Say the name ‘River­bank’ to any­one in the Welling­ton car scene, and they’ll know what you mean — Lower Hutt’s coun­cil-owned River­bank Car Park. Men­tion­ing it is akin to say­ing ‘Kumeu’ to any dirty old bo­gan in the V8 scene, or ‘Nats’ to, well, al­most any­one read­ing this mag­a­zine.

Over the last few years, Fal­goon ‘Falgs’ Pa­tel and his Speed­mag­net crew (and Hardpark Or­gan­i­sa­tional Team, HOT) have added life back in to what was once a main­stay of the Welling­ton car scene, by tak­ing over run­ning of the event that NZ Per­for­mance Car kicked off. Of course, cars, real cars, are noth­ing new to River­bank; those of us old enough to re­mem­ber

will re­call the very first few nights that cars be­gan to park up there. What started with a hand­ful, ended up with hun­dreds, and, in the case of Wgtn Hardpark, a whole lot more.

The big dif­fer­ence be­tween Hardpark and the old days is that the Hutt City Coun­cil and po­lice have a great at­ti­tude to­wards the event, giv­ing ve­hi­cles within it pretty free rein. Of course, play up out­side, and you’ll get what’s rightly com­ing to you, but, in­side, al­most any­thing goes.

This year’s event was some­what dif­fer­ent from the rest, with the ‘show-off and bull­shit ses­sion’ — let’s face it, that would be a bet­ter name for the Show and Shine! — fol­lowed by an open in­vi­ta­tion to the Master­ton Mo­tor­plex burnout pad. And, while some didn’t make the 45-minute trek from River­bank to the burnouts, many did. While that cut the tra­di­tional event form a bit short, it didn’t stop record num­bers from show­ing up, jam­ming River­bank to ca­pac­ity.

A big part of that came from the sup­port of the clubs, which were all will­ing to show up en masse. Most clubs called ahead and got parked up to­gether with pre­ci­sion; oth­ers took a bit more of a re­laxed ap­proach, or, in the case of some, showed up late and made a hell of an en­trance as they rolled in. From those clubs, we’d sus­pect that ev­ery Nis­san Sil­via in the lower North Is­land must have been in at­ten­dance, such was the over­flow of slammed S-chas­sis.

While it’s be­yond clichéd to say there was some­thing for ev­ery­one, that’s what was on of­fer, and, if you were into retro throw­back ma­chines, such as those that graced River­bank in the glory days — GTXs, GTI-Rs, and early Evos, and the like — you were cer­tainly catered for. Even the V8-lovers had some­thing to look at, de­spite the Welling­ton area’s big­gest V8 event tak­ing place on the very same day.

Although the event’s name may in­di­cate that ev­ery­thing was parked up, that’s doesn’t quite tell the full story, as, while some were happy just to sit and chat, oth­ers took the op­por­tu­nity to cut a few slow laps through the venue, mak­ing a bit of noise or throw­ing sparks as they rolled.

With good tunes crank­ing from a PA sys­tem, the event had a great vibe about it, hot-dog stands keep­ing the hun­gry masses fed, a bouncy cas­tle en­ter­tain­ing the kids, and ev­ery­one gen­er­ally hav­ing a good time with min­i­mal of­fi­cial in­volve­ment re­quired.

It’s events like this that unite the scene, and we’re sure many new mates were met, lots of car ad­vice dished got out, and plenty of sto­ries were told. Next time it rolls around, make sure to mark the date, as you can bet it’ll be big­ger than big!

While most peo­ple may have just strolled on past, this Mi­rage was pack­ing some trick en­gi­neer­ing for any­one who knew what they were look­ing at. From fac­tory, the Mivec en­gine would have had the in­take on the rear and ex­haust out front; how­ever, some clever head work now sees the set-up pack­ing quad throt­tle bod­ies up front and an ex­haust flow­ing out the rear! El­liott Brown’s 180 was pack­ing a fresh liv­ery thanks to Sign Foundry and is now of­fi­cially road le­gal

No parks left? No wor­ries for this lot

Hay­den ‘Budda’ Wilby has been a reg­u­lar at River­bank since peo­ple first started park­ing up there. His Fal­con has a few more cylin­ders than most, and he put them to good use smash­ing the rears on the burnout pad Be­low: Pre­vi­ous fea­ture­car owner Craig Hunter changes his cars more of­ten than his clothes, although his Evo X is here to stay. He was heard to say that now that the other cars he wanted when he was younger are cheap enough, he buys them, en­joys them as daily-driv­ers, then moves them on, en­joy­ing his child­hood dreams be­hind the wheel of each

The Wild Cherry paint of Khrunal’s Evo re­ally jumped to life in the harsh sun, a credit to Cus­toms Body Shop

Lin­coln Bruce’s R32 looked way too good to beat up on, but that’s ex­actly what hap­pened when the burnout pad opened up Yes, that’s what you think it is, a gen­uine 22B!

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