Thunder In Westland Street Race
An inaugural Thunder in Westland motor bike street race is due to take place in the central business area of Hokitika on June 2, the Sunday of Queen’s Birthday weekend.
Thunder in Westland has attracted some of New Zealand’s best including NZ Formula 1 contender, John Hepburn, from Timaru, Hornby Auctions Buell 1200 Harley Davidson racing Bears champion, Lindsay A Williamson, and Westland’s own Robert Stuart who has taken out first place in the Best of British 750 class four times since 1994.
Mr Stuart said he has been racing bikes for 15 years with mostly first and second placing in the Bear’s and Classic classes, raced on a 750 Norton.
“Now I am also racing a 1997 1180cc Motor Guzzi” he said. The bike was written off and rebuilt by Mr Stuart over two years.
Mr Stuart has been part of a WINZ 13 week project drilling holes for protective fencing around the 1.3km Hokitika town racing circuit, and he has been filling bags with sphagnum moss and tyres with concrete for protective measures.
“It was his dream to have this event here” Westland District Council events co-ordinator, Mike Keenan said.
Other volunteers to offer assistance have been the Hokitika ATV 4x4 Wheel Drive Club, the Hokitika Soccer Club, West Football, Keenans Farm Maintenance, Excavator World and the Lions and Rotary Clubs.
“Without the volunteers the event would simply never take place” Mr Keenan said. “The town has got into the spirit of things in supporting the event, some businesses have decorated their windows accordingly and council has a motor bike in the foyer”.
Eighty nine riders and more than 130 motor bikes, crews and supporters are due in town from as far north as Featherston and south to Invercargill. Local Motor Cycle New Zealand Regional Co-ordinator and race steward, Gary Sinclair, will be in attendance to see New Zealand safety standards are upheld throughout events.
Racing begins at 10am Sunday and enthusiasts will be able to inspect the bikes at a Sunday lunchtime parade around the track, to include Porshes, MG’s and side cars.
Entry is $5 and $10 for family with any proceeds above budget going back into coffers for next years event.