Power not the only way to win

cDrag king . Burt Munro Challenge twilight drags modified division winner Cole Scammell and his Suzuki Hayabusa. PHOTO: SHAWN MCAVINUE

In a series, motoring reporter Shawn McAvinue spends five minutes with Dunedin motorsport enthusiasts and asks them about their passion for their form of racing.

Five minutes with … Burt Munro Challenge twilight drags modified division winner Cole Scammell, of South Dunedin.

Q: What event did you compete in at the Burt Munro Challenge in Invercargill earlier this month?

I competed in every event apart from speedway. I did the hill climb, street race, sprint races, the beach races and the drags. I did everything on a Honda CRF450 motard, expect for the drags at Teretonga Park, which was on a Suzuki Hayabusa (GSX1300R). It’s a busy week tired – the most tired I’ve ever been is at the end of the Burt. This year, I modified my Hayabusa to run nitrous oxide.

Q: Are you a bike mechanic?

No, I’m a joiner.

Q: How did the Hayabusa perform on nitrous oxide?

It has 160hp at the wheel but when the nitrous is on, you’re full-on 200hp all the way.

Q: When do you release the nitrous?

As soon as I hit wide open throttle, the nitrous comes in, with some extra fuel.

Q: What speed did you hit?

The jury is still out, but I heard 155mph (250kmh). The next fastest competitor was 143mph.

Q: Did you have the gruntiest bike on the drag track?


Q: What’s your secret to going faster then?

A lot of it is my suspension set-up. I don’t make a lot of power so my start has to be really good – I have to get off the line really quickly and I learnt to drag race at Teretonga. A proper drag strip has a form of glue on it to give you traction, and Teretonga doesn’t have that, so I got really good at not “wheelieing” and not spinning the tyre off the line – just a dead smooth launch.

Q: How many years have you been drag racing at Burt Munro?

Three. The first year I got third in the Bears Street class. Last year I won the competition bike class and this year I won the modified bike class. I’m chasing points this year in the national series and I’m fourth after Burt. If I can get to the semifinals, I’ve got a good chance of winning the final in Masterton. To get a national title would be pretty big.

Q: Any other goals?

I’ve only run the nitrous once and my goal is to run it again on a good track and really launch it hard and see if I can run eights. If I can finish the season with a national title and an eight second time slip, that’d be good.

Q: What do you like about drag racing?

I’ve always been a fan of accelerating quickly and going fast is something I seem to be good at.