New Zealand’s Funny Car summer

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When the opportunity came up to tour New Zealand and race Nitro Funny Cars, both Anthony Begley and Christine Steffens could not have been more excited.
Both teams took the opportunity to not only see some of New Zealand’s famous scenery but also show race fans at Taupo Thunder Dragway what big show nitro cars are all about.

After rain curtailed the first event on December 28, the teams returned on January 2 for another shot and impressed with some strong shots to half track. Due to the Taupo strip being part of a circuit, track preparation only goes to the eighth mile mark, so after that things get a bit slippery for 8000 horsepower fuel coupes.
“The (track) crew did their best to prepare the track under restricted conditions,” Begley said. “It was good out to half track but after that no rubber or VHT could be put down because it was a part of the circuit track.
“Our best pass was 6.15, on our second pass the car went lean at 1000 feet and lifted the supercharger. I ended up on the grass at 222mph. The track staff were happy I oiled the grass not the track.”

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Taupo’s circuit can be seen in the background. It meant track preparation was limited after the eighth mile mark. Image by Popeye Pics.

Begley said the New Zealand spectators were excited about seeing ‘Chemical Warfare’, owned by Queensland’s Rod Bailey, and Steffens’ ‘Croc’ car.
“We have been looked after by Chris, John and the team at Taupo and have had a fantastic time,” he said. “The racers and spectators were really enthusiastic and just could not get enough of the smell of nitro.
“If anyone has the opportunity to come to Taupo it’s a fantastic experience – great people and a great place.”
Steffens said she was happy with the half track blasts they were making.
“Anthony and I had three passes yesterday. The Croc did three great eighth mile passes that were straight down the middle,” she said.

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Christine with husband Ricky, left, playing the touring racer role well in New Zealand. Image by Popeye Pics.

The teams all made sure they got to spend some time playing tourist as well.
“In between the two meetings the teams took in some of the local sights,” she said. “Both teams enjoyed a bit of down time at Wai-O-Tapu Thermal Wonderland waiting for the Lady Knox Geyser to erupt.”
At the time of writing Steffens was awaiting something almost as exciting as a pass in a Nitro Funny Car.
“We met the owner of the Rapids Jet Boat ride on New Year’s Eve and we are all going for a jet ride at lunch time!” she said.

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The touring Aussies enjoyed seeing some of the sights of New Zealand, including Lady Knox Geyser.

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Anthony Begley’s daughter Emma enjoys the Taupo atmosphere as his back up girl for the day. Image by Popeye Pics.

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It wasn’t all smooth sailing with a lifted supercharger for Begley seeing him go on a wild ride on to the grass.

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Anthony Begley burns out in Chemical Warfare. Image by Popeye Pics.

Click here to see our earlier story on the NZ Funny Car tour and be sure to leave a message in our Facebook comments section below on what you think of the story and anything you’d like to say to the teams!



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