From scrap to race car: teams come out to support good cause
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Motorsport and the idea of 'cheap thrills' are very rarely seen in the same sentence. But, this weekend they'll be reunited for the annual 24 Hours of Lemons event at Hampton Downs Motorsport Park in Waikato.
It's an event in which a packed grid of clunkers and junkers — cars rescued from the skip and turned into race cars — will compete with one another over two nine-hour races spread across Saturday and Sunday. And they do so not only for the sweet elixir of victory, but also to raise money for the Prostate Cancer Foundation.
This motivation is particularly close to home for Matthew Grant, who has entered this year's race with his mates and Ratebroker co-workers Matt Smith, Kane Taylor, Craig Beaton, and Brett 'Shakey' Hollander. Grant lost his mother to cancer — something he references through a tribute scrolled on the back of his race helmet.
"There are three passions in my life. Family's first, and you have business — and this is a great thing for our business, to be part of something that raises money for charity," Grant told Driven. "And that's one of my other passions; raising money for cancer. My mum passed away with breast cancer, and we've had some family members sick with prostate cancer.
"It's a good cause, and raising awareness is always a good thing. That's what this race is really about."
This year will be Grant's second Lemons event, having won last year's race in a Toyota Levin. This time, he and his father Ken Grant prepared an old Honda EG Civic — a once sad looking car in need of some TLC that they first came across listed for sale on Facebook. Fast forward to now, and the Civic looks ready to take on anything.
"The whole idea behind the car was to grab a pile of junk and spend time with some mates building it, which is the main idea behind Lemons.
"It's using more oil than it does fuel. We've just started building it up, and the only thing we've actually put on it brand new are the safety parts, brake discs, and brake pads. Everything else on it is second hand."
The five-driver squad tested the Civic at the beginning of the month, which was a revelation to those who had never driven a race car — "you couldn't wipe the smiles off their faces" he laughed. "The good thing about the race is that there is no first place; nobody actually cares who first place is. It's not about that.
"My little brother is racing a car this year against us — our car from last year. So, that'll be a bit of fun."