One of the oldest members of the New Zealand Drag Racing Association, Napier man Brian Finch, is set to hit the fast lane again this weekend at the drag racing nationals being staged at Taupo.

He will be part of a large field of drag racers which will reflect all ages - with the youngest drag racer just eight years old. Sophie Davison from Upper Hutt only took up having a go at the Junior Dragster class after her eighth birthday.

Mr Finch's car has plenty of Hawke's Bay history, having been raced at the old Thunderpark track which was torn up and eventually replaced by vineyards about 25 years ago.

He and drag racing colleague Steve McKay race their '36 Dodge in the heavily contested Super Sedan class.


The car draws plenty of attention with the steel body and chassis built by leading drag exponents Chung and Berry.

It had been raced in Auckland for about 20 years under the Tulley family flag.

While now dominated by an impressive giant air scoop on the bonnet, the car started life as a New Zealand Army staff car - now fitted with a General Motors 572 cubic inch engine now bored to 583 and which puts out more than 1000 horsepower.

In the hands of Mr McKay and Mr Finch it has posted times in the low 10 second bracket for the quarter mile run.

They will be part of the largest and most impressive field of drag race cars and motorcycles to assemble0 at Taupo for many years, with the event being staged at the Taupo Thunder Dragway, which is part of the Bruce McLaren Motorsport Park on Saturday and Sunday.

More than 160 drivers are expected to compete in a dozen classes for cars and motorcycles.