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Radial Punishment: Lack-A-Traction’s Burnouts Taupo

24 April 2017


It might appear to be a standard Kiwi burnout competition, but Lack-A-Traction’s Burnouts Taupo was a well-oiled machine harbouring professional-level involvement



As easy as it would be to play the clichéd bogan card at an event like Lack-A-Traction Motorsport’s Burnouts Taupo, it wouldn’t be right — what’s not immediately obvious is the underlying professionalism that makes this event one of a handful working to turn over a new leaf for the local burnout scene. The end goal is to bring things up to a level similar to Australia.

With Burnouts Australia Magazine’s Grant Findlay and Sarina Mitchell in attendance with Sam Surace, driver of the ‘MADSAM’ Ford Capri, professional help and advice was not far away. What this translates to in plain English is rather simple. Of course, despite the focus on burnouts at the top tier, the grass roots can’t be forgotten, and Burnouts Taupo provided the perfect melting pot of both professional and amateur level cars and drivers. With diversity in style aplenty and the high calibre of vehicles, the badges were predominantly either Holden or Ford. This is, after all, a Kiwi burnout competition.

The competition format kept things simple. With over 40 competitors and two main rounds, the action would be near constant, with entrants lining up and doing their thing in numerical order. This gave everyone’s equipment a chance to cool down, while keeping the down time to a minimum.

With competition split into either V8 or six-cylinder classes, the top five judged competitors in each class would the go on to the top 10 final round. However, the judging format gave substantial weight to driver skill, meaning there is more of a reward for demonstrating vehicle control rather than bulk horsepower. 

One of the clear favourites, Braden Smith’s day was cut short in the second round as the blown and injected 468ci big block unexpectedly purged itself of several rods and caps. He was looking like a certain finalist up until it happened, and although it’s a big and expensive bit of misfortune, Braden has been skidding for long enough to understand that shit happens. 

David Hunter’s blown Vauxhall Viva was the dark horse, pedalling a very serious machine that most had never seen before. It’s actually been around for a while, and David knows how to drive it.  

Warren Shirtcliffe proved that you don’t need eight cylinders to put on a show, as he pounded his turbocharged Holden 3.8-powered Sunbeam Rapier to a well-deserved placing in the six-cylinder finals

In the V8 class, Paul Drew, Liz Gracie, Jonathan van Beynan, Ian ‘Sambo’ Smith, and Fraser Macaree made it through to the finals. While the battle of the sixes produced finalists of Brayden Woodmass, Phillip Morris, Isaac Carswell, Warren Shirtcliffe, and Mark McNaughton. 

Even though he final round had its ups and downs, there is absolutely no question that it also hosted the most epic showdown we may ever have seen on a Kiwi burnout pad. Liz Gracie and Paul Drew went head to head, both exhibiting textbook burnouts that, when the smoke had cleared, saw identical scores across the judging table. 

In pursuit of the most fair way to judge the two heavy-hitters, judging went to the scores of the earlier two burnouts, and even then, the consistency of quality displayed by both Paul and Liz meant Paul squeezed through to first place by the tiniest of margins. It was a truly spectacular way to finish off a competition like this, and the perfect outcome from an event the Lack-A-Traction team should feel very proud to have pulled off. 

We’ll have more coverage in an upcoming issue of NZV8, and you can stay posted with upcoming events by following the Lack-A-Traction Facebook page at 


V8 class
1: Paul Drew — Ford Falcon XC
2: Liz Gracie — Chev Camaro SS
3: Ian ‘Sambo’ Smith — Mazda RX-7

Six-cylinder class
1: Brayden Woodmass — Ford Falcon
2: Isaac Carswell — Ford Fairmont
3: Warren Shirtcliffe — Sunbeam Rapier