Wed | Nov 14, 2018

Rewards after Vernamfield drag

Published:Sunday | August 14, 2016 | 12:00 AMNeville Graham
Ashli O'Connor's Subaru Impreza (right) races ahead of a white Toyota Starlet.
Part of the crowd at a previous drag race meet held at Vernamfield, Clarendon.
Nigel Wilmot with his Suziui Samurai at the Vernamfield drag strip, Clarendon, on Sunday, July 24.
Neville Hogg in his blue Supra doing a burnout.
Neville Hogg in his blue Supra (left) and Nicholas Manley in his red Supra leave the starting point at drag meet at Vernamfield, Clarendon, on Sunday, July 24.

The frustration at the Sunday, July 24, meet is nearly forgotten, and on Tuesday, drivers got a chance to relive some of the Vernamfield thrills at the awards presentation for the Supligen Drag Racing Challenge #3 at C&C South Beach, Barbican Road, St Andrew.

The awards were conferred on the fastest cars rather than on winners. Clerk of the course, Verdane Wallace, had halted the meet at 6:35 p.m. in fast-fading light, which made it dangerous for man and machine to go down the quarter-mile.

The action was hot all day as over 140 well-prepped cars came ready for all-out pedal-to-metal action. Meet organisers can take a bow for thinking of everything, including a state-of-the-art starting tree and instant read-outs for track times, speed, and drivers' reaction times.

The sun blazed all day except at the time of the elimination round, when grey clouds started amassing in the distance. Drivers got busy and put on their game faces (and, where necessary, the nitrous bottles came out of hiding). Just when they had completed the first round of the elimination series and were halfway through the second round, the bad luck started.

A Nissan B13, modified to the hilt, was doing the obligatory burnout in the left lane to warm up the tires when it suffered catastrophic failure. Black oil and chunks of hot parts were evidence that the expensive engine was now no more than scrap metal. The ensuing clean-up was done in less than 20 minutes. No sooner had that been done when a Team Myzery Honda Civic, doing its own burnout in the right lane, blew an oil seal, depositing litres of oil on the track and necessitating even more clean-up.

Then the rain came.

A rush ensued to finish cleaning up the oil, and there were prayers that the rain would blow over quickly - and it did. By the time the track had been dried out and adjustments made, two valuable hours were lost.

The organisers were desperate to give loyal patrons something to go home with, and they found it in the Riley's International nine seconds class. Two Toyota Supras left their lairs to settle the question of which was the fastest car at the meet.




Nicholas Manley and Neville 'Chookuh' Hogg had been obliterating the competition all day. Both cars sport the legendary 2JZ inline six-cylinder engine. Chookuh had slapped on a massive Precision turbocharger, forcing in 32lb of boost and cranking out just less than 1,000 hp, which was transferred to the wheels through a two-speed Powerglide transmission. Huge Mickey Thompson 28" x 10.5" tyres put the power to the pavement. Manley's car has similar specs with a standard four-speed transmission. Put into perspective, both cars have eight to 10 times the power of the average Corolla.

When they lined up in the fading light, the smoke from the burnout was enough to tame all mosquitoes around. Then with a mighty roar and a wiggle of the tails, both cars were off in a flash. Hogg did the quarter-mile in 9.582 seconds, while Manley was a humbling one second behind in 10.512 - but still not disgraced.

National Drag Racing Circuit (NDRC) policy is that the top qualifier in each incomplete class is presented with the sponsor prizes normally awarded to each class winner. Therefore, prizes were presented to fastest qualifiers below:

- NDRC Street 16: Kemar Rodriques, 16.022, Toyota Corolla

- NDRC Super Street 15: Nigel Wilmot, 15.061, Suzuki Samurai

- Superior Parts 14: Joel Rattray, 14.030

- NDRC Pro Street 13: Miguel Graham, 13.040, Honda Civic

- Auto King 12: Seymour Anderson, 12.035, Nissan Sunny

- BOOSTane 11: Robert Barker, 11.139, Honda Civic

- Maggi 10: Kirk Douglas, 10.658 Mitsubishi Evo 4

Maggi 10 special presentation to finalists:

Ian Galbraith - Subaru Impreza WRX STi

Audie Cowan - Honda Civic

Riley's International 9, runner-up: Nicholas Manley - 10.512 Toyota Supra

Riley's International 9, winner: Neville Hogg - 9.582 Toyota Supra