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Sun 24 Feb 2008, 7:00am–4:00pm

Where: Franklin, Dragway Road, Meremere, Auckland

Ticket Information:

  • Adult: $10.00
  • Car: $30.00
  • Additional fees may apply


Listed by: Mark Baker

Fifteen class one cars, almost as many Super 1600s, strong entries in the VW Challenger class all promise exciting racing as the first round of the 2008 Championship kicks off this Sunday at Meremere.

It's fortunate the ATR club has been working on its track in the off-season - they will need the space added to the front straight in order to accommodate the 15 class one race cars entered for the event this weekend.

The big battle will come as defending national Race Shocks class one champion Tony McCall fights his way through one of the biggest class fields seen in recent years. Manukau-based McCall is driving his evo-bodied SFL/PPG Cougar Porsche. He says he's ready to go, with a new engine producing 240 kW (320 bhp) and a further development of the suspension set-up that saw him dominate the early rounds of the 2007 championship.

Ranged against him are Clive Thornton in his GM V6-engined Asset Finance Southern Cross race car; Colin Meredith in Thornton's previous car, a Chenowth-Cougar with Toyota turbo power; Mike Cox in a Jimco Subaru; Neville Smith in a high tech Cougar Honda VTEC turbo and even the sport's president, this year running a new VW -style flat four engine in his car and updating to the "evo" Cougar body style.

The action will be just as intense in the Leader Products Super 1600s, where series regulars Donn Attwood, Malcolm Langley and Alan Butler will once agin join battle for class dominance with Leader's own Richard Crabb aiming to spoil the party in his agile mid-engined race car.

In The Workshop Super 1300s, six entries will fight for points. Leading racers Dean Graham, Alistair Manning and Chris Cato will be mixing it with Pete Tinsley, Paul Taylor and Nick Hall, son of veteran Super 1600 racer Kevin Hall.

Sole VW Shoppe class seven entry Mike Phillips will have the class honours all his own way but will find himself combined into one of the more populated classes to maintain the excitement.

The VW Shoppe Challengers class features a rank and file of familiar names. Greg Mullins, Geoff Matich, Paul Thomas and others will be chasing the dominant pairing of Troy Tufnell and current class champion Shawn Dickins.

In the 4X4 Accessories truck classes the biggest field is in the spectacular ThunderTruck class, where Hawkes Bay drivers Scott Nicholls, Blain Nicholls and Lofty Harrington are coming north to do battle with Roger McKay and the Asset Finance Nissan Navara of Gary Baker. There's just one class four truck entered, the Toyota Hilux of Glenn Turvey; while three production trucks will fight for points: the Mitsubishi of Nigel Newlands and the Nissan of Maurice Bain are long-standing rivals, and this year they are joined by ATR's Scott Hay.

Gates open 7.00am, with scrutineering from 8.00am to 9.30 am at the venue, off Dragstrip Road.

The event is signposted from State Highway One at the Meremere Dragstrip turnoff. Children under 16 free.

Racing starts at 10.00am.