Huge race programme gets under way as Kiwis pay tribute to Hulme

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The fourth NZ Festival of Motor Racing celebrated the career of F1 and double-Can-Am champion Denny Hulme at Hampton Downs, New Zealand, from 18-20 January.

The 44-race programme is headlined by more than 25 F5000 cars and takes place over two weekends. The second half will be held this weekend from 25-27 January.

The Bruce McLaren Trust honoured the former team driver by assembling a host of his road and race cars, with local heroes such as ex-Formula 1 drivers Chris Amon and Howden Ganley on hand, too.

The top class featured machines from McRae, Lola, Surtees, March, Matich, Begg, Talon and Elfin, plus Phil Mauger’s ex-Hulme McLaren M23 GP car.

With drivers from five countries participating, it was 72-year-old local Ken Smith who powered his Lola T332 to a hat-trick of victories.

The Can-Am and 2 litre Sports Racing field offered the fewest cars, but some of the best racing thanks to a scarp between Roger Williams’ McLaren M8E and Ian Clements’ Lola T332 ‘Frisbee’. The first race, however, was won by American Peter McLaughlin’s giant-killing 2-litre Ralt RT2.

Travis Engen’s Chevron B17B won all four races in the Tasman class, while Tony Graham’s ’85 Van Diemen managed the same feat in the Historic Formula Ford category.

There was also some great racing in the Group A and Historic Touring Car grids, with Angus Fogg battling the local V8 machinery in his ’69 Mini Cooper ‘S’.

To find out more, and to see a video on the ex-Hulme M23, visit the festival’s website.

Words and photos: Mark Holman

 

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