MOTOR SPORT FLASHBACK
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.
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!