This weekend is the NZ round of the Australian V8 Supercars at the Pukekohe circuit near Auckland. Since I’m not able to be there, I felt compelled to dig into the archives.
After hosting the Supercars for the first few years when the NZ round was born, the event returned (to the surprise and celebration of many) to its first home after five years in Hamilton in a street race format.
I went to each of the Pukekohe events in my capacity as flag marshal, a beloved voluntary position I’d filled since 1992. By the time the V8s came to our shores, I was a point chief (like a team leader) and SO excited and proud to be helping make the event a success.
Below are a few snapshots from 2006 and 2007, the last two years before the event relocated. Aside from a couple taken by Mike who was on the scene for the 2007 race, there are none of the actual racing (marshals taking photos during races is a bit of a no-no, especially at high profile meetings), but they’ve brought back happy memories of what we do behind the scenes. With what I’ve seen televised so far this weekend, I’m really missing being part of it.
Marshals’ briefing 2006
Getting a ride out to our flag point
My flag crew in 2006
A parade (HOG I think) circulating. This was the last time we had clear views up the back straight – the next year a huge fence went up (safety and all that). And the view in 2013 has changed again with the introduction of a chicane
Applauding all of the drivers was something we always endeavour to do
Race day 2007 and we’re back at the hairpin
I’m waving the yellow flag which suggests someone fell off the track somewhere
The job includes dressing oil and clearing debris from the track – very occasionally, with a ‘helpful’ audience
The first (and last to date) time mum and dad came to the track while I was marshaling
I have just organised a five day trip up to Hamilton next month, so thought I would preview that. Hamilton isn’t somewhere you’d ordinarily broadcast a visit to, or even visit in the first place*, but once a year it hosts the Australian V8 Supercars and this counts as a worthy reason to enter the city.
*ok it really isn’t too bad, it just gets a bit of stick.
In 1992 I took up an opportunity to be a motorsport volunteer, being very keen to step beyond spectator status, and found myself out on a flagpoint. I fell in love with this pastime and for the next 10 years I was a regular out at the Pukekohe circuit, and occasionally other places – highlights of which were street races in Wellington (the good old Nissan Mobil 500), Whangarei, Hamilton and Whenuapai (brilliant classic car events), and Paeroa for bikes. When it was announced the V8 Supercars series would include a round in NZ I was sooo excited. For the first few years they were at Pukekohe before relocating to Hamilton in a street race format.
Moving to Wellington nine years ago meant giving up regular flagmarshalling, but I have travelled back up north for at least one event a year. Last year I had to miss Hamilton, though substituted it with something else, so it will be great to go back. Three long days at the track will take the stuffing out of me, especially being as out of practice as I am, but it will be fantastic being so close to the noise and action again.
And I will get to visit my Waikato-based Gran too!
My flagpoint when I last went to Hamilton in 2009. Somewhat unfortunately it was on a straight piece of track
V8 Supercars in 2007 at their final Pukekohe appearance - here exercising my right arm down at the hairpin
Visiting Gran during the 2009 event weekend