Fes­ti­val of Speed prom­ises plenty of high-oc­tane ac­tion

Central Otago Mirror - - FRONT PAGE -

The High­lands Fes­ti­val of Speed is revving up for its sec­ond an­nual high-oc­tane cel­e­bra­tion of su­per­cars, saloons and Cen­tral Otago.

A trans-Tas­man bat­tle is one of the hotly an­tic­i­pated high­lights of the three-day race event, pitch­ing driv­ers in­clud­ing Queen­stown racer Duane In­g­ley in the Cen­tral Mus­cle Car se­ries and ex­pat Kiwi Jim Richards against Aussie driv­ers John Bowe and An­drew Mideckie.

That Kiwi-Aussie com­po­nent will be a main­stay of the thrill-a-minute fes­ti­val, which also in­cludes Aussie Rac­ing Cars, mo­tor­ing mem­o­ra­bilia, clas­sic cars and en­ter­tain­ment.

The pro­gramme’s Aussie Rac­ing Cars (ARC) half-size line-up of me­chan­i­cally iden­ti­cal clas­sic Ford and Holden body styles is another much-an­tic­i­pated event.

High­lands mar­ket­ing man­ager Melanie Kees said more than 20 Aussie mus­cle cars were hit­ting the Cromwell track for the first time.

‘‘Known as the ‘week­end war­riors’ com­peti­tors the Aussie cars are sure to de­liver great race ac­tion as they race three and four abreast.’’

ARC cat­e­gory man­ager Brad Ward said week­end war­riors were trav­el­ling from all over Aus­tralia to Cen­tral Otago.

High­lands Mo­tor­sport Park owner Tony Quinn bought the ARC se­ries and business in 2012.

‘‘With­out doubt, the open­ing ARC round of the 2015 sea­son at High­lands is one we’ve all been look­ing for­ward to.

‘‘Un­der Tony’s lead­er­ship, a full re­view of the chas­sis and de­sign was un­der­taken and a num­ber of ma­jor up­grades an­nounced to im­prove the tech­nol­ogy used in the orig­i­nal cars and make the cars faster and more re­li­able.

‘‘The new­est body shapes, the Ca­maro and Mus­tang, were launched in Oc­to­ber at Mount Panorama Bathurst.

‘‘The fes­ti­val is go­ing to be the most ex­cit­ing start to the ARC sea­son in the cat­e­gory’s his­tory.’’

The New Zealand round is the first se­ries ARC contest this year with its cus­tom-built rac­ers, pow­ered by 1.2 litre, 125bhp, twin-cam, 16 valve en­gines. Cars can reach speeds of 230kmh or more. It’s also the first time the Aus­tralian Tour­ing Car Masters and Cen­tral Mus­cle Cars will com­pete in a trans-Tas­man bat­tle on this side of the ditch.

Race week­end in­cludes a fash­ion in the field cat­walk, Cen­tral Otago wine, re­gional food, en­ter­tain­ment and a chil­dren’s play area.

‘‘There are also op­por­tu­ni­ties for any­one to have a go on the sim­u­la­tors or try their luck pan­ning for gold.’’

A wine and food fes­ti­val runs on Sun­day and clas­sic, retro and cus­tom-built cars are be­ing read­ied for the mo­tor show.

Race ac­tion: Aussie Rac­ing Cars at Bathurst. They will be a fea­ture of the High­lands Fes­ti­val of Speed.

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