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Day in the dirt

16 June, 2014


Sunday, March 2 saw the running of the City Hire South 4th Annual Vintage Speedway and Hot Rod ‘Day-in-the-Dirt’ out at the Ellesmere Raceway in Leeston, Canterbury.

It was billed as a family fun day and was hosted by the Canterbury Vintage Speedway Enthusiasts Club. It gave a chance for all classes of motor vehicles to enjoy running on a speedway circuit. Open to rat-rods, vintage race cars, vintage speedway classes, and motorbikes, a good number of races took up the challenge.

Scrutineering started around 9am and the dirt started flying at 11am. A good-sized crowd turned out to enjoy the racing, and with the sun out, many took the opportunity to picnic trackside. An area was set aside for dedicated parking of hot rods, classics, and vintage cars. Kids were taken care of with a bouncy castle and Mr Whippy.   Check out the gallery below to see exactly what happened throughout the day.

Taipan – surpassing interest

“It’s merely a passing interest,” insists Selby — despite owning three variants of the classic VW Beetle, including an unusual VW van that was sold as a body kit for a Subaru. In his defence he points to a 1961 Ford Thunderbird, a car that he converted to right-hand drive. However, on the VW side of the ledger, since he opened Allison Autos in Whanganui 27 years ago, Selby has built 15 VW-powered Formula First cars, followed by a beach buggy, restored a derelict Karmann Ghia, and hot-rodded a common or garden Beetle into something that has to be seen to be believed. As speed is not something generally associated with classic VWs, though, Selby is still waiting for this particular modification to catch on amongst the hot rod faithful.

Travelling companion

It’s easy to see why the Morris Minor Traveller was one of the best-loved variants of the Morris Minor. Introduced in 1953, it was equipped with the same independent torsion bar front suspension, drum brakes, and rack and pinion steering as its saloon sibling but, with their foldable rear seat increasing versatility, many Travellers were used as trade vehicles, says Derek Goddard. Derek and Gail Goddard, the owners of this superbly restored example, have run Morris Minors since before they were married in 1974.
“Our honeymoon vehicle was a blue Morris Minor van — it was a rust bucket,” says Derek.