Watch: Sam Wallace, an old Lancer, and the 24 Hours of Lemons
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Driven's Sam Wallace and his AndrewSimms.co.nz team were in one of two Driven entries in this year's 24 Hours of Lemons event at Hampton Downs at the weekend.
The ‘spirit’ of Lemons is to buy a cheap car, bung in some safety gear, and make it last 24 hours on track.
Stop being pretentious. How much do you really enjoy golf?
And cycling. It comes with its physical benefits. But everybody hates you, especially in cafes. Plus I’ve been in pelotons where I’ve been so close to the chubby accountant in front of me I can smell his chafe cream. And if it rains you normally just die.
So I have the answer, save your $5000 on your Pings or your Pinarellos and buy a crap car and enter the 24 Hours of Lemons and you will never have to discuss handicaps with Simon, or look like a packed ham in Lycra at your local café, Ever. Again.
It’s called the 24 Hours of le-mons. Not Le Mans..., but Lemons... because the cars are terrible! You buy a car for $1000, stick a roll cage in it and a complicated seat belt, and drive as fast as you can for 24 hours.
Unlike golf you don’t have to wear a Ralph Lauren polo and a pair of Beige trousers, oh no - at Lemon you get bonus points for dressing in theme. It looks more like the rugby sevens than a group of men avoiding their wives.
And what might fascinate you is how popular this is becoming. We had 60 cars start the race. That’s 60 teams of 5 people. Three international teams. One of those brought their banged-up yank tank from the U.S. - yes from the U.S. ! -this event is THAT bloody good.
And fun... I was having so much fun roaring around in my clapped out Mitsubishi station wagon, the only instruction I got over the radio system was “can you stop laughing and do some driving!”
There are those that take it fairly seriously too. The cars have transponders and you can see where you coming in the race. It even shows your lap times so you can compare yourself to your team mates - it’s like Formula 1 but for poor people.
The other good news is when it rains you don’t get wet or mess up the Callaway Golf shoes your wife got you for Christmas. When it rains at Lemon it becomes slippery and twice as much fun. All of a sudden there's a bunch of amateurs sliding all over the show. Hilarious, chaotic… but dangerous? Not really! There were some accidents, but I’ll tell you what’s dangerous and that’s riding your ten-speed on an Auckland road.
I know what you’re thinking. Golf and cycling is all about networking. Making contacts.
But in Lemon you race together, sleep together (in the garage), win and lose together. During the event I didn’t make a single contact but I made a few new mates instead.
Footnote: The other Driven entry in Lemons won the event, while Sam's team came seventh in their AndrewSimms.co.nz parts delivery van.