Kiwi zest for LeMons laps
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24 Hours of LeMons declared success despite wet conditions
No matter what the weather gods are doing, Kiwi motorsport fanatics seem to love it lemony fresh.
The inaugural 24 Hours of LeMons endurance race kicked off on Saturday under a miserable grey sky at Hampton Downs. By close of play on Sunday the weather had cleared and you couldn't wipe the big grins off the faces of organisers, competitors and spectators.
This race format has taken off worldwide, and with a large field of teams, all campaigning cars bought for under $1000, showed that motorsport in New Zealand has plenty of room in the jam-packed calendar for budget events like LeMons.
Series director Jacob Simonsen says that the format's core audience is those who love motorsport and have always given it a go -- but have been scared off by the need for huge budgets to remain competitive.
"We've all heard the motor racing horror stories," Simonsen told Driven after the event, "and there's always someone keen to pipe up and say that a season in 'Class X' won't leave you with any change from a couple of hundred grand.
"But the feedback we've had over the weekend has shown that not only was this the most fun some of the guys and girls have ever had around cars, but that it wasn't a bank-breaking exercise.
"It's led many to re-evaluate ambitions in other types of racing.
"We're already looking at expanding the LeMons calendar in New Zealand. There wasn't one single competitor who indicated they wouldn't be back. I've been involved in events for many years, and must say that the crowd -- punters, racers, spectators and hangers-on -- was happier, more polite and more enthusiastic that I've ever seen."
Photos / Matt Smith Photography