Celebrating a great year of Kiwi motorsport success

By David Thomson on Sat, 17 Dec 2016

This is the final issue of Drivesouth for 2016. In signing off, I'd like to offer up half a dozen bouquets for the motoring year just past.

1. To Kiwis who have made their mark at high levels on the world motorsport stage this year, including East Otago motocross star Courtney Duncan, Hayden Paddon and John Kennard in the WRC, Shane van Gisbergen (and also Scott McLaughlin) in the V8 supercars and Brendon Hartley in world endurance sports car racing.

2. To Dunedin's Emma Gilmour, for finally achieving her long-held goal of winning a round of the National Rally Championship. Being there as she crossed the finish line of the Canterbury Rally in June was a highlight of my motoring year.

3. To the Dunedin City Council for finally seeing sense on cycleways and undoing some of the follies put in place in South Dunedin. Most obviously, the stretch of Portobello Rd from Portsmouth Dr to Andersons Bay Rd, which is now functional for trucks, cars and bikes alike; the final touch would be to apply a new coat of seal.

4. To Nico Rosberg for winning the 2016 Formula One world championship and then promptly confounding the F1 world by announcing his immediate retirement from the sport. Similarly, Mark Webber, for calling time while still in top form after an illustrious career in F1 and world endurance racing.

5. To the folk at Highlands Motorsport Park and the Otago Sports Car Club for their ongoing hard work in bringing, respectively, world-class circuit racing and rallying events to Otago. And also the volunteer administrators and organisers of Otago's many motoring-related clubs for their hard work in organising dozens of motoring and motorcycling events over the year.

6. To Terry Roycroft, who allowed me to fulfil a long-held ambition of driving a classic 1930s Type-35 Bugatti. My motoring year got off to an unforgettable start when I spent several days in January as navigator and occasional driver of his precious machine in the Dunedin-based Vero International Rally.

Drivesouth will return in mid-January, with our traditional picks of the previous year.

In the meantime, I'd like to sign off for 2016 by wishing readers all the best and an enjoyable festive season. I deliver this wish not only on my own account, but on behalf of the whole Drivesouth team, taking in the editorial crew of Richard Bosselman, Catherine Pattison and myself as writers, the members of the ODT features team, and Bob Corona and the rest of our advertising crew.

David Thomson