Holy crap this is a lot of VAG! It’s only my second time to the East Coast, ever. The first time was chasing chefs around NYC and strange electronic music parties; long story… However, getting the chance to check out the Euro scene at Waterfest was just as exciting.
We flew in late Friday before the show, ate at Wawa, met the after-hours crowd and pulled into an eerily quiet hotel parking lot filled with VWs, tire smoke and one very confused cop.
The next day, we arrived at Raceway Park in Englishtown, NJ for Waterfest. If you haven’t been, the show is spread over two days so you can really take in this massive event and not be limited to the show car area, drag event, autocross or vendor section.
As we walked through the vendors, it was to the soundtrack of cars qualifying for the drag event. Despite the distraction, we got to see lots of new parts like the new BBS RS wheels, Forge Motorsport’s big-brake kit and even its TT RS, which they are planning to prepare for eurotuner GP later this year.
Of course, the gorilla at Unitronic’s booth was a surprise! The crowd seemed to enjoy his crazy antics almost as much as the hot French-Canadian Uni-girls.
All the vendors we spoke to were thrilled with the event. Even if the crowd didn’t seem as huge, most had a record-setting year.
The number and quality of built project cars was jaw dropping. Each of the rows in the show area was filled with the finest examples, such as David Burke’s two-month build on his ’77 Rabbit with Callaway turbo, or Paige Blaze’s creative beach scene for her Mk4 GTI, and Tom Connor’s orange Mk4 Golf VR6 with a shaved bay and chromed CCWs.
Inevitably, there were so many cool cars it was almost impossible to make our selection for these pages. Sadly, we had to cut down our 1000 photos to a more manageable number for the magazine. However, we’ve added a gallery to eurotuner.com with a bigger selection of the cars that didn’t quite make it.
So sit back and enjoy our Waterfest show recap. Remember to wash your hands after flushing and don’t let your legs go numb if you’re on there too long!
As always, Waterfest held its drag racing contests, dividing the entrants into four categories with Bracket 1 for cars running 16.5sec quarters or slower. Bracket 2 was for 14.50-16.49sec, with Bracket 3 for cars that could run 14.49sec or quicker. Each car must declare a dial-in time and try to finish closest to it without going faster.
Then there’s the Outlaw class, with no limit on mods, tires or times, where the fastest car wins an elimination battle. The Bracket races take place on both days, while the Outlaws were limited to Sunday only.
On Saturday, Bracket 1 was won by Alexander Sokolov in his ’01 Audi A4 wagon with a time of 17.624sec at 80.05mph on a 17.65sec dial-in (DI). He beat Jesse Farquhar in round two to win the final against Wayne Farquhar; a feat he’d repeat on Sunday with a 17.341 at 80.78 on a 17.3sec DI.
The Farquhars are regular competitors and regular winners in this event, so must have been gutted to lose by such small margins on both days.
Bracket 2 was the most popular, with 21 cars competing on Sunday. On Saturday, the final was won by Bryan Diffey in his ’05 Audi A4 with a time of 15.298sec at 91.08mph after Nick Anselmo fouled out in his ’02 Beetle.
Sunday again saw Nick in the final but this time he was beaten fair ’n square by John Hudak in his ’85 Jetta, who ran 15.332sec at 92.63mph on a 15.2sec DI.
Bracket 3 was won by Nick White on Saturday in his ’92 Corrado with a 14.605sec ET at 98.26mph on a 14.4sec DI. While Sunday’s race went to Robert Hagans in his ’04 R32 by the narrowest of margins. He ran 14.129 ET on a 14sec DI, emerging victorious over Anthony Manger who recorded 12.181sec on a 12.05sec dial-in.
Finally, the Outlaw class made an appearance on Sunday to make some noise and scare the children. With a time of 10.368sec at 146.59mph, Tim Mullen set the fastest time in the first round and let his competition know he meant business. He’d won the Spring Show & Go drag racing (et 8/11) at Raceway Park a few months earlier, and his ’94 GTI VR6 turbo was looking unbeatable.
The only other car in the 10s was Todd Pavics, who ran 10.594 at 137.57 in his ’97 Mk3 Golf 16v turbo. Predictably, both men advanced to the second round, winning their respective races with more 10sec runs, Todd recording the fastest time of the day with a 10.359sec at 146.59mph.
This put Tim and Todd in the final together, where the two men would go for gold. However, Mullen’s luck wouldn’t last and his car broke, bringing what looked like a thrilling final to an anti-climax. And with Pavics crossing the line in 10.361sec at 148.18mph, there would have been nothing to separate the two cars if both had been healthy.
Hopefully, the two of them can renew this healthy rivalry at the Fall Show & Go drag racing event…