Wheels week seventh heaven

Neil Gardner driving his deep green Lotus 7 replica in the Ashburton Car Club's motokhana.

Neil Gardner, driving a deep green Lotus 7 replica he has owned for many years, took top
honours in last weekend’s Ashburton Car Club’s motokhana.

Around 30 drivers put pedal to the metal at the Spray Marks car park in downtown Ashburton, to complete a series of circuits in the fastest times.

They were watched by thrillseekers of every age, drawn to gunning vehicles and the squeal, smells and smoke of burning rubber and hot engines.

Gardner, of Christchurch, the adult son of former 10 times national champion Dick Gardner, showed his own talent beating fellow Cantabrians Daniel Males (second) and Chris Protheroe (third).

Car Club secretary Kim Adams said drivers took part from around Canterbury and included a family from Timaru.

Club members are now gearing up for the annual street sprints this weekend with two full days of racing around the industrial estate.

Racing starts on Saturday and Sunday from 8am.

There had been run-off effects of covid such as as shortage of shipping containers and recent covid positive cases from drivers or pit crew, but it is great to have KFC on board as the major sponsor, she said.

She was also grateful for the support of the community, sponsors, businesses in the industrial estate and people donating their time to help run the event.

‘‘It’s not just an Ashburton Car Club event but by the whole community,’’ she said.

‘‘Without them we wouldn’t be able to do it. No, couldn’t do it. We are ready.”

Over the weekend a demo run will include car club life members Keith Pickford (patron), Chris Morrison, Peter Woods, Donn McLaren, Daniel Tew and Rod McElrea.

It was more about the men than their cars, she said.

And with the weather forecast finally favourable, McLaren will get to use the 30th anniversary red tyres bought by the club for the 2019 event but not used; it rained.

The event was then cancelled the following year due to covid, and last year – following the
death of Kim’s husband, Shane, who was also club president, club members thought the tyres, an idea of Shane’s, would finally be used. But it rained.

This year is the year, the forecast is for 18 or 19 degrees both days, Kim said.

McLaren’s smoke display will be on Sunday afternoon.

Entry is a gold coin donation for spectators who are guaranteed some top sprint action as 65 drivers vie for a position in the top 32, and a victorious run in the finals on Sunday.