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Keen Entrants – Literally – Counting Down Days/sleeps Until First Post Lockdown Motor Racing Meeting At Pukekohe

NaZCAR Pro Series Round 2 Trump Support BMWE3617 of Andrew Ayre and Greg Honnor lead.

The excitement is building, and the expectation is almost palpable says novelty motor race event organiser, Dr Jacob Simonsen, as he puts the finishing touches to next weekend’s BadThurst 12 Hour endurance race at Pukekohe’s Pukekohe Park Raceway.

The December 18-19 event was created specifically to celebrate the end of New Zealand’s latest, longest, and hopefully last, COVID-19 Lockdown., and will be the first to be held under the NZ Govrernment’s new Traffic Light-based COVID-19 pandemic response system (which takes into account a person’s vaccination status) introduced on November 29.

Dr Simonsen reports a ‘healthy’ interest in the new one-off, two-day, 12hr race event with some early-bird entrants telling him that they were literally ‘counting down the days (or ‘sleeps’ as some of them put it) until they hit the track.

“As such,” he said last night,” it’s become a sort of ‘advent calendar’ for some of our team members. Which I guess is an unintended consequence of running an event the weekend before Christmas.”

In saying that Dr Simonsen has yet to reach track capacity – as he has with his new continuous 24 Hour race at Hampton Downs which still see an entry of over 100 cars and more than 500 drivers when it is finally run over the February 19 & 20 weekend, next year; something he puts down to two things…..

  1. The fact that for many competitors, particularly those who live and work in Auckland, the December 18-19 weekend is the first in which they can travel beyond the borders of the Super City for four months,…..meaning that some already had made plans to ‘get out of Dodge‘ this particular weekend.
  2. Others appear to be at odds with the strict Government protocols vis-a vis its new My Vaccine Pass ID system.
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Simply put, no major event (motor racing or other) can be held unless everyone is double vaccinated and can produce their My Vaccine Pass to prove it.

Which is all well and good, says Dr Simonsen, until you are faced with a number (not large, he admits, but significant to him as an event promoter) of prospective competitors who, though they object to ‘getting the jab,’ have told him that they would be happy to take a COVID-19 test ahead of event to prove that they are virus-free.

“This is what the airlines are doing with their “Fit to Fly’ certificates and I think it is a much better way of handling a situation which can become very fraught and very confrontational, very quickly, rather than simply saying ‘vaccinated – good, unvaccinated - bad.’

With the much heralded relaxing of the current border restrictions on Wednesday Dec 15, the BadThurst 12 Hour race at Pukekohe on December 18 & 19 will enjoy the status of being the first major motor racing meeting to be held in the greater Auckland area for over four months

The unique format of the BadThurst 12 Hour race sees two separate races making up 12 Hours, the first over four hours on the Saturday, then the second – covering the other eight – on the Sunday.

The Government’s hard-line response to the Delta strain of the COVID-19 virus proved particularly hard on motor racing event organisers like Dr Simonsen this year.

He was forced to cancel the third and final round of his new NaZCAR 3 and 6-Hour Pro Series, then he postponed the ‘jewel’ in his novelty event crown, the 24 Hours of NaZCAR event at Hampton Downs, not once but twice, first from the original dates (Sept 24 and 25) to Thursday and Friday October 21 & 22, then to February 19-20 next year!

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