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Club reaches good vintage

Peter and Nola Groves in “Mother”, a 1924 Austin 20. She became “Mother” after a baby Austin joined the family. PHOTO/KEVIN BALL

 

Emily Ireland

The Wairarapa Vintage Car Club will be out in full force this weekend as it celebrates its 50th birthday.

Their membership of a few dozen in 1968 when it was founded has grown to about 160 today, with each member holding their own memories of their time in the club.

Current club captain Francis Pointon, of Pointon Motors, has been with the club since 1979.

He, his wife Gaye Pointon, and other members, have been organising the club’s 50th anniversary celebrations to be held this weekend.

As part of the weekend of celebrations, almost 100 vintage and veteran vehicles will flock Wairarapa to take part in rallies, tours, a gymkhana styled event and Jubilee Car Show.

“We predicted because of the downturn in rallying in the past few years that we would only get about 50 entries, but we have ended up with close to 100,” Francis said.

This reflected the popularity of vintage car events in Wairarapa.

In fact, the vibe of the region seems to be a match made in heaven for vintage petrol-heads.

“We are so lucky in the Wairarapa,” Gaye said.

“Vintage car enthusiasts love coming here because of our roads, the lack of traffic, and drivers who are understanding of the speed limit some veteran cars have.”

“When we joined, a vintage car was really vintage – the older the better.

“But the Vintage Car Club overall in New Zealand brought in a rule that any car older than 30 years, was actually eligible to be in the membership.

“So, when organising club events, you are catering for all sorts of vehicles over an 80-year range, from really slow veteran cars that go a top speed of 25 miles an hour, up to cars that are going everyday speeds.”

While some clubs nationally had a declining membership, Wairarapa was gaining members in people who had recently relocated to the region, and also some “really young enthusiastic guys that have bought or restored vintage cars”.

“We didn’t get many members for a while and as the membership got older, the runs got more casual,” Francis said.

“But in the past five years, we have started to pick up some younger members again.”

While a lot of events were smooth sailing, there were some challenges that came with operating such old vehicles, Francis said.

“Imagine you have to go to the ferry and you need to catch it at 7am for an event down south.

“You have to leave here in the dark – and vintage cars have got almost candles for lights,” he said laughing.

“So, it’s a lot of planning, but also a lot of fun.”

At Saturday’s event, participants will leave from Clareville Showgrounds at 10am and set off on one of three available routes to Eketahuna and back.

There will be a short route, a longer and more competitive route, and a touring route.

Masterton people can expect to see the vehicles return to town along Colombo Rd and Dixon St between 2pm and 3pm in the afternoon on Saturday.

That night, car club members and event participants will celebrate the club’s 50 years with a prizegiving function and the launch of a book detailing the club’s first 50 years, written by Maureen Bull.

At this event, the club founder Rex Porter’s De Dion Bouton (1907) will be on show.

Sunday will be the big day for public participation, with the club hosting a car show day at Solway Showgrounds.

There will be cars on show and a gymkhana styled event, food stalls, a compere and music.

This event opens at 10am to the public and people are encouraged to wear 60s or vintage fashion.

Admission is $5 a car load, or a gold coin donation for each person.

Profits from this event will go to the Life Flight Trust.

The Pointons said they would like to thank major sponsor Fagan Motors, and also the wider Wairarapa for their support over the years.

“If you see us out and about, give us a toot,” Gaye said.

 

Timeline:

August 1968: The Wairarapa Branch of the Vintage Car Club of New Zealand was officially founded on August 3.

October 1968: Inaugural Rally was held at Solway showgrounds, Masterton.

November 1968: Wairarapa Branch of the Vintage Car Club of New Zealand became incorporated.

1968 – 1975: Clubrooms at Akura Road, Masterton. The old dairy factory.

1976 – 1991: Clubrooms at the old Kopuranga School, Kopuranga, Masterton.

1983: Annual Motorcycle rally renamed the Gold Medal Trial.

1986: Annual October rally renamed the Rex Porter Memorial Rally.

1991: Clareville Complex Carterton became permanent clubrooms.

1994: Branch introduced our symbolic green and gold shirts, jackets and vests.

1983: National 8th Veteran and Vintage Motorcycle Rally held at Tauherenikau race course.

1989: Branch 21st Anniversary and Easter rally.

1993: Branch 25th Anniversary. Hosted the North Island Easter rally. Opening of our new clubrooms.

1998: McLean Motorcar Act Centennial 1898 – 1998.

2002: Branch hosted the National Annual Conference of the VCC at Copthorne Hotel Solway.

2007: 25th Anniversary Gold Medal Trial.

2013: Branch hosted the National North Island Easter rally.

 

Members in 1968

Ian Barton
Bill Baxter
Geoff Bews
Tony Blatchford
Glen Bull
Maureen Bull
Graham Cowie
Barbara Deane
Alan Douglas
Roy Elwin
Graham Gordon
Peter Groves
Bobby Harcombe
Dan Harte
Arthur Holland
Jack Hounslow
Torq Hudson
Alan Jones
Alistair Jones
Les Jones
Marie Jones
Win Jones
John Keedwell
Donald Laing
John Lamb
Ivan Larsen
Gavin McEwen
Gavin McLachlan
Rex Porter
Michael Robinson
Percy Russell
Neil Skeet
Chris Slater
Bill Smith
Frank Smith
Peter Smith
Dale Wadham
Neville Warren

 

Emily Ireland
Emily Ireland
Emily Ireland is Wairarapa’s Local Democracy Reporter, a Public Interest Journalism role funded through NZ On Air. Emily has worked at the Wairarapa Times-Age for seven years and has a keen interest in council decision-making and transparency.

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