When it comes to sending a car around the track as a part of the annual Port Nelson Street Races, Nelson Road Racing Association president Nick Marer called upon Bowater Toyota with only one car in mind.
That car, is of course the Toyota 86. The perfect car for the job.
Nick was on the hunt for the Official Pace Car for the annual 2013 Port Nelson Street Races. This street race is an iconic street circuit motorcycle race, held in Nelson since 1992, and featuring multiple classes of racing, culminating in the King of the Port Race - always a hotly contested event.
We jumped at the chance to get the Toyota 86 into it's "natural" environment, an official "closed road" track where it could stretch it's legs unhindered and without breaking any laws!
The chance to get trackside does not happen that often in Nelson. Normally those wanting to get some track day action have to travel a long way to satisfy that urge, or just resign themselves that it is not a reality, and just the dreams of car crazy young boys.
The Toyota 86 has changed all of that. Finally a car has come onto the market that is not only remarkably priced at just $41,986, but has actually been designed for those wanting to enjoy a perfectly respectable, everyday car 90% of the time, but also experience the thrills of Track Days if the opportunity arises.
All this being said, the 2013 Port Nelson Street Race gave us the perfect opportunity to show the motor racing fans of Nelson the new face of the performance side of Toyota.
What a year the Toyota 86 has had.
At the end of 2012 it was named winner of many prestigious Car Of The Year awards all over the world, including here in New Zealand where it not only won the AA / Motoring Writers Guild Performance Car of ther Year, but also won the coveted Peter Greenslade Trophy awarded by the Motoring Writers’ Guild to the overall Best Car of the Year. To top it off in popular culture, Jeremy Clarkson from Top Gear, also named the Toyota 86 as his pick of the bunch to be his Car of the Year as well!
The Port Nelson Street Race was a great event this year, without any major incidents due in course perhaps to a slight change of the dynamics of the track. Turn One, off the back of the longest straight on the track, was previously a corner that saw a lot of drama. Riders used to hit it hard, fast and often side by side. This year Turn One was changed slightly to make the course a little safer.
The 2013 Port Nelson Street Race Circuit.
Nelson Road Racing Association president Nick Marer said the feedback he received from competitors and spectators was all positive.
‘‘It was a safe, successful event,’’ said Mr Marer. ‘‘There were a couple of minor offs and but other than that the day went very well. One guy sustained a fracture ankle, but he was the only rider that required medical treatment.
In the past we had a problem with turn one, it was a bit of a bottle-neck. We changed the layout of the track, much to the initial concern of the riders, but once they got out there and raced it, the reports came back that it was much safer.’’
#95 David Rangi from Stoke on his Ducati 999 negotiates Turn One.
Classes on the race day included: Formula 1, Formula 2 and Formula 3, B.E.A.R.S. (British, European & American Race Series), Classics, Post-Classics and Supermotos.
The "King of the Port" finale race featured the top riders from each class, with a total of 39 competitors battling it out over 10 laps.
#15 Dennis Charlett in control down the back straight of the King of the Port race
For the 4th year running it was won by Dennis Charlett on his Suzuki GSXR600 Formula 1 bike.
Dennis Charlett from Redwood celebrates another win, his 4th King of the Port.
The entire event was outstanding, and a very well managed day by the entire Nelson Road Racing Assosiation. The large crowd seemed happy with the action, as did all of the riders.
Nelson Road Racing Association president Nick Marer congratulates King of the Port winner Dennis Charlett on the Start / Finish Line.
Some of you familiar with our website might remember Nick Marer. He knows how to drive very efficiently as well as very fast!
Earlier last year Nick astounded us all with a record breaking eco drive of just 2.5L/100km in the Prius C to win the Prius Challenge. Legend has it that he also holds the NZ Landspeed record for a Prius too, as authenticated by the NZ Police.
You can see the full album from the day on our Facebook Page < click here >