NORTH CANTERBURY CLASSIC TOUR
Our 15th North Canterbury Classic tour was held on Sunday March 19, under conditions that could only be described as perfect. A new start venue had been selected for this year, that being The Woodlands Cafe at Leithfield on State Highway 1 (SH1). This proved to be absolutely ideal, with plenty of parking and many people partaking in morning tea in the dining room before departure. By registration closeoff time at 10.40am, 212 vehicles had entered. One vehicle that attracted a lot of attention was a replica of a famous Austin 1800 rally car that participated in the London– Sydney Marathon and had been driven up from Timaru to participate in our annual event. Hope to see it again at next year’s North Canterbury Classic Tour.
This year, the route included two of my favourite North Canterbury routes, the first one being the undulating and twisty, scenic and sealed trips through Waikari– Scargill– Greta Valley. This was followed by the now-very-low-volume-traffic section of SH1, since the November 2016 earthquake, as there is no accessible road beyond Kaikoura. After passing through Cheviot, we branched off to take in the magnificent trip to Waiau via the Leader Road. This section of back-country road is highly recommended, especially in an open car.
Arriving in Waiau, our destination was the local– primary school grounds, and what an ideal lunch venue it was. The Waiau Parent Teachers Association (PTA) sold lunches by the dozens under the shade of the oak trees, while a jazz band played numbers from the 1950s to the 1970s. The crisp and clear voice from the young female vocalist added to the magnificent music and setting. This wee inland country school originally opened in 1877, now with a roll of just 34 pupils, lost its swimming pool, built in 1928, to the big 7.8 quake that had its epicentre right under Waiau! There is a nationwide bid to raise enough money for a replacement pool. The classic tour was able to contribute $3030 to that fund, while the Waiau PTA raised a further $1338 through selling its great lunches and drinks. I will let the photos tell their own story of the event at the school. For many more photos, look up our Facebook page, North Canterbury Classic Tour.