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George Begg Racing Event Put On Pause For 2021

The COVID-19 pandemic has forced organisers to put a pause on the George Begg Classic Speedfest for 2021, with a more traditional classic racing event sponsored by Mobil 1 set to be held instead.

Transport World, and its event arm TW Events & Incentives, hosted the first-ever George Begg Classic Speedfest at Teretonga Park in February this year. Organisers are already eyeing 2022 for the return of a weekend of retro racing in tribute to the legendary Southland engineer – and a golden age in Kiwi motorsport.

But racing enthusiasts won’t miss out, with the Southland Sports Car Club set to hold a classic speedfest event, sponsored by Mobil 1, this summer.

Transport World marketing and tourism manager Hannah Whyte says the organisation is hopeful a George Begg event is on the cards for 2022.

"We know there’s a really loyal motorsport following here in Southland and we encourage people to support the Mobil 1 Classic Speedfest this summer," she says. "While it’s not quite what we had planned, the last few months has shown all of us that we need to be adaptable and we’re hopeful we can bring an event that celebrates the achievements of George Begg back to the deep south again – just a little bit later than we expected."

The George Begg Classic Speedfest was about paying tribute to a Southland motorsport legend, and celebrating a golden age in Kiwi motorsport, she says.

"We see a festival celebrating George Begg as an opportunity for Invercargill. Our city has created a real point of difference and has a growing reputation as the country’s leading destination for those keen to celebrate everything wheeled," she says.

Racing car constructor George Begg built 18 vehicles, which took on some of the top motorsport names across the globe in the 1960s and 70s, in his Drummond workshop.

"The long-term vision for the George Begg event is to grow an event that not only attracts motorsport enthusiasts but also a broader audience, and increase the number of visitors to our city. We want the off-track action, including fashion, food and live entertainment, to be as much of a drawcard for people as the racing itself.

"While it’s disappointing we won’t be progressing with a 2021 event, 2020 has been a challenging year. Our team wants to deliver a sensational event and we’re looking ahead to the future when we are in a position once more to do that," Whyte says.

Details about a future event will be confirmed at a later date.

In February Transport World also opened the George Begg Bunker at Classic Motorcycle Mecca, creating a focal point for city-wide festivities celebrating the engineer. The 1600m2, custom-built exhibit space features a collection of vehicles built by Begg.

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