THE EIGHTH ANNUAL RUNNING OF THE KAIKOURA HOP HAD THE EARTH SHAKING WITH PLENTY OF CARS AND GOOD VIBES
It’s hard to believe, but this year’s was the eighth running of the Kaikoura Hop, held over 13–16 September. From humble beginnings, the Kaikoura Hop has now cemented its place as a must-do event on the New Zealand car-scene calendar. The past couple of years haven’t been easy for the organizers, with not only a huge change of venue but also the upheaval that Mother Nature caused with the 7.8-magnitude earthquake that struck the region just after midnight on 14 November 2016. Last year, the organizers faced uncertainty with the loss of so much of the town’s accommodation, not only through the damage caused by quakes but also because much of it was occupied by the hundreds of workers who had moved to the town to help with the rebuilding of the main coastal road. As hard and as trying as all that has been, this year’s event left no doubt about the Hop’s popularity, with hundreds of registered entries and thousands of people through the gates on Saturday for the Show and Shine.
The festivities kicked off on Thursday morning with the NPD Cruise to Picton, which left the racecourse that served as home base for the event. The sun was shining, and the drive up the coast road gave entrants the chance to see the amazing progress that has been made since the earthquake devastated the road north of Kaikoura. Once in Picton, the cars assembled in a car park and awaited a number of North Island entrants coming off the ferries. The cruise then headed for Blenheim, where Marlborough Classic and Custom Restorations kindly opened its doors for everyone to look around. The evening’s entertainment was a drivein movie, and the movie chosen was Smokey and the Bandit, in honour of the recently deceased Burt Reynolds. Brilliant sunshine again greeted everyone on Friday morning, as vehicles turned up at the racecourse for the start of the Poker Run — well supported again this year. This laid-back day gave everyone a chance to catch up with people and just to relax. In the evening, the Penrite Cruise departed from the racecourse to thread its way around the town. For those who wanted a night out away from the cars, there was live music from the Route 66 band at the Groper Bar. Saturday dawned bright and sunny, with not a breath of wind. Cars started arriving at 7am, wanting to get a good spot at the Show and Shine. From then on, cars just kept pouring into the grounds, as did members of the public, wanting to take advantage of such an awesome day.
By midday, close to 750 vehicles were on display, with more still arriving. As well as many trade and market stalls to browse through, there were plenty of food vendors on hand so that people could satisfy their hunger pangs while listening to the superb music of Route 66. The great team at South Pacific Helicopters was doing scenic flights, with $25 from every ticket going to the local St John branch. Viewing the show from the air was a whole new way to see it, and a good way to get the feel of how big the Show and Shine has become. A new event this year was the Pit Stop Challenge, in which teams of four had to push a car, jump out and change a wheel, then push the car a further distance, all the while trying to beat the clock — fun for entrants and spectators alike. The early afternoon saw the Miss Kaikoura Hop show, with a large number of entries again this year.
With it being such a hot day, the show started to wind down around 3.30pm, some spectators choosing to return to their accommodation for a couple of cold ones and to chill while watching the All Blacks get beaten. For the more energetic, the sell-out Rock ’n’ Roll Dance on Saturday evening saw many people rocking it out to the tunes of Boom Boom Deluxe. The past few years have seen the Sunday morning start with a garage visit, but the organizers changed it up a bit this year, and held a second Show and Shine day, which turned out to be fairly popular — although, with some entrants heading home early, numbers were lower than on Saturday. Once again, the trade and market stalls were operating for those who hadn’t had the time to
look around on Saturday. The Grid Girl Comp, introduced this year, had just two entrants, with the winner going on to be the official starter at the burnouts later in the day. The number of entrants for the burnouts was up on last year’s comp, with 12 cars putting on a tyre-frying performance. With varying degrees of success, each entrant had the chance to put on their best display — although some did not have a good day. We saw everything from cars not having enough power to smoke, guys kissing the wall, and a couple of mechanical issues, the eventual winner being Michael Ledgerwood in his V8-powered Toyota. Once the smoke cleared, it was time to call an end to this year’s Kaikoura Hop and head home. With the event going from strength to strength, we suggest you make sure to put it on your calendar for 2019!
THE NUMBER OF ENTRANTS FOR THE BURNOUTS WAS UP ON LAST YEAR’S COMP
John and Maria Affleck call their ’38 Chevrolet sedan a ‘resto rod’, and rightly so. Having bought it as a vintage car that had been done up, the couple decided to turn it into a rod but didn’t want to paint it, so the body was lifted off the frame and set aside while most of the modifications were done to the frame. It was blasted, then a custom K-frame was added. It now runs a 2003 VX Commodore-sourced LS1 with most parts, including the brakes, diff, steering, and driveshaft, coming from various Commodore models. The interior was redone in two-tone to match the outside. “It’s great to drive, which is what we wanted,” said John. “You just get in it and drive” Here is a ride that is not for the faint-hearted. Custom built over 18 months, this beast runs a 350ci small block Chev engine and TH350 trans. A Falcon rear holds those massive Mickey Thompson tyres apart
Over the years, the Miss Kaikoura Hop and retro/vintage dressing up for the Hop have become very popular. Here are just some of the lovely ladies who went to the effort of dressing up for the occasion Although they had been to the Kaikoura Hop before, this was the first time that Aussie-based Kiwis Greg Fitzgibbon, Derek Roberts, and Marty Steel had attended in a rod. The trio, who made the trip over from Brisbane, had a great time in the tub belonging to their Christchurch mate Derek Tyson
This year’s burnout winner was Michael Ledgerwood, seen here after being presented with his award by event organizer Doug O’Callahan and Grid Girl Comp winner Shonny McCormick Our Friday pick: It’s always hard to single out one car at an event like this, but we heard this thing before we saw it and knew that it was something special. If your attention isn’t grabbed by the paint colour, then the blown small block will do it. Known as ‘Lola’, the ’32 three-window coupe belonging to Lyall and Lucy Stewart is stunning. The body is chopped four inches and is fitted with ’48 Chev tail lights. That stunning colour is courtesy of seven layers of candy apple red, while nine coats were laid down to create the flames, and then there’s metalflake over the top. The interior is done in leather, while the powerhouse is a 350 Chev topped with that awesome-looking Weiand 6-71 blower and backed by a TCI Streetfighter Street and Strip TH400 transmission. With American Racing wheels finishing the package off, it’s not hard to see why the car is popular!
Our Saturday pick: Timaru-based Frank Bray and wife Lyn have one hell of a ride. The couple purchased their ’53 Buick Super Riviera coupe resto rod almost exactly as it’s seen here, and have made only a few tweaks to it. The car is running a 401ci Nailhead engine that’s been nicely detailed with plenty of paint and chrome. Other than the beautiful two-tone paint, the thing that makes the car stand out is its stance. The coupe is sitting on a ’69 Camaro front clip and runs a ’70 Chevelle rear end. It has all-new glass, and the interior consists of a custom-made billet steering wheel and new leather trim over 2004 Pontiac GTO seats