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Sunny weather and hard-fought racing made for a bumper weekend at the Waimate 50 Motorsport Festival.

The appearance of international rally star Hayden Paddon, who contested the Street Attack, helped draw in the crowds which organiser Rob Aikman estimated at between 8000 and 10,000.

He said people came to see the only street race in the country.

“That’s what people come here for, to have a good time, to soak up the atmosphere.

“It’s something different, it’s something special. It’s the only street circuit built in the country at the moment.”

Christchurch’s Josh Mitchell advanced through the field of 65 drivers in the Street Attack to qualify for the one-lap, fastest-time-takes-all shootout final.

Driving his Subaru WRX, Mitchell recorded a blistering record time of 1min 54.3sec in the final shootout and claimed the title of Waimate 50 champion.

Daniel Liemburg, of Timaru, came second in a Nissan 370z, with a time of 1min 54.9sec.

Ben Terry, of Waimate, in a Mitsubishi Evo, clocked 1min 55.8sec in his final lap of the day.

Despite 13 crashes on the first day of street racing, there was only one on Sunday after drivers settled into the race.

“They get a bit excited getting on a special circuit, you know, and it’s unforgiving. If you make an error, you’re into a wall,” Aikman said.

The historic invitational drew 20 drivers.

Sixteen drift teams from the North and South Islands also competed.