Sixteen-year-old Spencer Bourne will represent the Bourne family at this weekend’s Repco Race to the Sky, stepping onto the podium to present the fastest New Zealand competitor with the Possum Bourne Memorial Trophy.
The middle of Possum and Peggy Bourne’s three children has loved the Race to the Sky event for as long as he can remember.
“I know this event meant everything to Possum and it means just as much to me,” Spencer says. “In my opinion it is probably the best New Zealand event ever created.”
Spencer attended several of the earlier Race to the Sky events with his famous father and family.
“My greatest memory from being there is from 2001 when my dad, Possum, won the event,” says Spencer, who was nearly three years old at the time he’s describing. “Me and my brother Taylor were up on stage with him and had a photo taken with him and had our hands in the air beside the trophy. Mum showed me that photo recently.
Happy family . . . Possum Bourne celebrates winning the 2001 Race to the Sky at Cardrona on Sunday with sons Spencer Bourne (2) and Taylor Bourne (6). Photo by Stephen Jaquiery
“I was ecstatic,” says Spencer about hearing the news that the event was returning. “It took me by surprise as I hadn't heard about it in years and then all of a sudden, there it was again. I had actually just finished watching my Race to the Sky 2001 video again when I heard of this spectacular event's return.”
Spencer says he’s looking forward to being in Queenstown again and seeing the mountain again. “I’m looking forward to the vibe. I love seeing all the people sitting on the side of the hill watching the cars go up the mountain. It was a really fun thing to watch when I was younger and I’m sure it’s going to feel the same this year.
In terms of his favourite to win, he says: “Definitely Monster Tajima. He's a great driver and has won so many times before and I hope he beats the eight minute barrier this time.
“Alister McRae also is a favourite too. I can’t wait to see him blast it in Dad’s car. I can relate to him though. I know what it’s like to lose someone close to you. Colin was definitely a legend, just like my dad!”
Mike Sentch, general manager of Highlands Motorsport Park and heading the team organising the revived Race to the Sky event which last ran in 2007, says it’s fantastic news that Spencer Bourne will present the Possum Bourne Memorial Trophy.
“The connection that so many New Zealanders feel to Possum Bourne and his many Race to the Sky campaigns is still strong, so it’s very fitting that Spencer wishes to present this very special trophy to the fastest Kiwi competitor,” says Sentch. “We are delighted to welcome Spencer, accompanied by a close family friend Jacky Braid, to the event.”
The Repco Race to the Sky commentary team, Craig ‘Ferg’ Ferguson and Grant Stewart, has already arranged to interview Possum’s younger son on stage during Sunday, an invitation that Peggy says Spencer is truly honoured with.
Peggy Bourne-Mitchell says the whole family is excited that the event returns this year as the Repco Race to the Sky.
“I’m so happy to see this event come back. It’s awesome to have many of the ‘old’ crowd competing, and seeing Tajima is awesome, not to mention Alister McRae driving Possum’s car. Possum would be a very happy bloke!”