If you have had anything to do with the import car scene over the last few years, then the name Circle Jerk Crew — often referred to as CJC — will have surely popped up in one or two of your conversations. There’s no denying this group has had a profound impact on the local scene, from the members’ unapologetic and often outspoken views on car modifications, to the unique sense of humour often felt full force on social media, through to their standout displays at the V 4&Rotary Nationals and hugely popular Jerkfest. Love them or hate them, they’re part of a very polarizing club, but CJC is easily one of the country’s most active and best organized within our scene, boasting over 100 active forum members forming a network of Jerks spread across the country.
It was that sense of humour and outspokenness which saw the club formed in the first place, as CJC vice president Josh Mills explains. “We were all from NZHondas.com and basically just took the piss out of everybody who was a dick, so it was sugested that we piss off and have our own forum. We decided we would, and formed the club to have a laugh and show everyone what our cars are made of in the show scene. It just evolved from there.” This was also how the name Circle Jerk Crew came to be, after those who showed them the virtual door described the group as a bunch of circle jerkers. But rather than be insulted they decided to own it, even though they have never stood around in a circle and ruined a perfectly good arrowroot or gingernut in the name of competition.
In those early days nothing was really that serious, they were just an extended bunch of around 40 mates doing it their own way. The forum helped things ramp up, and in 2010 their first club event was held. Known as Jerkfest, it was a low-key club park-up under the Auckland Harbour bridge, followed by a BBQ. “Initially the club was made up of people from Hamilton, with a few Auckland and Christchurch people thrown into the mix, then as our club developed, our friendship circles got bigger and it lead to the club spreading nationwide,” explained CJC media man Damian Wijnound.
That expansion lead to a wide diversity of vehicles, which as you will see by the photos really does cover off most makes and models. “It’s one thing that really does set us apart, most clubs are formed around one marque or style of build, but to us the cars have always been just a by-product of the group of friends, so what you drive doesn’t really matter,” club president Tank explains. “But in saying that there is a heavy influence with things like genuine parts.”
That wide diversity put the club on the map with its always massive and highly detailed displays at the V 4&Rotary Nationals.
The attention these guys put into their displays is insane, with themes running each year, and matching apparel and stand props correct down to the smallest item, all pulled together while members are getting ready and often completely building the cars. But shows aren’t the only area these guys do best. The annual Jerkfest has long outgrown the one-time location under the Harbour Bridge, moving to Taupo Motorsport park in 2011. Since then the event has grown alongside the club, and this year saw 60-plus cars tearing up the track.
“We try to keep Jerkfest a member and friends event, but we get inundated with requests for people to attend,” Damien explained. The rapid expansion of the event has meant a steep learning curve for the club, and those tasked with organizing it, and each year they take away away a little more knowledge and an idea on how to do it better next time. Its popularity has now seen them explore the idea of a few more public track days, so keep an eye out for those in future.
Despite this rapid growth, the club remains an extended group of mates, and they plan to keep it that way. “You basically have to be mates with a member to get in, you sort of need to fit in with the club ethos and way of thinking. There isn’t a member I wouldn’t invite to stay for the weekend, or trust with my missus, well maybe a couple, but you know what I mean,” Damien explained.
Hanging out with CJC over a few drinks, skids and a decent feed from club member Wong, at Wongs Kitchen, we got a real sense of just how tight they were as a club, in fact it was more like hanging with a group of mates.
There might be a few haters of CJC out there, and judging by the video we posted on Facebook from the day (go check it out), there are indeed a few floating around, no doubt due to their outspokenness and love of a good troll. But it’s clubs like this that keep our scene alive, and you can’t hate them for that!
Images: Adam Croy and Chris Smith