More of My Flickr photos

Friday, January 27, 2006

NZ 4 and Rotary Nationals Weekend - a reflection

Well, first let me start off by saying that game of the week is postponed until I work out some technical issues with the 'puter, and will be replaced with "Hotel of the week" brought to you from The Hilton in Kuala Lumpur and The Carlton in Singapore, next week and the following week respectively.

Until then, let us (the NZ car enthisiasts, us, not the ARGers us, or the shoppers us) reflect on past Nationals weekends, as this is the 10th anniversary.

From what I am told, the first Nationals's(eseseses) were held in Taupo, in an open air environment, as a basic show and shine. No flashy lights/dj's/promo girls etc, just your typical rotary parked up for a day of showing off - Rx 2s and 3s and the like in their original (or originally restored) glory. I"m not sure if MREC organised it then, but it quickly evolved from a small group of Wankel enthusiasts into a large gathering of petrol heads.

I didn't personally get around to the Nationals until Labour Weekend 2000 (prior to that I lived in Christchurch). In those days you were the absolute man if you could pull a low 13 out of your 2l. Rotangs were doing mid 14s - 15s, and you could always count on Reece McGregor to bog the change to 2nd. Ronnie Lim was doing 11s in his still black standard looking integra, and Brett Lee Sang was hidden in the dark shadow of his older brother Quin (1600cc fwd famila hatch). Justin Rood wasn't NZ's drift king, he was the overall knockout winner of the drags in a purple 12 second GTiR. That year I had the worst sun stroke ever, but still managed to get into town that night, to witness the infamous Nationals boyracer'ism. Drags down Quay Street, car to car violence and threats down Queen Street, and the everlasting drag chain down the South Western Motorway towards Neilson Street and Montgomerie Road.

Since then, times have changed. You're not special unless you're a street car pulling 10s. 11s are the norm, and the battle for fastest import is down to the 7s. Reece McGregor is now one of the ballsiest drivers to hit the strip (and he can change gear in his straight cut dog box). Ronnie Lim, in his bright blue and green Mag And Turbo, is a consistent (pending drivetrain durability) 10second driver, and there's more focus on the show scene than ever before.

Ofcourse, with time and progress comes a new generation of enthusiast. Ofcourse, these enthusiast types have always been around, but they are expressed in different ways. It used to be the bogan in the sacked out matte black escort, now it's the dude in the big baggy pants, way down their asses, in the sacked out, camo (insert common jap import here), blaring the latest tunes from Jay-Z. It used to be diesel burnouts in empty industrial streets - now it's high speed car vs car races down busy main roads. I'm not expressing an opinion here, but holding the topic open for thought. The amount of money being spent on these cars nowadays is stupid (Matt and I are case and point), but is the application any more efficient? Have we learnt anything more from the days of old, or are our turbos just bigger and shinier? Are we spending money in the right places, or just pouring it down the drain?

I'll be back next week with a Flickr link (hopefully) for images etc from the show and drags, and results of the weekend - Cross your fingers for us, or come down to the Show and Shine and vote for us in Peoples Choice - EVLGSR!!! I'd like the Best Mitsi $1000 cheque to help with shopping in Singapore please!