READY TO RUMBLE
QUAKE DAMAGE BE DAMNED — THE ORGANIZERS OF KAIKOURA HOP MADE SURE THIS YEAR’S EVENT DEFIED THE ODDS, PUTTING ON A TRULY SPECTACULAR SHOW!
In November last year, Kaikoura was rattled by several large earthquakes that caused widespread damage, not only within the seaside community but also north and south along State Highway 1 (SH1) and the main trunk line. Much of the highway was covered by massive slips that cut the town off for several weeks. Until the inland road was cleared, the only way in was by sea or air. With the Kaikoura Hop 2017 fast approaching, the organizers worked closely with the agencies involved in the clean-up to ensure that the roads south of the town would be open to traffic for the event. Roads north remain in a far greater mess, and they will not be opened before the end of 2017.
For those arriving early to Kaikoura Hop, the inland road was the only way in, as SH1 didn’t open until 1pm on the Thursday. Those who did arrive early had a good opportunity to look around town at the damage caused and to book into accommodation. The racecourse in South Bay was Hop headquarters for the weekend, and around two dozen cars parked up there for a get-together at lunchtime on Thursday. A cruise was held in the evening. Friday dawned with a magnificent sunrise, setting the tone for the Hop. People began heading out to the racecourse around 8am, just to park up and catch up with friends. A poker run left at 11am, with a large convoy of vehicles heading out after receiving their first card. The vehicles made three stops, receiving another card at each, before heading back to HQ for the final card. A small prizegiving was held at 3pm, before everyone kicked back for drinks.
THE GATE ATTENDANTS WERE FLAT OUT GETTING THE QUEUE OF CARS IN
Rain could be heard hitting the roofs in the wee hours of Saturday morning but was already clearing by the time most people crawled out of bed. By 8am, the gate attendants at the racecourse were flat out getting the huge queue of cars in and parked up for the show and shine. With the shake-up that Kaikoura has experienced, organizers weren’t expecting huge numbers but were pleasantly surprised by the turnout. Thanks to Dave and his team at Kaikoura Helicopters, we were given the opportunity to view the scope of the show from the air, and counted close to 400 cars on show. Due to the shortage of accommodation in Kaikoura this year, on account of the earthquake, many people chose to make a day trip to the Hop. Through the day, over 100 more cars arrived, parking out in the car park because there was simply no room on the course. At 2.30pm, just before the Miss Kaikoura Hop Retro Pinup competition was due to start, a big black cloud moved overhead and dumped a little rain on the proceedings, sending a few people to their cars and out the gates, but most just headed for the bar. Twenty minutes later, the sun was out, giving us a beautiful afternoon and a successful pin-up competition saw 46 lovely ladies vying for the win. The judges had a hard job narrowing the field down to the Top 10, let alone deciding the eventual winner, but Miss Kitty Kaos, aka Kirsty Hopewell, was eventually crowned the victor. After this, the prize-giving was held. Several spot prizes were given away — some people missing out on theirs because they had been chased off by the rain — before we headed straight into the Top 10, or, in this case, organizer Doug’s Top 10, which turned out to be 11, bringing a laugh from the crowd. Quite a mixed bag of vehicles made the list, ranging from an Austin A30 panel van and custom Ford Pop to a Model A pickup and bagged Impala. With the show over with, a cruise around town as the sun was setting was followed by the Shake, Rattle, and Roll party after dark.
Sunday dawned cold, but this time it was due to clear skies. Again, cars gathered at Hop HQ whence they left at 10am for a shed tour. Quite a convoy headed north just out of town to view an awesome collection of cars, making it back to the racecourse in time for the final event — burnouts. These events have gained — or lost, depending on how you look at things! — a lot of traction in recent years, mainly due to our Aussie cousins, who lead the world in the art of frying tyres. This year, the burnouts moved location next door, to the property of Harmac Concrete. Craig Mackle and his team at Harmac Concrete are in the process of concreting their entire yard to stop the dust from annoying their neighbours and took the initiative to set up a pad for the competition at the same time. Surrounded by large concrete blocks, and with a large banked area on one side, the pad had no shortage of places from which to view the performances. Six cars showed up to create smoke. Once the skies had cleared, Brendon Hibbs of Burnout Bogans was awarded the top gong. With Brendon’s V8-powered Anglia creating plenty of smoke and making full use of the pad, there was no doubt in the judges’ minds who had performed the best.
No sooner had the award been presented and people begun filtering out the gate, than in rolled an old-school kustom twin-spinner. Covered in dirt and dust and with the windscreen on the passenger side missing, the thing looked as though it had just been dragged out of a shed where it had been sitting for 30 years. The officials decided to allow the vehicle onto the pad to see what it could do — much to the delight of the returning crowd. Driver Johnny Clarke drifted the car around the pad with one arm out the window, for all as if he were out for a Sunday drive — actually, when you come to think of it, he was! Things were going well for young Johnny until he went a bit wide, causing the rear to come into contact with one of the concrete blocks, which sent the doors on the driver’s side flying open. If that wasn’t enough, the poor old motor cried enough, spewing hot coolant all over the pad. Although the award had already been handed out, a small prize was given to Johnny for such a great display, and the crowd certainly approved. We certainly approved — of the way Kaikoura Hop 2017 panned out from start to finish. Roll on 2018.
A huge crowd gathered on Friday morning for the poker run. With the first and last card being chosen at Hop HQ, the other three were collected at different locations around town
Graham Wilson is the lucky owner of this ’68 Dodge Charger, brought from Texas in 1990 and used as a daily-driver until 1997. A full restoration of the Charger was begun in 1999. The entire car was dismantled, media blasted, and rebuilt. Power is provided by a 440ci that has been stroked to 500ci, backed by a 727 TorqueFlite and Sure Grip rear end. That bright hue is called ‘Victory Red’, and it provides a stark contrast to the understated interior, which has been layered in tweed and vinyl
This 1955 Ford F100 has been in the care of its owner for 41 years, during which time it has undergone two rebuilds. A far cry from the way it left the factory 60-odd years ago, it is now powered by a 429ci big block Ford, backed by C6 auto and nine-inch rear that has been narrowed by a substantial eight inches. Rolling on Center Line rims measuring 15x7 inches up front and 15x10 inches out the back, this thing looks tough. Would you believe that the metallic gold and candy red and yellow stripes have been on the truck since 1985!? Now a little worse for the wear, through stone-chipping more than anything, this car is the polar opposite of a trailer queen This is just a small part of the Saturday evening cruise, which took cars out to the end of South Bay and back in around town
This beautiful 1970½ Chev Camaro attracted its share of attention on Saturday. It runs a 454ci big block that’s been punched out to 461ci, with the power sent to a GM 12-bolt diff via a TH400 A ’59 Ford Galaxie Skyliner, with its factory-fitted retractable hardtop, is not a common sight on our roads these days. Belonging to Vince and Di Singh, this one attracted many looks and comments. The car is simply stunning
Vonda, Doug, and Jeff form the team that brings us Kaikoura Hop each year, and, as you can see, it’s a very laid-back event Thanks to Kaikoura Helicopters, we got to view the show and shine from the air. What a view! These guys were kept busy all day on Saturday, offering $50 flights from the racecourse using two helicopters
Robert Quint had his 1939 Business Coupe at Saturday’s show. The traditional 350ci small block Chev is built with a cruisefriendly four-speed auto, backed by a Chev 10-bolt — a very reliable combination Derek Tyson is the lucky owner of this black beauty — a 1934 Ford Victoria that he has owned for 18 months. The car made it into the Top 10 last year, but had to take a back seat this year
Winner of this year’s burnout comp was Brendon Hibbs (right) with his V8-powered Ford Anglia. Here, Craig Mackle (left), the owner of Harmac Concrete — which provided the burnout pad — and event organizer Doug O’Callahan (middle) present the award
Miss Kitty Kaos, aka Kirsty Hopewell, overcame 45 other hopefuls to become the winner of this year’s Miss Kaikoura Hop comp