Boxing Day kicks off busy stretch of summer holiday motorsport
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New Zealand has two long-standing Boxing Day motorsport traditions. International motorcycle and sidecar racing around the streets of Whanganui and crammed terraces overlooking the quarter-mile dirt oval at the Western Springs speedway.
Once again Boxing Day is the starting point to a busy stretch of summer holiday motorsport attractions throughout New Zealand.
Whanganui’s 15-turn Cemetery Circuit hosts the final round of the Suzuki Series which has seen action at Taupo and Manfeild earlier this month with big fields of sidecars, fast-paced Superbike competition and a crop of teenage talent battling in the new Suzuki Gixxer Cup series.
A 19-race programme is scheduled at Whanganui with the main event being the Robert Holden Memorial in which Whakatane’s Tony Rees (Honda) will be seeking to claim his fourth consecutive win and the eighth of his remarkable road racing career.
Whakatane's Tony Rees (1) will be chasing more Boxing Day Superbike success at Whanganui. Photo / Colin Smith
Bike racing around the streets also has some South Island flavour during the holiday break with the Port Nelson street races set for January 2.
The motorcycling attention then shifts back to permanent circuits with the opening round of the New Zealand Superbike Championship — including the New Zealand Grand Prix races — being raced at Ruapuna over the January 6-7 weekend.
The other high profile two-wheel action between Christmas and New Years is the annual Bay of Plenty Motorcycle Club Honda Summercross event at Awakaponga (near Matata) on December 29-30.
The holiday motocross event attracts big field across all dirt bike categories with the Friday racing for Mini and Junior MX riders while Saturday will see Senior, Vets and Womens titles decided.
The big Boxing Night speedway meet at Auckland’s Western Springs is the opening to 11 days of dirt track intensity as the United Truck Parts Midget Car World Series delivers six nights of open wheel action featuring US, Australian and Kiwi racers.
Round two is December 28 at Mount Maunganui’s Baypark Speedway while December 30 brings the series back to Western Springs. January 1 at Huntly Speedway and then Western Springs meets on January 3 and 5 wrap up the midget car series.
A number of Speedway NZ title events will be decided across the holiday period. Rotorua’s Paradise Valley Raceway hosts the New Zealand Super Stock Grand Prix on December 27-28 and stock car racers descend on Auckland’s Waikaraka Park for the NZ Stock Car Teams Racing Champs on December 29-30.
Waikaraka Park also hosts the North Island Modified Champs on January 6 while Napier’s Meeanee Speedway has the NZ Sidecar Champs on January 5-6 and Moore Park near Christchurch has the NZ Solo Motorcycle Championship on January 6. The Woodford Glen Speedway near Christchurch is running the NZ Saloon Car Champs on January 5-6.
Taupo Thunder Dragway hosts the NZ Drag Racing Association Summer Nationals on Sunday December 31. Photo / Colin Smith
The loudest place to spend New Year’s Eve will be Taupo Thunder Dragway (at Bruce McLaren Motorsport Park) where the NZ Drag Racing Association hosts its Summer Nationals event with national championship points racing across all classes including Top Alcohol and Top Doorslammer categories.
Over the January 6-7 weekend the quarter-mile competition moves to Wairarapa with the Dragstalgia event which features a Front Engine Dragster challenge.
The first circuit race event of the New Year is the Tasman Revival meeting at Taupo’s Bruce McLaren Motorsport Park over the January 6-7 weekend primarily for classic and historic classes including Historic Formula Ford, Formula Atlantic/Pacific single-seaters, Pre-65 saloons, a new series for TraNZam cars and the NZ Super Lap Series.