Story: Motor sport

Page 5. Car-club motor sport

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Local-club events

At club level, popular events included hill climbs, rallies, sprints and navigation trials. Other championship rounds in New Zealand were clubsport events and the national hill-climb series, which ran two two-day qualifying events on tarmac and gravel in both the North and South islands. An annual championship final alternates between the two islands.

Fast woman

One of New Zealand’s rare female motor sport champions was Sybil Lupp. In 1949 she won a South Island hill climb driving a supercharged MGTC. Lupp later spent many years as owner and manager of a Wellington garage specialising in Jaguars.

One-make and classic-car clubs

Cars with sporting traditions appeal greatly to owners in New Zealand. In classic and one-make car club competitions performance cars of the past maintain their sporting traditions in events tailored to their age and durability. The Porsche Club of New Zealand is one of the largest single-make clubs, claiming 600 members. It organises driver training and events at major motor sport circuits. Other clubs cater for owners of Ferraris, the Mazda MX-5 (the largest single-model club, with 500 members), MGs, Morgans and Austin Healeys and Alfa Romeos. There are also clubs for owners of sporty versions of the Mini and other models from volume-vehicle makers that have made cars with strong competition appeal.

Jowett Javelins and Jupiters

The Jowett car club was formed in 1962 to ‘provide fellowship amongst owners’ of the British-made Jowett cars. A Jowett first arrived in New Zealand in 1916. From 1948 two-cylinder Bradford vans made by the Jowett company were assembled in Auckland. These and other Jowett makes, such as the fast four-cylinder Javelin and Jupiter, are regularly raced by club members.

Classic and vintage cars

Classic and vintage cars are catered for by clubs that arrange mostly social events and touring runs. Some also include competitive gymkhanas in their programmes. One such is the New Zealand Jowett Club, whose members have 20 examples of the sporty Jupiter, which had class wins at Le Mans from 1950 to 1952, and 89 Javelins, another European rally-winning model in 1949 and 1953. Also in the club are more than 100 Bradford vans and 18 Jowetts built between 1916 and 1939.

Four-wheel-drive vehicles

The New Zealand Four Wheel Drive Association, founded in 1974, represented about 60 national, regional and special-interest clubs, totalling more than 2,000 members in 2012. The association sponsored a series of national cross-country trials over difficult terrain such as hills, watercourses, bogs and steep slopes, for both production and modified vehicles. Vehicles are equipped with winches and, when stalled by an obstacle, the co-driver operates the winch to get the vehicle back on firm ground.

Motor sport volunteers

The long-established car clubs movement, which controlled motor sport in New Zealand until 1967, provided thousands of motor sport enthusiasts who supported the organisation of events in many ways. There is even a club in New Zealand for people who are interested in motor sport but who don’t own cars. The Motorsport Club seeks to encourage volunteers with a passion for motor sport, seeing them as integral to the sport. Volunteers carry out tasks such as administration, documentation, scrutineering, block marshalling, flag marshalling, grid, startline, timekeeping, fire rescue and track marshalling.

How to cite this page:

Jim Webber, 'Motor sport - Car-club motor sport', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, http://www.TeAra.govt.nz/en/motor-sport/page-5 (accessed 23 November 2019)

Story by Jim Webber, published 5 Sep 2013, updated 1 Apr 2016