On the Wednesday between the two New Zealand Festival of Motor-racing meetings at Hampton Downs, the British Racing Drivers Club held a lunch for it’s Antipodean members and invited guests at the Hamilton Golf Course. Organised by former BRDC secretary and New Zealand’s almost forgotten Grand Prix driver Howden Ganley, assisted by Michael Clark, for some reason I found myself on the list of invited attendees. Despite feeling a bit of a fraud being neither British, nor a racing driver it still seemed like a fascinating event to attend.
It certainly was, everyone who is or was anyone in New Zealand motorsport, along with some foreign guests were there, from our two best chances of making it to Formula One, Mitch Evans and Richie Stanaway, patron and supporter of so many young New Zealand motorsport prospects, Sir Colin Giltrap to our two surviving Grand Prix drivers Chris Amon MBE and Howden Ganley. The best part of it all, as was pointed out to me before I accepted the invitation, was that there are no free lunches. Everyone attending had to speak for a minute on the subject of their choice. As the theme for Hampton Downs was Denny Hulme, those who knew him told tales of their experiences of The Bear and many took more than a minute to do so, no one was complaining.
The lunch was good, but the stories were what really made it one of the most fascinating days I have had in quite some time. Thanks Howden and Michael for the invitation. A brilliant day for certain.