By SHELLEY TOPP
Rangiora’s annual Muscle Car Madness car show narrowly avoided a red light under the Government’s new Covid-19 traffic light setting.
The event was held at the Rangiora A&P Showgrounds on Saturday and Sunday last weekend, with a twin town run of the vehicles through the Rangiora and Kaiapoi central business districts last Thursday evening.
But, just a few hours after Sunday’s show finished New Zealand went into the Covid 19 red traffic light system, which would have put the brakes on the whole show if it had come any earlier.
Organiser Craig Steere was thrilled to be able to hold the event which once again attracted big crowds on both days and a large number of vehicles on display, including a nitro-methane powered 472 Hemi racing car owned by Pete Schimanski, a retired dairy farmer from Palmerston North.
The speed machine was built in the United States during the 1980s and is “good to do” speeds up to 320 kilometres an hour.
Pete said he is still learning to drive the car but he has had it up to 110mph (177 kph) at the Meremere Dragway in Auckland.
Greg Murphy, New Zealand’s four time winner of Australia’s Bathurst 1000 touring car race, was a special guest at this year’s Muscle Car Madness.
It was the first time he had attended the event and is a new fan, hoping to attend again next year.
“I was invited to this year’s event by Stadium Finance to judge the burnout competition which they are sponsoring,” he said on Saturday.
“We are also doing some filming for Sky Sport while we are here,” he said.
The burnout competition was a huge hit with the crowd despite the constant clouds of acrid smoke and ear-splitting noise.
Young videographer, Riley Smart, aged 12, of Woodend, a big burnout fan, who was filming the action with his smartphone on Saturday for his mates, said the best part was when the car tyres popped.
Large sections of the crowd agreed with Riley, hooting, whistling and roaring their approval every time a tyre popped.
Saturday’s Muscle Car Madness Pageant competition, with sections for Miss Pin Up, Miss Retro Classic, Miss Rockabilly, Miss Teen (9-16 years), Little Miss Cutie (0-8 years) and Coolest Little Dude, was also a popular competition with entrants attracting enthusiastic support from the crowd.