Field Theory by Hadyn Green



You know what I like? Fast cars. I also like drinking. And when I was a younger chap I liked to combine the two. Not in a "drink-drive-bloody idiot" kind of way (I am of the generation that is quite against that sort of thing), instead more of a "have a few beers while watching loud Australians drive louder cars around a track" kind of way.

Every year my friends and I – too poor to afford our own cars and hence not attractive to girls – would gather together for an annual barbeque and fruit-cricket match every October to watch The Great Race. And because this was Tauranga it meant that the TV was dragged to the window so we could watch from outside in the sun. Yes, to a certain extent, we were munters, but damn it, we were stupid teenage boys in Tauranga and munterism came naturally. Those, as they say, were the days.

It seems natural somehow that the nation whose post-apocalyptic future will heavily feature cars gives us such rabid motorsport. From even further back in the mists of time I remember watching the infamous "pack of arseholes" speech with my parents, when Godzilla conquered the mountain.

In my first year at university, I felt a small and fleeting pang of regret when I realised I had missed Bathurst, and that was it. A few years later a text from a friend saying words to the effect of "Ford won you fucker!" had no effect on me beyond a reply of "I thought you liked Holden". It's been… ahem … a long time since those days of bbqs and fruit-cricket matches in the sun and I haven't watched a single complete V8 Supercar race since then.

I had a brief infatuation with Rallying. My friend's dad was photographer (I think) and he took us along to see the Rally of New Zealand night stage through the Rotorua back-blocks. We pulled up at the end of a dead-end road, got out and walked up a hill that overlooked some dark bush. You could just make out a small road in the darkness. The rumble started some way off and the trees began to get lighter and lighter. Suddenly this growling ball of fury and light exploded from the bush, swung around a corner and was gone leaving a cloud of dust and gravel.

I still vividly remember seeing that first car because its lights illuminated the hundreds of previously unseen fans all around us who were cheering as loud as we were. Later the full moon shone out from behind some clouds and we realised the hill was as packed as the stands at a rugby game (which was quite full back then).

As I said, during my university years I lost interest in most motorsport, however, I became a bigger fan of Formula 1, because the races were on late at night which made them perfect distractions from studying.

Now my taste in motorsport has changed to be far more sedentary. I like looking at hot rods and drag racers. Those top-fuel cars are something special. I'm not too keen on the racing; I just love looking at these pieces of art, carefully and lovingly constructed.

My dad had a whole pile of magazines full of Ed "Big Daddy" Roth creations and details on how to modify your Tamiya models to make them into proper hotrods. He also had an unfinished Chevrolet model that I was dying to see hot-rodded, but in the end it was missing too many pieces.

But why a post on motorsport when there's perfectly good netball on tonight? Well a couple of couple of reasons. The main one was the disdain given to the Hamilton V8 race. Believe me, I'm very happy that it isn't in Auckland or Wellington. There is nothing PC or un-PC about it, it was just a dumb idea to hold it in either of those venues.

And I'll be the first to admit that the off-track (cough) "entertainment" is more than just a little cringe-worthy and does nothing for the image of a V8 fan (fat old men in baseball caps and shorts leering at women in hot pants) no matter how valid it was. And I and (as far as I know) none of my friends are V8 followers, and definitely none of us are fat, leering, old men in baseball caps.

But the actual race in Hamilton was interesting (or the bits I saw were), the punters enjoyed it (when they weren't leering) and it didn't screw up Hamilton anymore than years of just being Hamilton already had. And at least the V8 drivers are required to do more than just turn left.

The second is that the Dropkicks have done an alternate commentary of the last netball test and are doing the same tonight. I'll post when they're available to watch.

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