MO­TOR SPORT FLASH­BACK

New Zealand Classic Car - - Motor Sport Flashback - By Michael Clark

Re­mem­ber, this was at a time when Porsche was launch­ing the front-en­gined 924 and 928 mod­els, whereas the 935 — ef­fec­tively a 911 on steroids — was based on what was then al­ready a 15-year-old de­sign. And the 911 wasn’t even close to be­ing done yet at the very high­est level of sports car rac­ing.

In 1979, there were wins at both Day­tona and Le Mans, and, while that year saw the last out­right vic­tory for the de­sign at Cir­cuit de la Sarthe, the wins kept com­ing in the US. AJ Foyt and his helpers achieved the fi­nal of six wins on the trot at Day­tona, while the record was even bet­ter in the Se­bring 12 Hour Race, with seven wins in a row from 1978 to ’84, if you per­mit the 1983 vic­tory for the sim­i­lar — but not quite as wild — Porsche 934. And, if all of that wasn’t im­pres­sive enough, Porsche’s RSR Car­rera won in 1976 and 1977.

NZIGP tie-up

I see the NZIGP or­ga­ni­za­tion has moved into the North­ern Sports Car Club’s prop­erty in Mount Rich­mond Do­main, bring­ing to an end the as­so­ci­a­tion with its premises at Find­lay Street, Eller­slie, where it has been al­most since the be­gin­ning of time. I can still re­call the ex­cite­ment of go­ing along to its Eller­slie villa so that tick­ets could be pur­chased for the up­com­ing ‘Geepee’ — here was a lit­tle house with framed paint­ings and pic­tures of rac­ing cars on the walls in which ev­ery­thing buzzed with ac­tiv­ity about one thing, and one thing alone — the New Zealand GP.

Seats could be se­lected, and the coloured sticker for your wind­screen that di­rected you to a spe­cific part of Pukekohe on the day was handed over.

Over the years, I’d heard about a lit­tle shed be­hind the villa that con­tained no end of trea­sures — old pro­grammes was what I’d been told — and when word went around that the prop­erty was go­ing to be re­de­vel­oped, I phoned Eric Mal­lard and won­dered if I might be per­mit­ted ac­cess for a copy of ev­ery­thing they had.

“Help your­self!” came the re­ply, and so I fig­ured that that could also ex­tend to some posters — and per­haps a se­cond copy of each pro­gramme. How­ever, guilt kicked in when I spot­ted boxes of neck­ties. I fig­ured that might have been push­ing my luck, so I left them.

I men­tioned this to Eric re­cently, and, while we agreed that dark green NZIGP ties prob­a­bly weren’t likely to be fan­tas­ti­cally valu­able me­men­tos, one might have been a nice thing to own.

Buy­ing event tick­ets on­line is, of course, the mod­ern way to go, but noth­ing will ever match the an­tic­i­pa­tion of step­ping into that villa in late De­cem­ber and en­ter­ing a world of wallto-wall mo­tor rac­ing — it sure did it for me!

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