High­lands Fes­ti­val of Speed

Classic Driver - - NEWS -

At Easter, the spec­tac­u­lar High­lands Mo­tor­sport Park hosted their first-ever Fes­ti­val of Speed as they brought a touch of Good­wood to Cen­tral Otago.

As I was re­turn­ing to the South Is­land on the Thurs­day prior to the weekend and get­ting the car­pet of the ed­i­to­rial Porsche washed by the flood­wa­ters be­tween Pic­ton and Christchurch I se­ri­ously doubted that any sort of mo­tor­sport was go­ing to be hap­pen­ing.

Yet by the time I got to Cromwell on Good Fri­day, the sun was out, the skies clear and con­di­tions were look­ing good for clas­sic racers to make their High­lands de­but.

The 70+ cars en­tered were split into four classes get­ting two races each day. The lunch break fea­tured the High­lands Fling, a “run what you brung” sin­gle car sprint on a short­ened track for those want­ing to take their proper cars for a blast on the track with­out the worry of hav­ing some­one else’s ac­ci­dent.

Inky Tul­loch added some smoke and noise to pro­ceed­ings with demon­stra­tions of his Freight­liner race truck and cir­cuit owner Tony Quinn was show­ing off his exMichael Schu­macher Benet­ton Ford, the car in which the nine-time For­mula One cham­pion scored his first Word Cham­pi­onship points.

Crews were en­cour­aged to wear pe­riod cos­tume and Rob Boult’s all-fe­male, all-pink team were by far the best dressed and most pho­tographed me­chan­ics in pit­lane.

In the area in front of the Na­tional Mo­tor­sport Mu­seum a dis­play of clas­sic cars and mo­tor­bikes was an in­ter­est­ing dis­trac­tion from the on-track ac­tion and the daily fash­ion pa­rade (fash­ion from the pe­riod of the old car you were as­so­ci­ated with, rather that the sort of cloth­ing you would ac­tu­ally want to be seen in pub­lic wear­ing) drew a large and ap­pre­cia­tive crowd each day.

The “High­land Fling” sprint was al­most as pop­u­lar as the ac­tual rac­ing

Clas­sic racers need a good sense of hu­mour

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