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MG Classic – the best classic motor racing meeting in NZ

MG Classic – the best classic motor racing meeting in New Zealand

Sybil Lupp

This year’s MG Car Club Classic Meeting at Manfeild: Circuit Chris Amon, takes place from Friday, 15 November to Sunday, 17 November and promises the best classic motor racing in New Zealand.

The programme of at least 40 races includes the return of the Formula 5000 cars along with Historic Muscle and Saloon Cars, Pre 65 cars, Historic Sports Sedans, NZ Sports Cars and Formula Libra, Historic Single Seaters and Sports Cars, Classic Saloon and Sports Cars and Allcomers.

Ron Robertson, who has organised the meeting for the past 17 years says they are expecting close to 300 entries for the 34th running of this calendar event.

Ron Robertson says, “The MG Classic meeting attracts entries from all over the country. This year’s meeting is guaranteed to provide an unrivalled spectacle with more V8s than Bathurst. From the thundering Formula 5000 and Historic Muscle cars to tightly contested handicap races, spectators will enjoy close racing and being able to see the cars at close quarters in the pits.

Manfeild: Circuit Chris Amon, named in honour of former New Zealand Formula One driver Chris Amon, is a purpose-built course that uniquely enables spectators to observe the entire racetrack.

A feature of the meeting is the Sybil Lupp Invitation Memorial race. Sybil Lupp was a New Zealand mechanic, motor-racing driver, garage proprietor and motor vehicle dealer.

Ron Robertson says, “Sybil was the first New Zealand woman to achieve national prominence in motor racing and to establish a significant automotive business. She learned to drive at when she was 11 years old and was a competitive racer for most of her 30s.”

Sybil Lupp founded the Otago Sports Car Club and, as the club's delegate in 1947-48, she became the first woman member of the executive of the new Association of New Zealand Car Clubs, later, the Motorsport Association of New Zealand.

From 1947 to 1954 she successfully competed in hill climbs, sprints and circuit races in MGs and later Jaguars. She held the Class F (1,100–1,500cc) NZ quarter-mile flying start record of 100.52 mph for six years.

“The Sybil Lupp Invitation Memorial race is very important to the MG Car Club. Sybil not only established the MG Car Club in New Zealand but was also Patron of the Club for many years and an avid supporter of the MG Classic until her death in 1994.”

Last year’s Sybil Lupp Memorial race was won by 17-year-old Jemma Barnes from Wanganui driving a borrowed 1963 Holden EJ Special. Although Jemma had competed successfully in speedway for several years, this was her first experience of circuit racing.

Ron Robertson says, “Jemma started the weekend achieving a reasonable 1.40.59 in practice. In her second race at last year’s meeting, she was doing well with a best lap of 1.36.35. In the Sybil Lupp Memorial race, she was down to 1.34.22 and led the field for the whole six laps coming home to win the race.

“We were delighted that the Sybil Lupp race was won by a young woman with a bright future in circuit racing and, to encourage more women to go motor racing, we are giving them the same discounted entry rate that MG Car Club members receive, to any class at the MG Classic, as long as they accept our invitation to run in the Sybil Lupp Memorial race.”

Meeting Details: Practice and Qualifying takes place on Friday, 15 November, with races held from 9.00 am to 4.30 pm on Saturday, 16 November and Sunday, 17 November. General Admission is $25.00 with children under 14 free when accompanied by an adult.


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