Old Hat Edi­to­rial

Old Bike Australasia - - CONTENTS -

When the an­nual New Zealand CMRR Fes­ti­val, held at Pukekohe Park south of Auck­land for over 30 years, lapsed af­ter the 2013 event, it looked like the end of the road for what had al­ways been an im­mensely pop­u­lar event, well pa­tro­n­ised by fans and com­peti­tors alike. But a num­ber of fac­tors had con­trib­uted to its ap­par­ent demise, among them strin­gent noise lim­its that were rigidly en­forced by the lo­cal noise po­lice, a grad­ual de­te­ri­o­ra­tion of the fa­cil­ity it­self, and a gen­er­a­tional change in the pro­mo­tion as the old guard got older. To take the last point first, the club had rigidly stuck to its pol­icy of tra­di­tional classes and no races (pa­rades only) for Ja­panese bikes, which had the ef­fect of lim­it­ing the scope of pro­mo­tion for the meet­ing. And so Pukekohe lay silent, the clas­sics seem­ingly gone for­ever. Once this sort of thing hap­pens, tra­di­tion shows that the process is highly un­likely to be re­versed.

But when the burghers at nearby Hamil­ton showed the door to the ram­pag­ing V8 Su­per­cars af­ter years of com­pound­ing losses and res­i­dent un­rest fol­low­ing the 2012 event, the cars be­gan snoop­ing around for an al­ter­na­tive venue. Pukekohe got the nod, with NZ$6.6 mil­lion com­ing from gov­ern­ment cof­fers for a ma­jor up­grade to the track and pits. It was a shame that the process for that up­grade did not in­clude con­sul­ta­tion with mo­tor­cy­cle rac­ing au­thor­i­ties, as fresh con­crete walls sprouted ever closer to the track which it­self is tightly con­fined within the horse rac­ing com­plex. A chicane was added to­wards the end of the very long back straight, which, for a change, was sen­si­bly de­signed and adds two in­ter­est­ing cor­ners to the orig­i­nal track lay­out. On the pos­i­tive side, pit fa­cil­i­ties were sub­jected to a ma­jor up­grade, which was prob­a­bly long over­due, but the stand­off over safety is­sues per­sisted.

There were nu­mer­ous prob­lems to be ad­dressed, but the NZCMRR res­o­lutely wanted their fes­ti­val back at its tra­di­tional home, and with much hard work and some skil­ful ne­go­ti­at­ing, the seem­ingly im­pos­si­ble hap­pened in 2015, and the clas­sics qui­etly ven­tured back. This time, the classes in­cluded the more modern (Ja­panese) bikes, and it was very much a learn­ing year, but from both sides of the fences, it was deemed an un­qual­i­fied suc­cess. Since then, the meet­ing has grown in stature, and although the fa­cil­i­ties are now con­sid­er­ably more modern than those of yore, the same friendly at­mos­phere at­ti­tude is still there. The just-con­cluded 2018 Fes­ti­val copped a lash­ing from the weather, but the rac­ing even­tu­ally went ahead and was bril­liant as al­ways. The NZCMRR has every rea­son to feel proud of what they have achieved in not al­low­ing one of our great events to dis­ap­pear, and in demon­strat­ing that a pos­i­tive at­ti­tude and a will­ing­ness to work through ob­sta­cles pays div­i­dends. You can read about the 2018 Fes­ti­val on page 82 of this is­sue.

JIM SCAYS­BROOK Edi­tor

www.face­book.com/old­bikemag

OUR COVER Steve Ashke­nazi’s 1985 Yamaha RZ350. See fea­ture story on P58.

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