Clocking up a whopping 60 years, the Waimate 50 has become one of the most iconic motorsport events in the country. Each year, thousands descend on the small South Canterbury town of Waimate — a tradition spanning back to 1959, when a young Bruce McLaren went on to win the 50-lap ‘around the houses’ street race.
This year’s incarnation will go down between 25 and 27 October (Labour weekend) and promises a series of top-tier motorsport names, including the likes of Hayden Paddon, ‘Fanga Dan’ Woolhouse, and Kenny Smith, among the many drivers who flock from all over to get in on the tight and unforgiving 1.3km Waimate Street Circuit — a race in which the spectators are able to get close enough to the madness to taste the rubber.
Friday afternoon will kick off the weekend with a sealed hill climb; Auckland’s Kevin Sanderson, in the Hayabusa-powered Starlet, will be one to watch. Then the action will turn to the Waimate Street Circuit. Led by former World Rally Championship (WRC) driver Hayden Paddon, 50 cars will compete in the Street Attack, whittling the field down for the Top 10 shoot-out on Sunday afternoon.
As the sun goes down on Saturday, northern drifters Darren Kelly, Cole Armstrong, Gaz Whiter, Troy and Ben Jenkins, Carl Thompson, and Andrew Redward will go up against a selection of southern counterparts to take out inter-island bragging rights for another year.
As always, there’ll be a ton of demonstration races that bring out bikes, vintage steel, muscle cars, touring cars, pre-’85 Formula Fords, and historic saloons.
The 60-year celebration will be one not to miss. Tickets are available at waimate50.co.nz.