For the 19th year, the roads around Nelson’s port area are closed off and the petrol heads take over. It’s rather old-fashioned, in that the spectators can get really close to the action with the minimum of interference from barriers and fences. Here are some shot to give you the flavour of the event. I’ll post some more of the racing images later (for the motorbike enthusiasts). Or you can check them out on my pBase gallery, here.
The winner of the elite classes was a very fast Suzuki ridden by last year’s winner, Dennis Charlett. He was reaching speeds of more than 195 km/hr, not bad for a tight street circuit.
The riding style for these bikes is very different from that seen on the ‘Supermoto’ class. Here’s the traditional, very elegant style I’m used to:
Whereas the Supermoto riders are much more upright. Note how careful the rider must be with the throttle. They have a lot of power, so winding it on too early can cause the front end to lift. Too early and there may be problems:
Actually, this guy timed it perfectly. That first corner after the longest straight did prove difficult at times though. Just before I arrived there was a serious accident amongst the Supermotos, with a rider being taken off with back injuries. Here’s another incident, fortunately with no injury at all. Whe one of the front runners falls off, things get very congested:
A few running repairs and he’s off again.
There was a good crowd, with some characters amongst them. This guy had obviously been here last year, he’d even bought the tee-shirt:
while these next spectators were part of a large group from Hokitika. They had got hold of a large truck which was parked at a really good spot with grandstand seating set up on the tray, giving them an excellent view (and lots of shade). They were mostly dressed in the same uniform, complete with policeman hats (which they said they had to take back at the end of the day, sadly). I thought they looked great – reminded me of Y.M.C.A and the Village People.
We met again again the next day, out at Mapua (where I could see that they were riding some impressive gear), but that’s another story.