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Grandma, granddaughter medal at August drags

MANA — Alma Koetje took the Muscle V8 class and her granddaughter Sophia Koetje medalled in the Junior Dragster class during the August edition of the Garden Isle Racing Association drag races hosted at the Mana Raceway Park.

Grandma Alma negotiated the quarter-mile track on an Estimated time of 12.23 seconds, reaching a top-end speed of 112.78 mph, and staying inside her 12.20 dial-in time.

That was enough to push her ahead of Kevin Suga who finished in the medal count as runner up in his ‘85 Toyota pickup that clocked a 12.14 ET, reaching 111.54 mph on his 12.06 dial-in. Runner up in the class belonged to Lacin Montemayor in his ‘87 Chevy S10 pickup.

Granddaughter Sophia was pit against Ryant Sakamoto in the finals of the Junior Dragster class, and settled for runner-up after piloting her ‘00 Jr. Dragster to a 13.33 ET, reaching 47.11 mph on a 13.12 dial-in. Sakamoto took the whole shot in his ‘14 Half Scale Jr. Dragster that whizzed to a 7.93 ET, reaching 83.14 mph on a 7.90 dial-in. Shalia Vierra in a ‘14 Half Scale Jr. Dragster topped the semifinal run.

These were just two of the slate of races presented when the GIRA hosted Aug. 7 drag races for a controlled number of spectators due to the COVID-19 guidelines. Spectators adhered to the face masks and social distancing guidelines.

Kelsie Iida-Vierra topped the Top Gun class by speeding her ‘03 Spitzer Dragster to a 7.71 ET, reaching top-end speed of 171.38 mph on a 7.80 dial-in over Riley Takayama who piloted his ‘48 Flat Topolino to an 8.11 ET, reaching 164.42 mph on a 7.95 dial-in. Calvin Costa topped the class semifinals in his ‘68 Camaro SS.

Gilbert Barretto took the Pro ET class in his ‘67 Chevy Camaro moving to an 11.49 ET, hitting a top-end speed of 171.38 mph on an 11.15 dial-in, pushing Chris Bonilla to the runner-up position after Bonilla’s ‘70 Opel GT red-lighted, the car moving to a 10.89 ET, reaching 92.86 on a 10.20 dial-in. Gabby Saiki topped the semis in the class in her ‘95 Honda Civic.

Keanu Dotario topped the Sport Compact class in his ‘99 Honda Civic that hit a 14.03 ET, reaching 97.62 mph on a clean run over Bugzee Bargayo. Joshua Cabral and Brie Saiki filled in the semifinal bracket.

Craig Fujimoto took his ‘85 Buick Regal to a 10.73 ET, reaching 124.71 mph on a 10.75 dial-in to take the Super Pro class over Donaven Gomes’ red light whose ‘80 Dodge ran an 8.84 ET reaching 148.51 mph on an 8.90 dial-in. Wendall Nonaka, in his ‘87 Buick Regal, and Terry Ricard in his ‘65 Ford Falcon filled the semifinal bracket.

Santo Munoz ran his bike to a 9.24 ET reaching 138.53 mph on a 9.20 dial-in to take the Bike ET class over Adam Beetles whose ‘09 Kawasaki Concours hit an 11.22 ET on speed of 125.73 mph on a 10.95 dial-in. Arnel Aceret on a ‘08 Yamaha R6, and Matthew Kaleioha on a ‘03 Suzuki GSX 1300 R filled the semifinals bracket.

“The next race is ‘To Be Determined,’” said the GIRA Board of Directors. “As per the National Hot Rod Racing Association, the Centers for Disease Control, as well as our state and county guidelines, we are taking it one race at a time due to the current novel coronavirus pandemic.”


Dennis Fujimoto, staff writer and photographer, can be reached at 245-0453 or
Source: The Garden Island

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