Preparations step up for weekend of motorsport

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Motorsport will be front and centre this Labour weekend in Waimate as race cars, drivers and support crews, along with thousands of sport enthusiasts, cram the South Canterbury town to enjoy a big programme of motorsport racing and associated events.

Waimate 50 GT Series chairman Rob Aikman said preparations were now under way to build the track in the streets of Waimate, with the crews involved in getting safety barriers in place and the track laid out.

“It’s a busy time leading up to the event,” he said.

“The vehicles have also been arriving in town for scrutineering, and all races, apart from the Loot Jewellers Main Street Thunder on Saturday night are now fully subscribed and closed.”

One of the feature vehicles at the McKeown Petroleum Waimate 50GT Series meet will be the Ralph Smith owned Lycoming, which has certainly had a chequered history since it first raced in the late 1940s.

The car was rebuilt by current owner Ralph Smith and returned to the racing circuit in 1984, where it was seen at a number of venues including the Waimate street race.

Mr Aikman said having the Lycoming back in Waimate would be a highlight of the meeting.

“The Lycoming is certainly one of the iconic vehicles which was closely associated with the early era of the Waimate50,” he said.

The town is also beginning to be dressed for the event with flags and posters throughout and a display of the trophies to be won by winning drivers in the window of long-time event supporter/sponsor and new Waimate mayor Craig Rowley’s Loot Jewellers.

By James Ford