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Karen Hay: Quickest and fastest female drag racer

16 June, 2014


Photo: Earl Edwards

Photo: Earl Edwards

On Sunday, April 6, the record for New Zealand’s quickest, and fastest, female was taken out by Karen Hay in her purpose-built 1927 Ford Model T roadster — powered by a twin-turbocharged 482ci big block Chev engine. The record was previously held by Faye Grant from 1990 with a longer wheelbase rear-engine dragster running a 6.629-second pass over the quarter-mile at 205.52 miles per hour.

Having already run 208 miles per hour in 2012, Karen ran 6.61 seconds at 206 miles per hour over the quarter mile to become both New Zealand’s fastest and quickest female in drag racing history. It’s a goal which Hay has been chasing since 2010 when the Hay Family Racing team purchased the car named ‘Evil II’ from the late Clive Davis. The mother-of-two started racing in 2002 after crewing for her father Lindsay for a couple of years and in 2010 she ran her first 6 second pass. The car was built by the late Warren Brogie in California, USA and has now become the world’s quickest and fastest Brogie-built roadster, adding to the excitement of the New Zealand record.

Photo: Earl Edwards

Photo: Earl Edwards

With the event at which Hay rewrote history being the Bay Rodders hosted Nostalgia Days at Fram Autolite Dragway, Meremere, the day meant a lot to Hay for multiple reasons.

Describing the day as the best day of her life, hays says: “I was hoping we were going to do it for many reasons this weekend. This meet is where my racing all started. Fram Autolite Dragway deserved to have me run the record on their track because their support has been unwavering for 12 years! I have lost two crew members along the way of this journey. I asked them in my cockpit just after my final burn out if you can help me out in any way boys, can we do it now just for Dad?”

Hay credits her success in drag racing to her parents, Lindsay and Shona Hay, and their involvement in hot rodding, jetboat racing, and drag racing.

Photo: Earl Edwards

Photo: Earl Edwards

“Hugging Dad on the return road with us both crying with tears of joy and relief is a moment I will never forget. I had always envisaged us doing it one day. What a man my father is. He is the hardest working person I know, who has the utmost integrity. He’d do anything for anyone, he never gives up, he shows kindness to many, and he and Mum have given me the opportunity that people can only dream of. The life I have been given by Mum and Dad, and the support and love I have from my family and friends, truly blows me away.”

This past season was challenging with the new set-up of turbo chargers with electronic fuel injection, but Hay always had faith in her Dad, and both father and daughter worked towards their shared dream and achieved it. With the assistance of Robert Ward of RIPS Racing, and Jason Cutelli of Infomotive (both based in Rotorua) the car consistently ran in the six second at 200 mph hour zone all weekend, getting faster and quicker on each run. It was a dream weekend, which also included running the rain-dated New Zealand Nationals final on the Saturday and winning the competition class, as well as resetting the record for the car classification of AA/Altered. Hay and the team are already talking about getting the car to run even faster and quicker next year.

The Jowett Jupiter turns 70

John Ball has always enjoyed tinkering with old boats and cars. He’s old enough to think having gearbox parts on newspaper on the floor of his bedroom, while the relevant car sat waiting on nail boxes, was a normal part of growing up. His passion has always tended towards old British bangers. He reckons he’s fortunate not to have got caught up in the American muscle scene.
John’s love affair with this Jupiter started in December 2015 when, with some time on his hands during a Christchurch trip, he searched online for ‘cars, before 1970 and in Christchurch’.

A passion for classics and customs

In the highly competitive field of New Zealand classic and custom restorations, reputations are won or lost on the ability to maintain consistently high standards of workmanship. A company managing to achieve this is D A Panel beating Ltd, of Rangiora near Christchurch. Is your classic or custom car restoration stalled, or in need of a refresh, or perhaps you are looking for experts to rebuild that recent import project out of Europe or the ‘States?