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Ready to race . . . Timaru driver Warwick Williams in his 1955 Ford 100 and Oamaru driver Neil Robertson in his 1975 Camaro line up at November's drag racing event at Oamaru Airport. PHOTO: CAROL EDWARDS

The smell of burning rubber, oil and smoke will again emanate from Oamaru Airport when drag racing returns on Saturday.

Drag racing made a comeback in Oamaru in 2013 after a hiatus of more than a decade and has become steadily more popular with competitors and spectators.

Saturday’s event is the first of two scheduled for 2017. The second is to take place in November.

Whitestone Rodders member and race organiser Kevin Boler said about 90 cars and 10 motorcycles were expected to take part in Saturday’s racing, which was open to all drivers and vehicles and featured a timed quarter-mile run.

“It’s still a street race, just for street cars with a warrant and registration. As long as you bring a crash helmet, you can race anything you’ve got.”

He said it was the perfect way for drivers to let off some steam – or smoke, in this case – without having to fret about attracting the attention of the local constabulary.

“They can have fun in a safe environment and not worry about the red and blue lights being on them.”

It was just as exciting for the spectators too, he said.

“It’s a good, relaxed time. People can wander around the pits, look at the cars and talk to the drivers and so on. It’s a cheap day out for $5 a head.”

Mr Boler believed the sport had grown locally in recent times, a trend he expected to continue.

“Each meet, we’ve had we’ve had a lot of different people come out and have a go. They see a run and see the fun and think, ‘I could have a go at that.”‘

Scrutineering starts at 8am and racing is scheduled to get under way at 10am.