2014 Mike Pero Wigram Revival
As has become tradition, the impending arrival of summer in Canterbury was announced by the sound of engines waking from their long winter hibernation for the Canterbury Car Club’s Wigram Revival meeting. As Wigram has been taken from us as a venue, racing is at Mike Pero Motorsport Park, Ruapuna, and South Island drivers were relishing the opportunity of a pre-season hit-out before the intense schedule of classic meetings across the country over the next three months.
A decent bit of weather doesn’t hurt either, and the crowd on the banks and wandering through the pits were getting great value for their money. Where else would you get to see a real V12 Ferrari Formula One car or an Arrows AX3 three-seater up close and on track?
The meeting was a combination of some of the traditional crowd pullers, as well as a new class which provided a brilliant spectacle, the Mainland Muscle Cars. A full field of 25 thundering pre 1985 V8s harking back to the great days of Allcomers Saloons have been sitting in sheds, while the Historic Touring Cars put on their usual high-class show. One special guest driver, loving the atmosphere at Ruapuna, was Jim Richards — visiting from his base in Victoria to drive Pete Sturgeon’s Group A BMW M3, the ex Cecotto/brancatelli Cibeemme car from the World Touring Car Championship which later was raced here by Denny Hulme and Brett Riley.
For real historic racing, look no further than the Vintage Car Club. The mix of New Zealand–built single-seat specials, Mistrals and more production-based sports cars made for a very varied grid of cars. Don’t think that just because the cars are all more than half a century old, the action would be sedate: at the front of the field these guys are trying. Russ Haines in the Frangapelli Special, Rob Cope-williams’ and Paul Rogers’ Lotus 23B replicas were taking the honours, always kept honest by Rob Boult’s Edelbrock Special.
That great South Island institution, OSCA, Pre ’65s and a real blast from the past, Mini 7, meant that motor-sport fans of all persuasions were catered for over the weekend.
As the event was the Wigram Revival, it was only fitting that a trophy from the great days of racing on the airfield circuit was up for grabs. The Canterbury Car Club therefore had the Wigram Cup as the award for the feature Formula Libre race. Everything from Formula Ford to Formula Pacific lined up to try and take the historic trophy, but it ended up as a sibling fight between the Leitch brothers — with Damon taking the flag in Garry Orton’s Ralt RT4 from Brendon in another borrowed car, his own RT4 having stopped in a large cloud of blue smoke in practice.
As a precursor for the action to come over the approaching summer of classic motor sport, it looks as if we are in for some fantastic cars and some amazing racing.
Three-seater Arrow and Ferrari F1 cars on a demo lap