Powercruise heads across the ditch to New Zealand for track cruising, burnouts, powerskids and drags

Photographers: Alastair Ritchie

THE Powercruise circus made its way across the ditch to New Zealand a few weekends ago. Like last year’s event, the North Island’s Hampton Downs circuit was the track of choice, as opposed to Taupo Motorsport Park from the previous few NZ Powercruises, and it seems this new venue isn’t too popular. Promoter Gup reckons they regularly got 400 cars at the Taupo events, but this time around at Hampton Downs just 100 cars turned up.

HQ Holden MonaroIt’s hard to say exactly why the turn-out was so poor this year; perhaps it’s because Hampton Downs has very short straights and a lot of turns, so there’s not much opportunity for a lot of the serious cars to really open the taps, or maybe it’s the fact that there isn’t a lot of accommodation nearby.

Chevy Camaro Pro TouringAnyway, the people that did rock up had a blast, as they essentially had the track to themselves and could lap all day if they wanted to. Besides the track cruising, there was also a burnout competition and drag racing, although only a handful of cars took part. Powercruise will be back in New Zealand in November at Taupo Motorsport Park for three days of tyre frying action.

68 Dodge Charger BlownDion D’Anvers brought his freshly built ’68 Dodge Charger down to Powercruise this year. It’s running a 440 Mopar bored out to 451 cubes with an 8/71 pump strapped on top. It’s only been running and on the road for a few weeks, so Dion didn’t feel like abusing it on track just yet.

Ford Cortina TE BlownJames Cunniffe owns this TE Cortina, which rocks a 6/71-blown and injected 347 Windsor hooked up to a Tremec five-speed and nine-inch diff. James built the car himself over a four-year period, and it’s street-registered (they’re way more relaxed with modified cars in NZ!). The Cortina clocked up a heap of track time over the weekend, with James keen to make the most of the near-empty circuit.

Mini Van RotaryOne of the more unusual cars at this Powercruise event was Brock McCarthy’s insane little rotary-powered Mini station wagon. It’s a full tube-chassis beast with rear-wheel drive and a full ’cage, while the motor is out of a Series 3 RX-7. It hauls!

66 Mustang CoupeThis is Todd Mantold’s ’67 Mustang, which he’s owned since he was a young fella. It’s running a 302 stroked out to 376ci, and pumps out around 400 ponies to the rear wheels. Todd’s been to a few Powercruises in NZ; at last year’s Hampton Downs event he blew up the ’Stang’s transmission.

Ford Five Window Hot RodThis was Glenn Longley’s first Powercruise, and he brought his cool Model A five-window coupe. It’s running a 350 Chev with a Hilborn EFI system and it’s hooked up to a five-speed T56 gearbox.

HQ Holden Ute BurnoutJoel Arcus’s tough HQ ute is packing a pretty stock LS1 topped off with an individual throttlebody intake and direct-port nitrous. The grunt hits the treads through a four-speed auto and banjo diff combo, and it has no trouble smoking the rears.

Chevy Ute BurnoutThis Chevy pick-up was an interesting choice of burnout vehicle! Didn’t do too badly either.

VK Commodore Blue MeanieThese two Commodores were favourites from the drags. The red VL is packing a boosted V8 and had no trouble dusting off this VK Blue Meanie replica.

HZ Holden Ute BurnoutThis blown HZ ute was a very nice thing and did one of the best burnouts of the weekend.

XC Falcon Ute BurnoutThis chopped XC Falcon ute was a surprise! Wonder if it was done here and shipped over to NZ or if it’s a kiwi job.