Me and My Car: Skoda lover luring new fans to brand
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BRAD CLARK, CHIEF EXECUTIVE OF THE STARSHIP FOUNDATION
You drive a 2015 Skoda Octavia RS?
It is moon white and brand spanking new. I’ve been driving Skodas for almost five years and this is my first RS, so I’m stoked. The Octavia is a flagship for performance and style. Starship has a longstanding arrangement with the Giltrap Group and they’ve provided vehicles. It’s a great help to remunerate some of the Starship team and in turn we are proud ambassadors. It frees up funds for us to support national child health projects.
Who else is allowed to drive it?
It’s a team car at work and it’s my family car. I encourage my mates to have a go as it’s a quick way to dispel any lingering hangovers about the Skoda brand.
Your first car?
A Toyota Corolla station wagon; it was three-tone yellow because of badly matched panel repairs. I grew up in Canada and bought it from a mate. I would have been about 21. It was a great wagon, it carried my ice hockey gear and skis and was awesome in the snow.
A toss-up between an Aston Martin DB9 or an Audi R8, whichever fits my golf clubs.
Who taught you to drive?
My dad mostly. He was probably more patient than Mum but she loved to drive so I picked up a lot from her. He had a four-speed Chevy Chevette. Mum had a Pontiac V8 station wagon and that was more fun to drive. But I also did a proper driver’s ed and that lowered my insurance. I took my test on the week of my 16th birthday and passed first time.
Manual or automatic?
Automatic for flexibility and convenience.
Most memorable road trip?
I arrived in New Zealand from Toronto via Nova Scotia. That was on my OE almost 23 years ago. The first two weeks here I grabbed my mum’s Toyota Forerunner and drove to Queenstown. It was late September and we wanted to get to the snow so we did big legs, Auckland to Wellington, caught the Interislander the next morning and drove the Wairau Valley from Picton to the West Coast, to the glaciers, and Queenstown.
I remember being freaked out though, it was like an episode of Twilight Zone because there were no cars on the road. On the way back we did a different route up the east coast.
If you could be anywhere, with anyone, in any vehicle?
A few laps of the Indianapolis with Scott Dixon in an Indy car would have to be a road trip of a lifetime.
How do you keep your children happy on longer car trips?
I love being a dad to Bailey, he’s 2 in September and Kaitlin is 5 in November. My wife Nicky’s parents live in Hawkes Bay so we’ve had a few road trips with the kids. Lots of snacks, Bad Jelly the Witch is a favourite and talking books like Cinderella. The obligatory Frozen soundtrack has got us through some good miles.
Great day trip out of Auckland?
I have a good mate who has a bach at Little Bay in the Coromandel. A drive up the Colville road on the Coromandel west coast rates as one of the best drives anywhere and it is an absolutely magic spot once you get there.
What do you always have in your car?
My phone for music and hands-free calls. A hangover from driving in Canadian winters is I always have jumper leads in the boot.
What is your opinion of Auckland traffic?
I lived in Toronto and I don’t get too worked up about Auckland traffic, it’s just life in any big city. If there are to be changes I think opening up the waterways to the North Shore needs to be done.
■ As told to Donna McIntyre