First outing for newly formed car club
The newly-formed South Otago Car Club is holding its inaugural event on Saturday.
Formed late last year after an enthusiastic reunion of the former Balclutha Stock Car Club in August 2016, the new club will focus on rally, hill climb, rally sprint and also auto-cross, club president Mike Verdoner said.
There had been a car club, quite separate to the stock car club, in South Otago in the 1980s. Verdoner himself was a member as a lad.
The strong interest in motorsport in the district warranted the re-forming of a South Otago club, he said.
The closest organisations are the Otago Sports Car Club at Dunedin and the Eastern Southland Car Club at Gore.
Some events, such as the annual Catlin’s Coast Rally, are South-Otago based.
‘‘We wanted to get our own thing going, and to start running more local events.’’
The club has gained MotorSport New Zealand affiliation, and has about 35 members so far, with more expected to join the club after this weekend.
Most of the current members are from the Balclutha area, and some from Gore and Dunedin.
Car club membership tended to fluctuate with generations. At the moment, interest was very strong.
‘‘It’s my kids that hopefully will be involved for the next generation.’’
The new club’s aim was to be inclusive; people didn’t always need a rally car to be involved in events lke Saturday’s auto-cross, which is usually done on gravel roads or a grass paddock.
’’The family car can be used. All people need is a pair of overalls and a crash helmet.’’
This opened up the club and the sport to a lot more people, he said.
The club had purchased a car for people to try out the sport, and members were also making their vehicles available for people just to have go.
This Saturday’s event is on the McLaren’s property at Waitepeka on Saturday, with scrutineering to start at 9.30am and the event at 11.30am.
Depending on conditions, the club hopes its next event will be a hill climb at Kaitangata on March 17. The club meets on the second Monday of each month at the Rosebank Lodge at Balclutha.
For more more information check out the South Otago Car Club website.