Drivers lap it up at 40th
Greg Spooner has seen four decades of racing action at Waikaraka Park.
The stockcar driver was part of celebrations for the park’s 40th anniversary on Saturday night.
“I was there on the first night sitting in the stand,” he says.
Mr Spooner made the transition from the stands to the track as a teenager.
“It was just the sort of thing you did when you were a young fella,” he says. “It was very exciting.” Mr Spooner says the Waikaraka Park track is one of the best in the country.
“I like the fact that it’s a full oval,” he says.
“It gives the cars time to wind up and do some real racing.”
The Hillsborough resident has raced several cars, including his first built out of a 1956 Ford Coupe in 1970.
But Mr Spooner drove his classic 1935 Ford V8 sedan on Saturday night in a demonstration race, although it is too valuable to drive com- petitively these days.
He first acquired the car in the early 1990s after hauling it out of a ditch on a farm in the Waikato, where it had laid for two decades.
It was restored and driven in competition races at Waikaraka Park.
“On one occasion the bonnet came up and then flew off the car,” he says.
“The crowd roared when everyone else missed the bonnet and then I squashed it.”
Mr Spooner says the car is in good condition, with the solid steel body and gearbox both original.
“They used to build them pretty strong back in the 30s.
finished driving your arms just ache afterwards.”
Waikaraka Park stockcar promoter Steve Clout says it was great for the crowd to see some of the older stockcars in action on Saturday night.
“It showed the difference of 40 years of racing with what it’s like between the old and the new. It brought back a lot of memories.”
Victory lap: Greg Spooner takes out a race in his selfbuilt 1956 Ford Coupe at Waikaraka Park during the early 1970s.
Original racer: Greg Spooner reflects on 40 years of stockcar racing at Waikaraka Park in his 1935 Ford V8 sedan.