From the editor
On the face of it this month’s Editorial has lit tle to do with 4WDs and 4WDing per se. But bear with me.
Like columnist, and lifelong 4WDist Peter Vahry, I despair of the idiots who bring our recreation into disrepute. Whether it is one idiot ripping up a fragile sand dune or swamp, or another getting his suburban SUV stuck in a muddy inlet it all feeds a public ( mis) conception that the rest of us are tarred with the same brush.
No matter that most of us are ordinary everyday taxpaying family types who – literally – just want to have a bit of harmless fun, to Facebook fanatics, newspaper nanas, radio rednecks and TV tyros, we are all mindless morons intent on ripping up sports grounds and grass verges.
Once these views are entrenched there’s not much mere mortals like us can do about it. Beach or track clean ups are all very well but – sadly – a media focused on sensation is going to put them in the same ( i.e. ignore) category as church fetes...
And no matter how good our intentions, all the ‘save the ginger gecko’ campaigns we support, or provide transport for, are going to be for nought if a kid in a lif ted Surf, Lux or Safari on 15- inch steelies and 33- inch. mudders boosts past a posse of greenies searching for the last great crested toe wart!
Case in point. ‘Mad Mike’ Whiddett.
Red Bull-backed Kiwi drifter ‘ Mad Mike’ is a phenomenon. With more than two million likes as well as punters following his Facebook page ( ex All Black Dan
Carter has just over one million, rising NBA star Steven Adams 220,547 likes and Indy 500 winner and all round good circuit racing guy Scott Dixon just 47,000 likes) Mike is not only New Zealand’s best known motorsport export, he is arguably this country’s most internationally recognised ( famous if you must use the term) sportsman per se!
All in a ‘sport’ which, like ours, appears to most people as the absolute antithesis of the current mores of social responsibility and political correctness.
Sure, Red Bull’s backing has helped. But it’s the sheer force of Mike’s personality that shines out like a beacon in everything he does.
What we in 4WDing need then, in my humble opinion anyway, is a Mad Mike, a larger than life personality who can stand like a colossus over our activity and put the behaviour of a few idiots in the perspective so lacking in media reports to date.
Guys with the skill set like Mike’s don’t come every day of course. In motor racing terms Mike is right up there, for instance, with the likes of Bruce McLaren and John Britten.
The good news for us is that with a lit tle encouragement we can probably bask in some reflected glory. Mike and partner Toni Cook’s son Lincoln already races a Kiwitruck and Mike himself gave his own 13B Mazda rotary-powered ( what else?) Pro lite ‘stadium’ truck a typically exuberant local launch at Leadfoot.
A lit tle celebrity endorsement from someone of Mike’s ilk could be just the tonic our sport/ activity/ recreation needs.
‘Mad Mike’ doing what he does best.