NORTH CAN­TER­BURY CLAS­SIC TOUR

New Zealand Classic Car - - CONTENTS - Words and pho­tos: Trevor and Lor­raine Stan­ley-joblin

The North Can­ter­bury Clas­sic Tour was held this year on Sun­day, March 25. A well- es­tab­lished event on the clas­sic ve­hi­cle cal­en­dar, its his­tory goes back to 2003 when the in­au­gu­ral Tour started at the Kaikanui Ho­tel in Ka­iapoi, on March 2. That year, 78 en­tries were re­ceived, which was twice the num­ber that the or­ga­niz­ers were ex­pect­ing.

The desti­na­tion on that oc­ca­sion was Karen James’ Holm­wood Hill Gallery and Bob Bell’s clas­sic col­lec­tion in Kaik­oura. The fol­low­ing year, en­try num­bers al­most dou­bled to 148, and en­tries con­tin­ued to grow each year, reach­ing to 252 in just five years. That year, the ve­hi­cles’ desti­na­tion was Am­ber­ley House, which was, at the time, the home of the mayor and may­oress of the Hu­runui Dis­trict, Garry and Loretta Jack­son.

Other des­ti­na­tions over the past 15 years have in­cluded Lake Co­leridge; Wa­iau; a home­stead at View Hill in Ox­ford; Saint Anne’s La­goon in Che­viot; Gore Bay; Glen­tun­nel; Horo­rata (where coun­try and western singer John Grenell en­ter­tained par­tic­i­pants at day’s end); Greta Val­ley; Peel For­est; Weka Pass Rail­way; Iron Ridge Quarry in the Waipara Val­ley; and many other small towns where a visit to lo­cal mu­se­ums was in­cluded, such as Hawar­den and Ox­ford.

From 2005 un­til 2013, the tour de­parted from the New Brighton Mall car park; how­ever, ow­ing to the badly dam­aged roads lead­ing to New Brighton, the start point was brought in closer to the coun­try­side vis­ited. So, in more re­cent times, the March Clas­sic Tour and the Novem­ber Park­side Me­dia Christ­mas Pic­nic out­ing have left from The Wood­lands Cafe, SH1, Lei­th­field. This move has proved very pop­u­lar with all, as the venue has 100-plus carparks, with reg­is­tra­tions taken in the

din­ing room and the op­por­tu­nity to have a cuppa be­fore de­part­ing.

This year, as nor­mal, we the or­ga­niz­ers, did not let out too much in­for­ma­tion as to what the day en­tailed or the lunch venue, wish­ing to keep ac­tiv­i­ties a sur­prise for all. All en­trants re­ceived a free A3 colour poster in­cor­po­rat­ing 14 pho­tos taken at last year’s lunch venue, Wa­iau School, plus a

New Zea­land Clas­sic Car mag­a­zine. While most, if not all, clas­sic car events held in Christchurch are static dis­plays, the All British Day and the North Can­ter­bury Clas­sic Tour are quite dif­fer­ent, in that they en­tail a rally type of event, with driv­ers and nav­i­ga­tors fol­low­ing instructions read from a route sheet. This year, de­part­ing from The Woodland’s Cafe, the route in­cor­po­rated a scenic drive over the un­du­lat­ing roads through Ash­ley, Loburn, Glen­tui, and to Ox­ford, where 40 min­utes or so was spent vis­it­ing the at­trac­tions there. Some bought from the lo­cal farm­ers mar­ket, be­fore vis­it­ing the best coun­try mu­seum in Can­ter­bury (well, that’s our opin­ion). But the big at­trac­tion was the 1950s-style Amer­i­can milk bar, Cruisy Days Diner, first opened on March 15, 2017. With its red, white, and chrome 1950s theme, vis­it­ing the place truly is like tak­ing a step back in time. ( I could write a page on this im­mac­u­lately pre­sented milk bar / diner, but per­haps another time.)

On­wards we trav­elled to pass through View Hill and the Waimak Gorge, where many drove down to the river bed to watch while oth­ers took a ride in the V8-pow­ered jet­boats. Fi­nally, we passed through the lovely lit­tle vil­lage of Wadding­ton then on to SH73 to al­most im­me­di­ately turn right to fol­low In­land Scenic Route 72 to our desti­na­tion and lunch venue, the Glen­tun­nel Mo­tor Camp.

The sun was shin­ing bril­liantly by this time, and, with 109 clas­sic cars parked around the oval with a bush back­drop, the scene was the best we could wish for. Adding to the won­der­ful re­laxed at­mos­phere were the cof­fee caravan, sell­ing a great va­ri­ety of drinks; an amaz­ing range of Span­ish food from Beatriz Gon­za­lez Gar­cia, and mu­sic from our busker Ross Nicol, who played and sung num­bers from the late ’50s through to the ’ 70s — such as Take It Easy by The Ea­gles, Tears in Heaven by Eric Clap­ton, and Slip­ping Away by Max Mer­ritt. We were more than happy with our 16th North Can­ter­bury Clas­sic Tour.

The next out­ing, set for Septem­ber 30, will be the Ru­ral Ram­ble.

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