Queenstown car Club History.
The Queenstown Car Club was conceived as the result of a discussion to form a car club between the late Brian Middlemass and Stuart Maclean. It was formed as the Wakatipu Car Club to encompass the whole district and not restricted to just Queenstown.
Early events were grass sprints (autocross in todays terms), car trials, and even standing 1/4 miles on the closed road between Arrowtown and Queenstown. Monthly meetings were held in the RSA Clubrooms on the site of the Memorial Hall. Monthly attendances were generally around 35 people, with sprint event numbers around 20-30 and car trials 12-20 people.
The first major event was the Coronet Peak Hill Climb first held in 1972. The club had not officially affiliated to MANZ (Motorsport NZ) so a permit to run the event was graciously applied for by the Southland Sports Car Club (SSCC). The idea of such an event came from Colin Bunce of SSCC.
In the 70s and 80s the Coronet Peak Hill Climb was a major sporting event in the Wakatipu. Queenstown car displays, parades and other promotional activities surpassed that of todays efforts with sometimes 200-300 paying spectators. Obtaining the initial road closure was done with the assistance of the then Mayor Warren Copper and the final approval given by telegram by the Minister of Works Mr PB Allen.
Early and relatively substantial (especially by present day standards) sponsorship was obtained from Skyline Enterprises with a dinner and prize giving on the Saturday night being a special social event at the Skyline Gondola Restaurant. Other Sponsors followed and competitors came from all parts of the country with many notable New Zealand Champions partaking over the years. The club also obtained road closures for sprints at both Frankton and Cromwell industrial estates to run sprints over the years.
Obtaining road closures in earlier years was easier than present for a number of reasons. Events were held on Hunter Road prior to sealing and Hogan Gully Road for Hillclimbs, Malaghan Road (the Arthurs Point route to Arrowtown) and Domain Road for standing ¼ miles. Little Road prior to sealing was used for a sprint.
Most probable the event that took the longest effort to organise by the club was the 1987 Glenorchy Rally with sponsorship from the Terraces Hotel and the suggestion to organise the event came from the Chariman of the Lake County Council the Late Tommy Thomson. As a result road closures were not an issue to obtain. Many months of organising went into the event with competitors coming from all over the country. The winner was the late Malcolm Stewart in an Audi Quattro.
The Queenstown Street races were separate from the Car Club for many reasons.
Motorsport has been well represented in the district since 1971.
With great thanks and appreciation the Queenstown Car clubs thanks Stuart Maclean for preparing this short but concise history of the Queenstown Car Club.
In 2008 a small but committed group of car enthusiasts reformed the Queenstown Car Club. It had been in hiatus for over 10 years. It was formed with the hope of re-igniting the resorts love of motorsport. As the Highlands Motorsport Park began to take shape more and more interest has been seen in the district for Motorsport and related activities.
We have held several car shows showing off some of the local classic, historic and racing cars in the district. We have also held monthly events including one round of the Otago/Southland Interclub Series.