Close this search box.

Big guns head to Hampton Downs

24 November, 2015


The new-look motor-racing season in New Zealand got off to a great start with the first Premier Motorsport event at Taupo Motorsport Park in October, before the big classes then moved on to the ITM 500 V8 Supercar event at Pukekohe.

Over the weekend of November 28–29, the country’s major racing categories are in action once again, at the V8 Festival at Hampton Downs Motorsport Park. And if the racing at the first two meetings is anything to go by, then fans who head along to the North Waikato track this Saturday or Sunday are in for a real treat.
The revitalized BNT NZ Touring Cars are already finding their feet as a combined class of V8 SuperTourer, TLX, and TL-spec cars, and have produced some epic encounters already, most notably the first race at Taupo, which was regarded by many as one of the country’s best touring-car races for some time. Won by former Bathurst winner Jason Bargwanna, and packed with close racing and the odd controversial incident, the series now has everything touring-car fans hoped for. It can only get better, and with a full pit lane of the racers at the upcoming Hampton Downs event, the action is set to continue.
Youth vs maturity is the story of the epic climax to the UDC V8 Ute Racing Series, which will be played out at Hampton Downs during the V8 Festival. After a long, competitive, closely fought, and challenging championship, either Sam ‘Bazza’ Barry or Brett ‘The Scud’ Rudd will likely lift the series crown, and for either it will be hugely well-deserved.
The exciting Toyota Finance 86 Championship heads to Hampton Downs for the second round of its own bigger and better 2015 series. No fewer than 16 of the good-looking rear-wheel drive racers took to the track at Pukekohe, and we should see a similar field at Hampton Downs. Close racing is guaranteed.
Another crowd-pleaser heading for the North Waikato is the Ssangyong Actyon Ute Racing Series, where you can see some of the brightest young stars of the future show their skills at a large race meeting. The racing is nose-to-tail and the lap times incredibly close. It’s hugely entertaining and a great showcase for those competing.
The two TradeZone GT grids will wow the fans over the weekend, with the awesome GT1 and GT2 machinery likely to be amongst the very fastest machines racing. With sports prototypes, old supercars on steroids, and ex-factory GT cars, the class is petrolhead heaven. GT3 and GT4 combines slightly slower ‘home-grown–type’ machinery, and whilst the grid does not have the outright speed of its big brother, it nevertheless provides big fields and very close racing.
The classic Kumho Pre-65s are always a very popular addition to any race meeting, and the category is back for its second Premier Motorsport event at Hampton Downs, while the NZ Sports Cars (combined with a Formula Libre element for this event) bring modern aerodynamics and technology, and are more like baby Le Mans–type cars than anything else.
Action on Saturday, November 28 begins at 8.30am, and on Sunday, November 29 at 8.35am. General admission is just $20 on Saturday and $30 on Sunday, with kids under 12 going free. You can buy in advance at, or purchase at the gate.

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.