‘Petrolhead heaven’ over weekend

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by Hamish Maclean

TIMARU rumbled and roared at the weekend as 350 drivers descended on the city for the Four and Rotary 2020 South Island Champs.

Four and Rotary event director Azhar Bhamji said up to 4000 spectators crowded the Timaru International Motor Raceway at Levels on Saturday and up to 10,000 people came to Timaru for the weekend of events for the modified scene”.

The event’s origins went back to 1996, in Taupo, to celebrate four-cylinder and rotary-powered vehicles, Mr Bhamji said.

But it was now open to six-cylinder and eight-cylinder vehicles as well.

The scene changed, but the name stayed, he said.

There were three events annually one in Palmerston North, and one in the South Island, which for the past five years now had been held in Timaru.

Before coming to Timaru the event was held in Nelson for three years, and in Christchurch for 10 years before that.

With the support of the district the event would return to Timaru for the next two years.

Timaru petrolheads were “very passionate”, Mr Bhamji said.

“Timaru’s a central hub for us at the moment,” he said.

“A lot of people from Dunedin, from Otago, from Invercargill surrounding areas make the trip.”

He was aware that while police praised event organisers for a well-run event, some people had been spoken to.

Mr Bhamji said he had a sit down with police to talk about the weekend and had received positive feedback for the way events were run, but what happened outside the organised events was “up to the individual”.

Senior Sergeant Dylan Murray, of Timaru, said the events had been well run and there were no reported incidents at The Show Shine, Levels Raceway, or the Saturday night cruise.

However, he said, outside the events in the area it was a “different story”.

About 400 vehicles were subject to traffic stops, and a further 55 checkpoints stopped an unknown number of vehicles.

Snr Sgt Murray said about 100 infringement notices were issued for offences covering restraints, impairment, distraction, speed, and various other vehicle or noise offences relating to anti-social road users.

Three drivers were processed for drink-driving.

There were 30 vehicles issued non-operation orders for various vehicle defects, he said.

Car culture . . . Cars fill Stafford St during the Four and Rotary night cruise in Timaru on Saturday night. Event organisers estimated up to 10,000 people came to Timaru for the South Island Champs at the weekend. PHOTO: BRIAN HIGH
Car culture . . . Cars fill Stafford St during the Four and Rotary night cruise in Timaru on Saturday night. Event organisers estimated up to 10,000 people came to Timaru for the South Island Champs at the weekend. PHOTO: BRIAN HIGH