The Manawatū Car Club prepares to celebrate its 75th anniversary.
The Manawatu Car Club is gearing up to celebrate a 75-year milestone.
The club, formed by a small group of enthusiasts in June 1947, is one of the oldest in the country and one of the founding clubs which formed the Motorsport Association of New Zealand.
The club celebrated its 75th anniversary this year and the celebrations will culminate in a two-day motorsport festival at Manfeild in Feilding on Saturday and Sunday.
The event is a thank you to the community, acknowledging their support of the club over the years.
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From the earliest days, the club earned an enviable reputation for success due to its visionary approach to the sport.
Shortly after the club’s inception, it partnered with the Air Force to race at Ōhakea Base Airfield, using the runway and taxiways.
This led to the club hosting the first New Zealand Grand Prix in 1950, while Ōhakea Trophy meetings continued until 1956.
Three decades later, the races returned to the Air Force base with a popular Ōhakea Reunion series.
One of the club’s greatest achievements was the construction of the Manfeild Circuit on marshland on the southern edge of Feilding in 1973.
The most notable feature were the sloping corners which presented a major challenge to D Higgins and Sons, who were contracted to do the construction.
New techniques were developed to meet design requirements and the first meeting took place nine months after the first turf was developed.
Meetings with top Australian riders began the following year, but it was in the late 1980s that Manfeild became truly international.
Against all odds, the Feilding track hosted the final round of the FIM Superbike World Championship for the first of four times, the only circuit in New Zealand to have achieved such status.
The club also has a proud history of member achievement at the regional, national and international level.
The list includes many national racing and rally champions, while on the world stage Brendon Hartley became the ninth New Zealand driver to compete in Formula 1 before winning several Le Mans 24 Hours races and world championships. of stamina.
His older brother, Nelson, set a land-class speed record at the Bonneville Salt Flats in the United States, driving the world’s fastest mini prepared by Hartley Engines at an average round trip of 251.130 km/h in 2016 .
Today the club has the largest membership in the country with over 450 people, a result of the local focus with its successful summer and winter series attracting riders from the Northern Isles and the South.
The 75th Anniversary Final begins Friday afternoon with a vehicle display and activities in Feilding’s Manchester Square from 4:00 p.m. to 5:30 p.m., followed by two full days of racing at Manfeild, which will include vehicle demo sessions at the drift and specials of various groups.
This year’s winter series has attracted record entries for each round and organizers believe round four could bring a record series of over 150 competitors.
The race will be close and fiercely contested in all eight classes as the series points are extremely tight, with several outcomes potentially decided on the last lap of the final races.
A special attraction will be the Historic and Vintage Racing Association.
Members of the association will take part in the circuit for the first time in many years.
These enthusiasts drive real race cars from the early 1960s to the mid 1970s with decent history.
With a focus on families, kids can collect bumper stickers to put on a memorial folder.
For the public there will be an expanded food court and the ability to walk the circuit during lunch breaks, a unique experience, with donations supporting Manchester House’s suicide awareness programme.
Races start at 9am both days with free entry.