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Will Hampton Downs finally be completed?

27 March, 2015

Is Tony Quinn New Zealand motorsport’s Bruce Wayne? It would seem so if the current rumours are true, and the VIP Petfoods giant has finally been successful in his quest to purchase the financialy crippled Hampton Downs Motorsport Park. In two recent interviews, Quinn has been very vocal about trying to fix what he sees is wrong with New Zealand Motorsport, and he knew he needed two tracks to do it. 

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His quest began back in 2012 when he made his first attempt at purchasing Hampton Downs, and around the same time took over the Highlands Motorsport Park project. With his first offer on Hamptons turned down, he then made inroads to purchasing either Queensland Raceway or more recently Taupo Motorsport Park. Both deals failed to see pen put to paper. Little did we know that he had again made a bid for Hamptons and if the rumours are true then the deal has been made.

Hampton Downs is New Zealand’s busiest motorsport park, operating 320 days a year; but despite this, it hasn’t been without its financial issues leaving the venue unfinished and with a for-sale sign out front basically since it opened. 

So what does this mean for you and me? The facility could now see the completion of the 1.2km club circuit, giving Hampton’s three possible track layouts, the longest of which would be 3.8km. There will no doubt also be other additions to make the venue more financially viable 

It is said current management will remain in place, and I highly doubt Quinn will mirror the business model of Highlands. Which I would like to point out is the only way that venue would exist, due to the strict resource consents allowing only minimal events per year;  Quinn is after all a business man, and from an outsider’s view seems to have New Zealand motorsport’s best interests at heart. This is why I liken him to Batman/Bruce Wayne; a well-to-do business man trying to do good, but often grossly misunderstood. 

We will keep a close eye on the deal as details unfold.

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.