Historic racing cars on show

Gary Raiti and Grant Sprague with their historic racing cars that will be on show at this year’s Wheels on Mainstreet event on Saturday. Photo: Nikki South.

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They lean heavily through the corners, lock brakes, slip and slide, and spend a lot of time going sideways, just as they did ‘back in the day'.

Historic racing cars will be making an appearance at the annual Wheels on Mainstreet event at Mount Maunganui this weekend to coincide with a resurgence in popularity of historic car racing and the appearance of a relatively new category – the historic muscle cars/historic saloon cars group for pre-1977 saloon cars.

Local men Gary Raiti, with his Ford Falcon Hardtop coupe, and Grant Sprague, with his MK1 Escort RS 2000 group one, will be among a group of competitors taking their cars along to Wheels on Mainstreet this year. There will also be a Mustang, Mazda RX2, V8 Capri and 1968 Camaro that also compete.

Gary says HMC/HSC is split into two classes, with historic muscle cars catering to vehicles over 3000cc, and historic saloon cars for small capacity vehicles.

“While the V8s have the legs on the straights, the little cars are faster through the turns, making for exciting racing and an enjoyable spectacle for the crowds.”

Wheels on Mainstreet is now in its sixth year and has grown so much it is now hosted at Coronation Park.

Event coordinator Straw Lye says anyone with a unique, special or interesting vehicle is welcome to enter.

“We usually have around 300 vehicles, including cars, big trucks, bikes and anything with wheels.”

Straw, who is also president of the End of the Road Rods and Classics car club in Mount Maunganui, usually takes his 1930 Model A Tourer but it is in the process of being rebuilt so he will have to leave it in the garage this year.

“I've just had major back surgery and I'm waiting for a knee replacement, so I'm rebuilding my body this year, not the car,” he laughs.

Members of the End of the Road Rods and Classics Gold Coast branch will be flying in to judge the winners of best car, bike and truck and best Japanese car and bike. There will also be a prize for the best represented car club and a ‘people's choice' award which spectators can vote for.

Wheels on Mainstreet is on today from 10am with prizegiving at 2.30pm. Vehicle entry is $5 with each entry going in the draw for a $600 travel voucher. Spectator entry is $5 per adult and children under-12 attend free.


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