David Kirk recieves Award of Merit for many years’ service
David Kirk - Photo by Neil MacKenzie
As the Eastern Southland Car Club prepares to celebrate 60 years this Saturday night one of their stalwarts, David Kirk of Gore, recounts how he thought little of it when his wife persuaded him to attend this year’s Motorsport New Zealand Awards evening at Te Papa in Wellington.
However during the evening it became apparent that he had been “conned” as he was among the recipients, being presented with an Award of Merit acknowledging many years’ service to motorsport. “I was gobsmacked,” he laughs.
Motorsport is in Kirky’s blood and his time in the sport makes for impressive reading.
“My first ever event was as part of Inky Tulloch’s Service Crew at the Rally Of Southland, It was when the event ran overnight,“ he recalls. He then became part of the service crew for another Eastern Southland driver, Graham Crawford, when he contested the National Championship. Then, in 1997, he travelled to the United States working for part of that time with good friend Lane Heenan in the Super Vee Series at Dave White Motorsport. “I drove the transporter all over the US. Tony George (CEO of Indianapolis Motor Speedway) was one of our drivers and we pushed one of the first ever non Indy Cars into Gasoline Alley which went down like a lead balloon with the locals. When I came back to New Zealand I helped Keastie (Winton driver John Keast) and then Greg Taylor followed by other top rally exponents such as Marty Roestenberg, Andrew Hawkeswood, Neil Allport in a couple of international’s plus there was also work at Asia-Pacific rally rounds in Rotorua and New Caledonia.”
Fifteen years ago Kirky became a motorsport steward. “Later I was asked to take a Deputy Event Director role around the Motor Race Championship. Ross Thurston and I would watch television and videos and dispense drive through penalties when required. I did that for six years. I wasn’t home often. One year I spent twenty-eight weekends away from home.”
Kirky also became a member of the Motorsport New Zealand Clubsport Committee responsible for running the National Clubsport Championship over one weekend at the start of March each year. He also revitalised the NZ Hillclimb Championship, worked on drift projects, and was then voted onto Motorsport NZ Executive for 6 years. He stepped away about thirteen months ago but his love of motorsport stays strong.
“I am off back to my club now to do more for the club as well as enjoying my own participation in motorsport.” Kirky has had his own car for eight years and contests selected events due to the fact he is also busy with his young family. His results include a sixth place at the NZ Hillclimb Championship and some top fifteen finishes in rallies. He has recently purchased a Mitsubishi EVO 6 and has already used it to great effect with a fifth place overall at the Reserve Road Hillclimb.
While the recent award was a highlight he also rates highly the time spent in the States. I met some neat people, some celebrities and because of the connection with the Hulman George family we pretty much had free reign at Indy, spending time watching the Indy 500 in the suite of Mrs Hulman George. “It was an unbelievable spectacle. I’m quite proud of some of the stuff I have done.”
He claims motorsport is his addiction. “I don’t care whether I’m a flag marshall, on the radio, in it or running it, I just love being involved.”