The freedom and variety of drivers and cars is a unique draw to the Lawrence Quarter-Mile Drags on April 1.
Fat-tyred T-buckets and chunky muscle cars queue up with cutting edge, microchipped street weapons, but if you’d like to log an official 440-yard time for your grandfather’s Austin Marina you’re welcome — just ask him first.
‘‘It’s a real fun community event and hugely supported,’’ Quarter Mile Club president Bill Bazely said.
‘‘So many local businesses and generous organisations are in support and we have enough award categories [that] not many drive away without a prize of some sort.
‘‘We get competitors coming from Christchurch, Dunedin, Queenstown, Invercargill and all over, so the local retailers and hospitality and accommodation sector doesn’t mind.’’
The Lawrence Quarter Mile Club has about 10 regular members and has found a big slice of competitors and spectators join them at Lawrence Golf Clubrooms at the end of hard day’s pedal-metalling for a sausage-sizzle and prizegiving.
‘‘As well as winners and placers in the official categories we have fastest local, lady and man awards, spot prizes, booby prizes and recognition for anything fun or innovative.’’
Bill himself has won titles, including in a classic 1988 Walkinshaw Commodore, and said he’d probably use his Holden Clubsport on the day.
‘‘An added bonus for us is our quarter-mile is a well-used public road. It’s cordoned and controlled on the day with local police, ambulance and fire brigade looking out for us, but it does undulate and it’s got a little wiggle in it.’’
Many of the machines on-court are dialled for pure acceleration — so standard muffler systems are likely to be laying back home on the garage workbench, and for this reason the Lawrence team recommend hearing-protection at this family-friendly event.
‘‘We’ve handled this event a few times now and we try to think of everything,’’ Quarter Mile Club secretary Sharon Bazely said.
‘‘We’ll have a coffee cart and refreshments on hand and the famous Lawrence lions barbecue bus, but you’d be wise to bring earmuffs or plugs with your sunblock and hat.’’
‘‘It really is fun,’’ Bill said, ‘‘you’ll see someone in a Corvette or Mustang . . .throw a burnout before he takes his mark, and then you’ll see your neighbour from up the road stretching the legs of his Falcon or Maxima. And we really like to see the next generations of locals giving it a go — us club old-timers will have to pass the torch to some like minded young-bloods some day.’’