THE WELLY HARDPARK, BUT BETTER THAN EVER
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!