For former drag racer Chris Daley, simply driving fast in a straight line wasn’t enough. He desired the smell of smoke, the thrill of tyres screeching and the excitement of pushing his car to the utmost limit.
Lucky for Mr Daley he discovered the sport of competitive burnouts, and even luckier for New Zealand he was pretty good at it.
So good at it that he has become the first ever competitor from the South Island to qualify for the prestigious Summernats Burnout Masters in Canberra next year.
The Te Anau local finished third this year in the New Zealand Burnout Championships (NZBC) which qualified him for the event in Australia, which is seen as the ‘world championships’ for competitive burnouts.
Mr Daley said the opportunity to compete against the best competitors in the world was something he had been aiming for since he started the sport.
“It’s amazing. It’s bucket list stuff you know, it’s a dream come true really. Even just to get to Summernats and see it, let alone taking your own car there, then actually being there for masters as well.”
The 2020 competition will have the largest contingent of New Zealand racers ever, with Summernats organisers opening up more spots as the sport increases in popularity across the country.
Mr Daley said the NZBC had to limit itself to only 55 entries due to demand, with crowds of up to 5000 people often attending some of the events nationally.
He also said the sport was a great way for young people to get off the streets and use their passion for burnouts in a more competitive environment.
“You’re doing it in controlled environments… you’re not upsetting the community. Everyone puts it down to it’s just young hoons and bogans doing it, but some of these guys are tied up by putting a lot of money into their cars. The young guys can’t afford those things but they are coming through and their driving skills are improving too. These young fellas come up through the ranks and they’re getting way up there in the points and doing really well.”
Mr Daley’s challenge now is to raise $25,000 to cover the costs of transporting his specially designed car made for competitive burnouts to Australia, along with his support crew, which includes his fiancee and co-driver Nicole Campbell.
He plans to raise the money through sponsorship as well as selling merchandise from his team SYCO 8 Racing.
This article was originally written for The Advocate. You can read the published version here