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Memories Uppermost as Teretonga Marks 60 Years

Memories Uppermost as Teretonga Marks 60 Years

It was all about enjoyment and memories as 60 years of action at Teretonga Park was celebrated at the country’s oldest motor racing circuit near Invercargill on Saturday.

The Southland Sports Car Club built the circuit and has operated it since the first race meeting on Saturday 30 November 1957. To celebrate the milestone the club held a day for past and present members with a Standing ¼ in the morning and a Flying 1/10th in the afternoon. In between, participants enjoyed a bbq lunch in the perfect conditions. The day concluded with a social hour in the clubrooms. Ladies were given free entry to participate to acknowledge their contribution to club activities over the years. Wendy Jenks, a life member of the club, was the driving force behind the event which saw an amazing array of seventy-five cars with past and present members mingling and sharing yarns. No current competition cars were permitted.

“It was a great day,” said Jenks. “The weather was great, there were so many good people present and the cars ranged from Alex McLennan’s Vauxhall 10 and Barry Keen’s Triumph to Chris Thompson’s Chev Impala. The results really weren't important.” A cake was cut by Life Members Jenks, Jack Johnstone, Barry Keen, York Wills and Alan Batt during the Social Hour.

For many the highlight of the day was meeting old friends and reliving old memories. That was certainly so for Barry Keen of Invercargill. Keen, who was awarded Life Membership at the Club’s 2017 AGM, won a saloon car race on the first day of competition at Teretonga in a Standard 8 and was there again on Saturday with a Triumph Herald 13/60. It is the third Triumph HeraId Keen has owned and he even used one to tow the Begg 650 around when he drove for George Begg. “Everyone else had cars like Morris Minors back then, I wanted something different.” Keen remembered the early days of Teretonga when lupins surrounded the circuit. “If a car went off it actually disappeared.”

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Another with great memories of some of those early days was Dunedin’s Brian Scott. Scott is a member of the Southland Sports Car Club and one of three sons of the late Bob Scott, a former Mayor of Kaitangata and prominent motorsport competitor. Brian remembers coming to Teretonga for the first time in 1963 with his father and recalls drivers such as Jim Clark when the Formula 1 aces of the era would race there. He remembers a year when his brother Greg, then aged 3, disappeared at the circuit. “They searched everywhere, even the long drops they had in those days. He was eventually located asleep in a tyre.” Scott was competing in a Chev Corvette on Saturday, emblazoned with two very poignant messages. The first acknowledged past club members and competitors. “I have met a lot of people no longer with us.” The other remembered one of his Dad’s feats on the circuit. “In 1970 three 2 litre Ferrari’s were brought out to Australasia and the only time they did not fill the top three positions was at Teretonga when Dad split them in his Ford Special powered by a 1500cc Cortina engine. I am told Dad was second and they wanted to give him the winner’s trophy but he would not have it.”

The next action at Teretonga Park is a two day meeting presented by Downer over the weekend of 2/3 December.


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