Two Dunedin Kart Club members proved at the recent 2020 New Zealand Masters Games that age is no barrier to having fun or competing.
Hosted at their home track — Silverstream Raceway — Dunedin’s Barrie Lay and Neil Shearer competed in different categories, but both came away with some silverware.
Lay (69) proudly proclaimed himself ‘‘the oldest driver there’’, and, after mixing it with the frontrunners in the Briggs LO206 Light class, claimed silver after nine heats and a final.
Since its introduction, the Briggs and Stratton class has attracted ‘‘more senior people’’ because, despite not being as fast as the Rotax karts, it was cost-effective and ‘‘just so much fun,’’ Lay said.
He had no plans to retire after ‘‘20-plus years turning petrol into pleasure’’, citing one of New Zealand motorsport’s evergreen icons as an example.
‘‘I look at Kenny Smith and think, ‘If he can do it, I can do it,’’’ Lay said.
Smith competed in his 49th New Zealand Grand Prix last Sunday and, at the age of 78, rightly received a massive cheer from the fans as he crossed the finish line.
Shearer (62) also received an accolade of sorts after a strong performances, although trophy has quite a story attached to it.
‘‘When the club started running the Masters Games, it created a trophy with boots on it, painted with ‘brake’ on one [foot] and ‘go’ [on the right foot]. The trophy disappeared for many years and when it reappeared last year, we couldn’t remember what it was for. It was awarded to me because I had such a great day,‘‘ he said, with a laugh.
Shearer won his 60+ age group class in the 125cc Rotax Max Heavy category and finished second overall.
Shearer, who began karting 14 years ago, said he enjoys competing in the Mainland Series around the South Island and in the Dunedin club’s regular meetings.
- Catherine Pattison
Photo: FAST COMPANY/LLOYD PALMER