Everyone who attended Sony Beach Hop 14 last year walked away wondering how the event organizers were going to top it the following year. From the cars to the weather, to the people and the events, things really couldn't have gone any better. So it was with big expectations that the crowds started appearing in Whangamata in the last week of March this year for Repco Beach Hop 15.
In the days leading up to the event, weather forecasters were issuing warnings of rain, so it was with great relief that the sun shone down brightly on Waihi, for the Go Waihi Warm Up Party. Being held on a Wednesday, the turnout is always less than on other days later in the week, but from the time we arrived, we could see that there were significantly more cars present than in previous years.
Included in those attending the Waihi leg was the jaw-dropping ’52 Chev sedan delivery of Queensland’s Nigel Sheiles. Despite offers to debut the car at MotorEx, Nigel and his car builder/panelman extraordinaire, ‘Juice’, decided to ship the car trans-Tasman instead. Their logic being that the car was built to be driven, not to be an ornament — and that’s exactly what they did, driving the wheels off the car for the rest of the festival.
With Repco coming on board as the naming rights sponsor of Beach Hop for 2015, they had a great presence — not just at Waihi, but on all five days of the event — supplying the lead vehicles for the parades, the ever-popular Repco girls, and also offering great deals and advice.
Repco weren’t the only sponsors to put in a great deal of effort though, with many others working hard throughout. One of the big ones was the team from Meguiar’s, who had Barry Meguiar and his Car Crazy film crew come out from America to film the event. Understandably Barry was blown away with what he saw.
Besides the cars on display in Waihi, the local retailers went all out to make the most of the biggest day they’ll have all year, and the thousands of people present were kept entertained by the annual ‘Drag Race’, and by drag, we’re not talking cars, but some of the ugliest ‘women’ you’ll ever find …
Later that day everyone headed back to Whangamata to relax for the night, many choosing to stop in and check out the drive-in movie, which screened at the local school.
Others weren’t quite so sedate though and hit the main street for some cruising, of which there was plenty more to be done over the following days and nights.
Look out for more galleries over the coming days, and don't forget you can pre-order your copy of our 112-page Beach Hop Annual 2015, which comes complete with DVD by calling 0800 727 574 or by hitting this link.