Photo, Brian Came of Wheels in Motion Photography.
Jonathan Gregson, of Wellsford, has caught the attention of the New Zealand drag racing circuit in his first season, being named “Rookie of the Year” at the NAPA Auto Parts Dragway Comp Series.
Gregson drives a front-engine dragster, powered by a naturally aspirated 166 cubic inch, four cylinder, Fontana engine.
His best time and speed to date, over a quarter mile, is 9.583 seconds at 136.2mph. That is the equivalent of accelerating from 0 to 220kph in 400 metres in 9.5 seconds. That time is just 0.13 milliseconds off the current class record, which stands at 9.453 seconds. Gregson says he intends to break the record next year.
Gregson had to get his International Hot Rod Association racing licence in November 2020 before he could compete. It involves several tests in front of officials. He passed, and competed in his first event the very next day.
He says he has been through a massive learning curve over the past racing season, getting to grips with the raw power, acceleration and unpredictability of a front-engine dragster.
The 2021/2022 season will see him compete in a team for the NZ Drag Racing Championship in the modified class.
The series involves eight rounds at drag strips across the country, including at Meremere, Masterton, Motueka, Tokoroa and Ruapuna.
Gregson thanks his crew members Cedric, Melanie, Kim, Glen and Leonard for a successful season.