By Pete McNae

The generosity of the Nelson speedway community has seen the Child Cancer Foundation coffers boosted by $2500. The second annual Racing for the Kids meeting was staged by the Nelson Speedway Association in late January and, beyond the cash contribution, families of young cancer patients who are going through a process many of us can’t comprehend, enjoyed a fun day out as guests of the club at the Milestone Homes Top of the South Speedway.

Racing for the Kids was introduced by former president Wayne Martin last year. This season, under current president Darryl Bridge and his committee, a number of extra initiatives were added to help boost the total donated to the Child Cancer Foundation. A derby car, sourced and provided by Jack and Karen Mclauchlan at Jack’s Tyres, was raffled, sprintcar competitor Simon Rieter donated framed prints for auction and the club also auctioned speedway souvenirs. This was topped up by a portion of the gate take from the meeting.

CCF ambassador Chris Jack, a former Tasman, Canterbury, Crusaders and All Blacks lock and junior members club co-ordinator Kaitlin Windleborn led the hosting of 40 CCF kids and their families in the western corporate area, with the club also providing pre-meeting entertainment including a lolly scramble, chances to see cars up close and meet the drivers, and also the opportunity to take part in the grand parade from inside race vehicles.

“It never seems enough for the kids who are fighting this illness but the feedback we have had was that the families really enjoyed themselves and the young ones loved the chance to be involved,” Bridge said. “We view ourselves as a family club so making these families feel special for a day lines up with what we see as important in our own lives and in our hobby.”

Bridge made special mention of Jack, who lives locally and has been a strong advocate for the charity through his volunteer efforts. “Here’s this All Black, as big as they get in this country, but Chris is very humble and there is nothing he won’t do to bring some joy to the young ones. We enjoyed being able to get Chris and 40 of his friends in the gate, show them our hospitality and hopefully provide a little escape from the tough times.”

Bridge said the club had been contacted by some of those who attended the meeting in the CCF group. “They had fun. That’s what it is all about, those kids and their parents were our guests and we were glad they were able to take some memories home with them. We look forward to that connection growing next season.”

  • This coming week is a big one for the Nelson Speedway Association with strong fields gathering for two nights (Friday 7pm, Saturday 6pm) featuring three major promotions. Friday will be headlined by the Vertex Super Cup for super saloons, presented by Smith Concept Construction, and the Nelson Marlborough Waste Ministock Mania. Saturday’s 6pm meeting features another distinct round (separate from Friday) of the Vertex series and continuation of Ministock Mania, with the class operating under strict rules to clean up recent issues. In addition, there are 19 superstocks lining up for the Fifeshire Forklifts South Island title with entries from Shane Harwood (who has been “retired” until this end of the season), former Nelson competitor Thomas Stanaway competing as 87N after missing the North Island champs, and Asher Rees (126C, in a rare superstock outing after suffering a severe injury). With fine weather forecast for both nights, this weekend will be one of the calendar highlights.

Chris Jack and CCF group photos by Devon Stove, (corporate area) and Craig Bell, Busterbell Archive (infield).