First out­ing for newly formed car club

Clutha Leader - - OTAGO SHEARING & WOOLHANDLING - MARY-JO TOHILL

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.

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