Driv­ers lap it up at 40th

Central Leader - - News - By Scott Morgan

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.

“When

you’ve

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.

Photo: JA­SON OXENHAM

Orig­i­nal racer: Greg Spooner re­flects on 40 years of stock­car rac­ing at Waikaraka Park in his 1935 Ford V8 sedan.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from New Zealand

© PressReader. All rights reserved.