Every event will have the odd hiccup, but the Wanganui Road Rodders Club experienced a full-on hiccup fit first thing in the morning at the Wanganui Street Drags on March 1, held at Taupo Quay.
A smorgasbord of vehicles from road-going bikes to hard-case track cars turned up to burn some rubber and test their machines on the street circuit. However, only minutes into the practice session, the Christmas tree decided it wasn’t a morning person. The true extent of the problem became apparent when the loud rumbling of V8s and their brethren died out, letting the crowd know that the racers might be sitting there for awhile. After about twenty silent minutes, the roar of Steve Kerr’s Plymouth Road Runner broke the morning air, bringing a smile to people’s faces as they watched the officials abandon technology and go old school with a flag-drop start.
With hiccup number one dealt with, the crowd watched the Plymouth tear off down the track, before ejecting its oil all over the right-hand lane. A swarm of bewildered officials in high-vis gathered on the track, armed with shovels, sawdust, and a tractor to cover hiccup number two. With morning practice abandoned, and a delayed schedule throughout the day, things were not going well.
In their 29th year, the odds had been stacked against them — the weather seemed to be the only factor that worked in their favour. But the resilient club was not deterred, and put on a great show for the crowd — Tristan Teki, the club president, got into his ’68 HK Monaro and laid down a long, thick cloud of smoke to everyone’s enjoyment.
The familiar face, and even more familiar 1954 Ford Pop, of Aaron Thomas also entertained the audience, and drew a big show of admirers — no surprises there!
With the racers lining up and speeding down the asphalt in quick succession, everyone settled into the age-old debate of V8 versus import. Tension brewed as the cars took to the cross-breed final, and Wanganui’s Aaron Wood ended the argument by rocketing to the end of the eigth-mile course in his Holden Monaro. The prizes didn’t stop coming for Aaron that day, as he also received the Ivan Jones Memorial Trophy for being the best-performing local. It was great to see that the locals had persevered and come out on top, and big things are promised for next year when the event turns the big 30.