to see the Phoenix & LA Hooker. I think that day hooked a lot of others too. Hahaha...”

“Besides many trophies, it would be the people we have met and friends made along the way, and the many hangovers!”

JAN 4-5 2020


The Wild Bunch

Carterton local Brad Langford with a trademark long smokey burnout.

A part of New Zealand drag racing history returns for Dragstalgia at Masterton Motorplex on Saturday 4th and Sunday 5th January 2020.

pretty fast along the way.”

Wild by name and wild by nature

Thirty years ago, Chris Tynan and fellow members of the iconic class called Wild Bunch were an important part of the drag racing landscape, and left a lasting impression wherever they went.

Among them was a young Ryan Sheldon, helping out wherever he could and who now, with some friends and familiar names decided a year ago that the time was right to revive The Wild Bunch. “A few of my mates have similar sorts of cars that are not necessarily competitive in the higher performance based classes. We just want to get back to having fun, putting on a show, and go


The original Wild Bunch were based on average road cars that were “modified on steroids” with whatever their owners could find. “Back in those days you made do with the parts you could find locally. Thirty years ago it was impossible to get parts from the United States because it was too costly and too time consuming.

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Continued from page 9

JAN 4-5

“As better quality parts became more easily available, the competition started spreading out into different classes and everything became more formulaic. Somewhere along the line it got all serious and we lost a lot a lot of people along the way, good people as the spiralling costs to remain competitive in essence took the fun out of the class.


“We didn’t want to create another class at that level, but return to a bygone era and a formula that worked. We want to create something that you can race maybe a couple of times a year. It has brought a lot of cars back that were sitting in garages which is cool.” The first meeting of The Wild Bunch was held in April 2019 with just eight cars but this has grown quickly to around 20 cars for Dragstalgia and brought 30 sponsors on board including Ken and Desma Galvin from Kumeu Classic Car and Hot Rod Festival who are the naming rights sponsor for the event.

“Without their involvement and that of all our associate sponsors, Wild Bunch NZ wouldn’t be able to bring you the spectacle that will be Wild Bunch Wars at Masterton Motorplex. The invited field will consist of new cars as well as some originals. “The diversity and unpredictability of the original class remains, but has been upgraded and improved to create a show not previously seen.” The point of difference of The Wild Bunch is in its name, says Ryan. “From wild smokey burnouts to insane edge of your seat

A huge wheelstand by Feilding’s Brent Whittingham.

passes, The Wild Bunch is just that.” Unlike many other classes, The Wild Bunch cars retain recognisable body styles which gives them added appeal, says Ryan who has recently added a 1958 Plymouth body to his, made famous in the Stephen King movie “Christine”. “And each car has its own identity. For instance my car is The Joker with an insane custom airbrush paint job done by a good friend of mine, Kurt Goodin Artworks, a Masterton local.”

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Bobby Owens 1964 XM Falcon

Every now and then in this game, you have a conversation with someone and walk away thinking you are the better for it. Maybe you learned something. And we can all learn a little something from Bobby Owens. In the dictionary next to his name would be the words humble, unassuming, as honest as the day is long, and yet in the fine print below, it is likely to read something like, “If you cross the stripe ahead of Bobby, you’ve earned it”. One of the original Wild Bunch, Bob’s 1964 XM is the BB/TS record holder in the 7.3 second range. 509 cubes of standard bore BBC with a supercharger spun 19 over creates around 20-25 pounds of boost with the manually shifted Lenco, so Bob is busy for all those 7.3 seconds. After being parked for the last four years, it now has a new place to play and the sport is better for wife Wendy is always by Bob’s side and just as much a fixture as Bob and the XM.

David and Trevor Tynan

JAN 4-5

1965 Chevy Impala

another generation of Tynan, in this case David (Chris’s son) to partner up with his uncle, and piece together a combo fitting of a car of its heritage.

The name Tynan is etched in folklore when it comes to anything Wild Bunchrelated with both Chris Tynan’s 55 Chevy and Trevor Tynan’s 65 Impala having no right to run as fast as they did on a dragstrip. The 65 Impala is iconic with Trevor taking its aircraft carrier dimensions, stuffing a blown BBC up front, and then putting the thing in the 7s. Like most of the original generation of Wild Bunch cars, it has undergone various transformations and upgrades over the years, but retains its classic lines which makes it a fan favourite. After sitting in a shed for the best part of way too long, a plan was hatched a couple years back for


No Flash Harry million dollar billet block and heads here. In fact a standard production block stretched out to 482 cubes, with a set of iron heads hark back to the car and the class’s heritage, the ancient 1471 Hi Helix, Crower pedal clutch and lever shifted 4 speed Lenco, making it not only time and period correct but bad ass to boot. Just who is strapped into the old girl who knows? Maybe pop your head inside and if David’s booster seat isn’t there, well I guess we all know what that means.


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JAN 4-5

Mark Gapp 1941 Willys


The first image that pops to mind when most think of the 1941 Willys is the iconic 1979 movie ‘Hot Rod”.

George McCutcheon 55 Chevy

With only a year in the seat of his beautiful yellow 55 Chevy, George McCutcheon is slowly starting to come to grips with the beast that is blown alcohol racing. Early passes made for some great photographic opportunities as George tried his best to show all sides and angles of his shoebox to the trackside photographers, but to his credit he kept it off the walls and for the most part in his own lane. With seat time comes confidence and as George’s grows, so his elapsed times have dropped, already right down into the low 7 second range, perfect for the pointy end of Wild Bunch Racing. If the 55 Chevy seems awfully familiar, that’s because it has more laps on it than most cars will see in a lifetime. More famous – or infamous – in its previous baby blue, George’s 55 is indeed the ex-Craig Brown/Murray Smith car. It’s been on fire, into the wall and on its roof but with the bad there has been an awful lot of good, dipping into the 6 second range and consistently going rounds for years.

12 Masterton Motorplex 2019

The Willys has proved just as iconic on the drag strips of the world, from a wheel standing Gasser to a low slung Promod. Mark Gapp’s version sits right in the middle. It’s a bad ass hot rod, its front lifts like a Gasser, and its monster engine and unpredictable ways remind you of the early Promods. Cutting his teeth in Super Modifieds and Sprintcars, Mark’s learning curve was steep with the odd “oops!”. But this past season Mark, wife Cheryl and the overflogged but loyal crew, just plain beat up on everyone. By seasons end, both the NZDRA and IHRA Supercharged Outlaws titles, along with the inaugural Outlaw71 and track Outlaws crowns were all in the Gapp trophy cabinet. Mark’s supercharged 572 cube BBC backed by a Hughes Glide and 40 spline 9 inch has reeled off lap after lap in the mid 7 second range, making it almost the perfect combo for Wild Bunch’s 6.99 - 7.99 guidelines.

Ryan Sheldon

around the globe.

Talk about bringing the proverbial knife to a gunfight. Well that’s how it feels for Ryan Sheldon when he takes a look at the entry list and sees the best part of 20 blown alcohol sedans entered for Wild Bunch Wars, and just the one Naturally Aspirated entry - himself!

infamous in Stephen King’s movie “Christine”.

Electrical gremlins plagued the car all year until engine failure finally ended the season early with no improvement on the previous season’s bests in the 7.80 range.

The classic lines and fins have always been a favourite, as has the philosophy of doing or having something different than the belly button race cars mass produced

The 600 cube all aluminium N/A BBC is now all fresh, as is every other mechanical component on the car, ready to hit the ground running.

Mate and insanely talented artist Kurt Goodin was responsible for The Joker paintwork.

1958 Plymouth Fury

The knife in this instance is a 1958 Plymouth Fury, made

Michael Franklin

1966 Pontiac GTO Few cars evoke the past like Michael Franklin’s bitchin’ 1966 Pontiac GTO. Back in the heyday of Wild Bunch, it was the alcohol breathing, steel bodied street cars on steroids, that defined the class. Michael’s ride not only emulates that but looks as though that’s exactly where it came from. Going on 35 years in the sport, Michael has spent the last dozen morphing the Pontiac into

the 7 second essentially stock frame rail (back halved) fan favourite that brings crowds to the fence. Look inside and you won’t see a hacked up classic with a funny car cage - even the original woodgrain dash remains in what is basically a stupidly overpowered streetcar. Despite that, the car is consistently clicking off high 7s with ease, Michael’s trade mark monster smokey burnouts added for good measure. 560 cubes of bowties finest pump out well over 1500 horses and with the combo sparked by

JAN 4-5


a MSD20 magneto with the 1071 supercharger overdriven 40% there’s more than enough to make for an exciting ride. A Dart block and Dart heads topped with Jesel Rockers make the valvetrain reliable and with 40 spline gun drilled axles encased in a Fab 9” housing out back, the BTE Poweglide can transfer the power through the Ultracase full spool to the relatively small 32” tyres with ease.

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FEB 15-16 2020


Auckland Invasion

sees New Zealand’s best Group One racers go head-to-head This year marks a significant moment for drag racing in New Zealand, with the country’s best Top Alcohol and Top Doorslammers from both the IHRA and NZDRA camps competing together for the first time in eight years.

development was the organising of a “Kiwi Thunder Group One National Series” last season by Bob Wilton, Chairman of Masterton Motorplex and Gary Bogaart, General Manager at Meremere Dragway.

What this means for patrons of Masterton Motorplex is that they will get to see the fastest drag racers in New Zealand in action.

The track bosses took advantage the fact that neither IHRA or NZDRA were running a Group One points series last season, to bring all the Group One racers back together, regardless of which governing body they belong to.

The Auckland Invasion on February 15th - 16th 2020 will see the Group One cars competing as part of the Joint National Championship Series, and then again at the March 21st - 22nd 2020 Finals of the Joint National Championship Series. The series also saw four Group One rounds across New Zealand. The genesis of this exciting

The success of Kiwi Thunder has lead to a trial run of a combined national Group One series this season and again next season. What this means for fans is a mouth-watering display of Top Alcohol and Top Doorslammer action.

“All of the big boys will be here,” says Bob. “These are the four meetings where points go towards the Group One competition so they have to come if they want to be a contender in the series points.” Top Doorslammer is the fastest sedan based category in the world, fuelled by supercharged methanol engines. Top Alcohol Dragsters also use supercharged (“blown”) engines, burning methanol, but with longer wheelbases and lower weight, and can accelerate faster than any other style of car on the planet. As its name suggests, the Auckland Invasion will also feature some of Auckland, and all of New Zealand’s best cars and drivers in other classes as well.


• a iator leano ts • e

Bob Wilton • 6 3

a iators • e air • e or

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FEB 15-16


The Altered holds the New Zealand modified record at 8.13, 165mph.

The Anthill Mob From their home base of Christchurch, The Anthill Mob started racing around 1980 with a Smallblock Chevrolet powered Fiat Topolino. Clinton, Bill and Stuart Minchington have had many race cars over the years and had great success in all of them. In the Altered driven by Stu Henley-Minchington, they hold the New Zealand modified record at 8.13, 165mph. They have also won the last four national titles in Modified. In the Funny Car driven by Bill and Clinton Minchington, turn about, they have won several national titles in Supercharged Outlaws and run a best of 6.76 at 199mph. “Travelling with the family as a

team is definitely a highlight for us, says Stuart. “It’s great to get out and see the country with our race cars and meet new people.”

The Funny Car has won several title titles in Supercharged Outlaws. Photo: Grahams Glimpses Photography

The Anthill Mob have a 2002 carbon fibre Camaro bodied Funny Car powered by a Blown and Injected 532ci big block Chevrolet engine which runs in the Supercharged Outlaws.

They also have a 27t Altered powered by a naturally aspirated 496ci Big Block Chevrolet that runs in Modified.

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Tamara Silk

McKinney top alcohol Dragster

Roger Binnema 1996 Honda Accord

Roger Binnema’s Honda Accord has been campaigned across New Zealand for 18 years, with the car and crew making numerous appearances at every track in the country. This may not sound like an achievement, but when you have to travel from almost the bottom of New Zealand to Auckland for example, that is a 3000km return trip over six days.

Photo: Barracuda Photography

The 1996 Honda Accord Sedan was built using a brand-new body shell and was first campaigned in 1998. The car was never registered on the road. The current combination uses a 400-cubic inch small block Chevrolet-based Dart block, with 245 AFR cylinder heads, and a 14-71 supercharger.

The team’s trusty Ford Transit Van has travelled an impressive 125,000km, purely with race-car-towing duties!

A Power Glide transmission with Dominator convertor gets the power out to the obligatory Ford nine-inch diff. A pair of 33x16x15 Hoosier tyres get that all down to the ground.

One of the real good-guys of the sport, Roger has accumulated numerous wins in Supercharged Outlaws, along with other classes which have been contended over the years.

The car has had so many wins that the trophies have had to go into storage! It is currently the #1 Top Street car and built to the rules of that class. It has a personal best quarter mile of 7.26 seconds @ 195mph.

The daughter of successful drag racer Robin Silk, Tamara has followed in her father’s footsteps since the age of nine, on or off, first in junior dragsters and then a 2000 Spitzer rolling chassis from the United States into which was put the 480 OCI big bloc Chev from the Chevette Robin raced in the 1980s. The car’s first full pass with a trap speed near 250kph had Tamara hooked.

FEB 15-16


Now the Kapiti Coast resident will be bringing her 2002, 280inc wheel base McKinney top alcohol Dragster to the Auckland Invasion meeting. Featuring a 509 cubic inch BBC with a screw blower and two speed transmission, the car achieved a 5.8 second pass with previous owner Bert King. Highlights for Tamara include getting her first 6 second pass, moving up to second fastest woman in New Zealand, and also coming second in NZDRA points in her old car, a modified dragster, last year. “I’m still relatively new to the top alcohol car so hoping to gain more achievements this year.”


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FEB 15-16


Rivers Family Racing Hailing from the river city Whanganui, Grant, Nicole and Adrian Rivers bring an entourage to every meeting they attend. Not people but cars! For the Auckland Invasion meeting they will be bringing their 1994 RE Dragster, 1989 Nissan Silvia S13 RE Dragster and possibly their 1965 Ford Mustang (Classics). They also have a 1999 Pontiac Firebird Top Alcohol Funny Car and 1968 Viva GT (Classics). Grant has been drag racing since 1982, Circuit since 1990 and Targa Rally since 2001. He has won numerous trophies over the

years and has held six national records, some of which still stand. He’s a life member of both Wanganui Road Rodders and NZDRA. Grant builds all the team’s race and performance engines as well as engine building and tuning for numerous circuit cars, drag racers, and boats. He is the engine builder and mechanic for the New Zealand hydroplane team, world champions in 2004 and 2007. One of his greatest achievements, Grant says, has been “watching our children develop from

Junior dragsters to Top Alcohol dragsters over 20 years, including Adrian achieving his 200mph badge.” Adrian won the Supercharged Outlaws class in 2014 to become Wanganui’s first NZDRA champion and “lives and breaths cars, motorsport, and circuit.” Nicole lists some of her greatest achievements to date as coming second in the Championship, share driving with Adrian, 8 second pass @ 17, 7 second pass @20 and “being able to race as a family.”




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MAR 21-22 2020


Fans, flames and fun

when Aeroflow Outlaw Nitro Funny Cars come to town Nitro Funny Cars, with their jets of flames, noise and speeds in excess of 440 km/h are a rare sight in New Zealand. So having Australia’s best racing in Masterton in March 2020 will be spectacular treat. The Aeroflow Outlaw Nitro Funny Cars are in New Zealand for two meetings, the first at Meremere Dragway on Saturday 22th February 2020, and then at the National Champs Series Final at Masterton Motorplex on March 21st. While the cars, drivers and crew will be deadly serious about winning, for spectators the event will be pure entertainment, promises Morice McMillin who manages the series in Australia and is bringing the tour here. “They are the drag racing equivalent of 20/20 cricket, with each car having its own character and fan following.”

The first Nitro Funny Cars emerged in the United States in the 1960s and have been in Australia since the 1970s. The Aeroflow Outlaw Nitro Funny Cars series

started six years ago and competes at seven events a year all over Australia. Morice not only manages the series, but competes with wife Monique in One Bad Kiwi.


20 Masterton Motorplex 2019

MAR 21-22 “We went over to Australia when I was invited to race in Sydney. We ended up racing at three events and then I got asked to be the manager of the Aeroflow Outlaw Nitro Funny Cars series. “Nitro Funny Cars are a whole different animal,” says Morice. “Everything I had learned about methanol powered cars had to be rolled up and put in the bin, and I had to start again.” There are 20 Nitro Funny Cars in the series, with eight coming to Masterton Motorplex including One Bad Kiwi.

Morice hales from New Zealand. Starting out as an eight-year-old junior racer, by the time he was 19 Morice was racing methanol top alcohol cars with Monique.

Image is very important with each car having its own identity and fans who follow it. The series is very familyoriented, says Morice. At the Masterton Motorplex event there will be a kids zone in the pit area which children get into for free.


“Every car has its own ‘hero card’ signed by the driver which children can collect.” The format of the competition is designed to be spectator-friendly with the first race at 1pm and the last at 5pm. “You don’t have to be there with the kids all day waiting to see your favourite car. You can come for the show, have a good time, and then mow the lawns the next day.” The series uses a different system to the normal elimination rounds of drag racing. “Each car does three runs over the afternoon. Win, lose or draw, the next round they come out again. So kids that coming along to see their favourite car and driver see them race a number of times.”

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MAR 21-22 2020

Chelsea and The Sheriff “The Sheriff” will be outnumbered by “Outlaws” when the Aeroflow Outlaw Nitro Funny Cars come to town for Masterton Motorplex’s last meeting of the season on March 21st 2020. But 23-year-old Chelsea Leahy is certain to have the crowd on her side as she wheelstands The Sheriff for a full 400 metres of the track at speeds in excess of 160km/h, siren blaring and lights flashing. The Leahy family are a familiar name around Willowbank Raceway in Brisbane, with third generation racer Chelsea the latest in a string of champion racers from the Leahy lineage. “It all started with my grandfather Roly,” explains Chelsea. “He’d been racing since the sixties, and I think there’s about six of us now in the family that actively drag race.” Following in the footsteps of her grandfather Roly and father

22 Masterton Motorplex 2019

Greg, Chelsea assumed the driver’s seat in the family’s Junior Dragster as a 15-year-old, and then drove her own retro classic front engine dragster in the Mid Eliminator class. In March 2018, Chelsea inherited The Sheriff from her brother Josh Leahy, who has gone on to drive The Bandit Nitro Funny Car which will be coming to Masterton as well. Driving The Sheriff took a bit of getting used to, Chelsea says. “All the weight is at the back

of the car to make it easier to do wheel stands. Once the front wheels are in the air, I use the hand brake to control the wheelstand. The first few times I found it quite hard to control. For added effect, the Nitro Sheriff produces a flame show to entertain the crowd. Fans of all ages love The Sheriff but especially children, who Chelsea loves to talk to when not on the track. “I’m really excited about visiting New Zealand for the first time as part of Aeroflow Outlaw Nitro Funny Cars. It is something I am definitely looking forward too.”

MAR 21-22

Nitro girl power


Racing runs in the family for Emma Begley. Emma will be driving one of the eight Aeroflow Outlaw Nitro Funny Cars at Masterton Motorplex on March 21st 2020. “My dad [Anthony Begley] has raced since he was 25. I grew up around our local race track in Perth. He got me into it as well.” Emma started out in Junior Dragsters as an 11-year-old and by the time she had reached 16 had graduated to street cars, driving her father’s 11 second Holden ute. Two years later she was Australia’s first woman to obtain her Nitro Funny Car licence at just 18, sharing driving duties with her father in the family’s own nitro funny car “Groove’n”. “I’ll tell you what, nothing can get you ready for that,” Emma said at the time on the Perth Motorplex website. “Dad had explained to me what it felt like and what I would experience, but even after all his

passes, nothing can describe it.”

Nitro Funny Car a “hobby and a bit of fun”.

At the beginning of this season, the now 21-year-old was asked by Graeme and Wendy Cowin to drive one of their cars – “Let’s Boogie” – in the Aeroflow Outlaw Nitro Funny Cars series in Australia, joining her dad who drives “LA Hooker” for the Cowins.

Emma starts to feel the nerves a week or so before each race. “Once you are in the car, you have a job to do and the nerves disappear. But it is good to be nervous because you have to have a lot of respect for the car as a driver.”

Emma’s personal best is E.T 5.60 at 417 kph. She has yet to beat her father. “He wins the races so far. It comes down to experience and the tune-up. A lot of different things can affect a race.” A training nurse by profession, Emma calls racing an Outlaw

The Aeroflow Outlaw Nitro Funny Cars series is all about entertainment, Emma says. “The whole point of the event, from a driver’s point of view, is to put on a show for the crowd. There is something for everyone. The kids love it. They meet the drivers and get to sit in the cars, and there are all sorts of activities for them to do.”

Masterton Motorplex 2019 23

MAR 21-22 2020

Nitro Express CAR: 57 Chev Belair, Nitro Express DRIVER: Rick Gauci TUNER: Graeme Cowin BEST ET: 5.38 BEST KPH: 434

Driving one of the most iconic funny cars in the southern hemisphere has its pressures. When that car is owned and tuned by the Guru of Nitro Graeme Cowin there is even more. For Rick Gauci, pilot of the Nitro Express, none of that matters when he is strapped in the black 57 known within the class as “the Chev”. AGE: Depends on the day STATE: NSW OCCUPATION: Finance ADVICE FOR YOUNG RACERS: The hard yards in the garage produces the good results on the track. DREAM CAR: Inferno 1ST CAR: Torana

1ST CAR YOU TOOK DOWN A DRAG STRIP: Supercharged Outlaw HQ Holden. HARDEST THING YOU HAVE EVER DONE IN DRAGRACING? Be involved in the politics EASIEST THING YOU HAVE EVER DONE IN DRAGRACING? Waiting for the crew to pick me up after a pass, It’s the only time you get to relax.

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14 Bidwills Cutting Road, Greytown 0800 00 00 88 or 06 304 9441 E:

MAR 21-22 2020

The Terminator CAR: 1969 Camaro


TUNER: Justin Walshe

Well, he is either driving the Berzerk Nitro Altered or his own Pro Alcohol Altered.

BEST ET: 5.60

AGE: 44


STATE: Queensland

DRIVER: Justin Walshe

Justin Walshe will be behind the wheel of the sleek looking “Terminator” 69 Camaro Nitro Funny car. Justin doesn’t only drive the Terminator Camaro but he also tunes both the Terminator and the Dark Horse. What does Justin do in his off weekends?

ADVICE TO YOUNG RACERS: Respect your parents and opponents and race yourself not the racer in the other lane. DREAM CAR: Nitro Altered with a current NHRA Big Show Funny Car set up in it. 1ST CAR: HQ Holden Premier.

HARDEST THING YOU HAVE DONE IN DRAGRACING: Staging my car at the 2019 Winter Nationals in the final of Pro Alcohol and knowing that I could not stand on the throttle and make a pass as the motor was wounded and had 20 pounds of oil pressure. EASIEST THING YOU HAVE DONE IN DRAGRACING: Spent money that I didn’t have on parts that I didn’t really need. FAVOURITE PART OF ONFC: Travelling to new tracks and meeting all the new fans.

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MAR 21-22 2020

King Kong CAR: Pontiac Trans-Am, Kong Kong DRIVER: Brandon Gosbell BEST ET: 5.99 BEST KPH: 381 AGE: 24

The Bandit Express

STATE: Queensland

CAR: Pontiac Trans-Am, The Bandit

OCCUPATION: Landscaping

DRIVER: Josh Leahy

ADVICE FOR YOUNG RACERS: If you want something bad enough, put all your energy into working towards that goal. Nothing worth having comes easily!

TUNER: Morice McMillin BEST ET: 5.52 BEST KPH: 422

DREAM CAR: Nitro Funny Car!

AGE: 26

1ST CAR: Toyota Hilux.



OCCUPATION: Accountant

HARDEST THING YOU HAVE EVER DONE IN DRAGRACING: Running over 200mph for the first time on a motorcycle.

ADVICE FOR YOUNG RACERS: Do what you enjoy doing and always give 100% DREAM CAR: Nitro Funny car. 1ST CAR: V6 Holden Ute, I thought I was so cool driving it to school. 1ST CAR YOU TOOK DOWN A DRAGSTRIP: Junior Dragster when I was 10. First car after juniors was a 71 Camaro that ran 10s. HARDEST THING YOU HAVE EVER DONE IN DRAGRACING: Build up the courage to mash the loud pedal in an Outlaw Nitro Funny Car.

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Masterton Motorplex 2019-2020  

Masterton Motorplex 2019-2020