Huge Milestone For Teretonga

Published: Wed 7 Nov 2007 02:01 PM
Blast From The Past Marks Huge Milestone For Teretonga
There would be few more suitable descriptions of this Saturday's motor racing at Teretonga than a Blast From The Past, and that is exactly how the event is being promoted.
Blast From The Past presented by Fulton Hogan is part of a weekend of celebrations to mark the fact that Teretonga this month becomes the first motor race circuit in the country to reach it's 50th Anniversary. While there is a full weekend of activity planned to mark the occasion, on Saturday attention will turn to a special race meeting restricted to cars and/or drivers who have previously competed at the circuit. More than two hundred and forty race meetings have been held at Teretonga since the first one took place on 30 November 1957.
With a full programme of races for Classic Saloons, Racing Cars, Sports Cars, Motorcycles and the Noel McIntyre Drainage Clubmans Saloons over one hundred and thirty competitors will be racing on Saturday.
One of them, Doug MacDonald of Marahau near Motueka, will be racing again after appearing at that historic first meeting fifty years ago. MacDonald will appear in the Southern Paints Sports & Racing Car Class in his 1960 Alfa Romeo replica built by Herb Gilroy in Auckland. Fifty years ago MacDonald competed in a MGTD at the first meeting on the circuit. "It was a stinking hot day," he remembers. "The tar melted and I remember I couldn't take the sharp corner at the back of the circuit any faster than 20 mph. Later, after the meeting finished, I took Des Kilkelly one of the leading lights behind the circuit for a ride and the tar had cooled again and you could get round that corner at 40 mph. MacDonald, who lived on the main highway just south of Mataura, raced many times at Teretonga until he left the area in 1969. "It will be a bit of a kick to drive around again," he say's of his return after all these years.
The class also features Ralph Smith's Lycoming and Rob Boult's Allard while three members of the same family, David and Karen Clearwater and their daughter Louise drive Furore's.
Several other names and cars from the past will reappear in the EnviroSouth Classic Saloon car races. Current V8 Championship competitor Inky Tulloch will appear in the Chev Camaro Z28 with which he won the NZ Saloon Championship in 1976. Murray Kelman brings back his 1975 Bargain Corner Clubmans Championship winning car, a 1960 Ford Anglia, while Jeff Owen returns from the United States to drive a Honda CRX. These are just three of more than thirty cars in the field which range from Scott O'Donnell's Porsche GT3 and Rick Michels BMW M3 through to Anglia's, Vitesses and Rodger Cunninghame's 1964 Ford Fairlane.
Three Formula 5000 cars will grace the Invercargill Partsworld Racing Cars grid. Invercargill's Noel Atley will drive Begg 018, while Steve Ross of Dunedin and Kerry Anderson of Hong Kong will both be at the wheel of Lola's. Former New Zealand Formula Ford Champion LeRoy Stevenson, now of Queenstown, makes his first racing appearance since the 2005 New Zealand Grand Prix while newcomer 14-year-old Damon Leitch will be in his Van Diemen. Fittingly there will be three Begg's in the field including Atley's car.
An excellent field of motorcycles has been assembled for the Newfield Autos Motorcycle Races with Neil Neilson aboard a 650 Norton and Neville Hayes on a 750cc Rickman Trident amongst the entries.
The occasion has brought forth a bumper entry of over thirty cars in the Noel McIntyre Drainage Clubmans races led by current New Zealand and South Island OSCA Champion, Colin Dawson of Invercargill in his 6 litre Mazda RX7.
Saturday's programme will be a full one commencing with practice at 10.00am. Twenty races follow in what will be a very special race meeting in the context of this country's motor racing history.
Admission is $15 for adults with children under 14 free.
The weekend also includes a get-together at the circuit's clubrooms on Friday evening while after Saturday's race meeting a Commemorative Dinner and Chat Show will be held at the Ascot Park Hotel in Invercargill. On Sunday, a standing 1/4 event, luncheon and circuit drives will be held at Teretonga for those registered for the celebrations.

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