11 Nov Insight into some of our Life and Honorary members
Excerpt from historical Club Newsletter
The Harrison Family.
Johnny Harrison was our first president and obviously a driving force in the formation of the club.
His brother Rex was a staunch member of the Waipawa club and with very little help ran that club for over a decade with his three sons and a daughter racing at Waipawa, Hawkes bay and at Goldstar events. Rex was made our third Life Member. Johnny passed away at age 35 and we honor him with the annual Johnny Harrison Memorial race in June each year.
The Wright family.
Reg took over when Johnny Harrison passed away and remained in the chair for three years guiding the club through the building and funding of the sealed track. Son Adrian, daughter Patsy and son in law Pat all raced. Reg and Joan were awarded our first ‘Honorary Members for Life’.
Chris Scarrott and David Waugh.
The terrible twins? With wives Nola and Gail they put a huge amount into the club in it’s formative years. Chris was our second ‘Honorary Member for Life’ and Dave was made a Life Member after serving his second term as president. Chris made a comeback in 1977 and served a year as president while Dave, (can’t leave it alone Waugh) is currently serving his third term. The pair were infamous for their foray into road racing with their “state of the art’ Can-Am bodied karts sponsored by White Horse Whiskey. While they looked the part results were few and far between and the team were better known as ‘White Elephant Racing’.
A foundation committee member and the ‘go to guy’ for many early karters. I remember him on the end of a spade wearing only shorts and gumboots putting in fence post after fence post at the track. He built karts, kart parts and kept many of us going. He took over from Clyde Cunningham as President in 1972 when Clyde transferred to Palmerston North for work and then spent many years as a Steward. Alan was made a Life Member somewhat belatedly.
The Cunningham Family.
Sam spent years as pit marshal and later took over the job as grounds man for which he was awarded ‘Honorary Membership for Life’. Son Clyde was an early committee member and did a part year as President in 1972 before taking a job in Palmerston North and handing over the reins to Alan Pithie. Clyde raced the first genuine ‘Dart’ kart in the club then twin McCullochs and finally a Class IV 250 cc kart.
The Grant Family.
Kay and Russell were again early members who put a huge amount into the club over many years. Kay as secretary and Russell on the committee followed by a lengthy period as vice president. Russell was the ‘resident builder’ and the toilet block was his first major project with Brian Gutteridge doing the block work. The clubrooms were his largest project and they are still serving us today. Russell raced McCulloch’s and later 100 cc Rotary engine karts before many years in the 125 cc gearbox class. He was especially successful in later years road racing a 125 cc Rotax powered machine. Russell was and still is a very competent engineer and built most of the local Yamaha KT100’s for many years. Russell was a our fourth Life Member. Russell’s brother Colin perhaps, best known as a TQ driver in the Efficient Team with Steve Todd, also raced 125 cc gearbox karts.
The Wilson Family.
Ray Wilson did two stints as president and was a real quiet achiever. He spent hours setting up and then packing away after every club day practically on his own. Ray was well supported by wife Val and in his spare time built karts that were meticulously engineered. His son Mark raced McCulloch’s and then Komet K88 rotary engines. He finished up with a very potent Bishop Eagle chassis (built in what is now the Kiwi Kart factory in Palmerston North) running twin alky burning KT100’s built by Russell Grant. Ray passed away after his second term as president and is honored with the Ray Wilson Memorial race held in May each year.
Peter brought one of the first KT100 engines in the club after the frustrations of running McCulloch engines with his son Scott. Pete was soon using his skills and influence in the contracting sector at the kart club with machinery and equipment from what previously had been the family firm of Fraser Shingle. Firstly the pits were shifted from the hairpin area to their present
location and then the hairpin was extended into where the pits had been. Later the entire track was nibbed on both sides and then resurfaced. A long time committee member Pete had to wait until he had served 10 years in the club before being awarded Life Membership for his efforts.
Bob started out in the kart seat but was soon replaced by sons Simon and to a lesser degree David especially after Bob suffered broken ribs in an accident and was never comfortable back in the kart. Bob took on the role of president and did an unprecedented four year term. Like others Bob used his influence in business to assist the club and was awarded Life Membership at the end of his term in 1988.
The Lester Family.
Nearly there at the start and still going strong. Laurie was a long serving committee member while his wife Jean was magazine editor, treasurer, worked in race control and was the ‘Lolly Shop Lady’ for many years later assisted by her daughter Carolyn (Richards) and then the grandchildren. Sons Michael and Brendon both raced with Laurie. Jean and Carolyn also did their stints behind the wheel and often fought out the annual ladies race on club trophy day. Laurie spent years on the KartSport executive with most of them as president and more recently doing a stint as national steward. Still traveling and stewarding with son in law Brian Richards who was coerced out of his kart seat and onto the flags. Brian has served as North Island steward. Both Laurie and Jean are Life Members while Carolyn was made our seventh Honorary Member for Life in recognition of her many years of input.
The Schlierike Family.
Again Mum, Dad and three kids all involved. Garth racing and on the committee and Gail as treasurer while Kae, Daryle and Dean all had turns at racing. In those days we usually said ‘it went OK until Garth touched it’! Kay enjoyed the most success of the family members as reported in Garth’s history article last month. Garth was awarded Life Membership.
The Spargo Family.
Graham was an ex TQ midget racer of some repute with business partner Hank Penman on the spanners. They both came to karting with their son’s Craig and Neil respectively and dragged their wives along to help as well. Noeline Spargo helped in race control and the kitchen while Graham turned his hand to stewarding and became known as “Mr. Fly Spray” (Black Flag). Craig enjoyed some success in a very competitive era on a fairly limited budget. Graham followed his stewarding through to national steward and is also a Life Member of the club.
Jesse was our first real ‘kitchen lady’ toiling away in the tractor shed and also providing the club with it’s first shirts and monograms. Jesse is our sixth Honorary Member for Life.
Kevin started karting as a KT Heavy with an ex Laurie Lester space frame (recently rescued off Trade Me and destined for restoration) enjoying some success in what was the most popular class in the club at the time. He had some good battles with myself, Laurie Lester, John Burn, Pete Osborne and Bob Turner to name a few. Kevin’s racing career gave way to run his son Greg as a Midget and then as a Junior. Kevin took on the role of president completing a five year term only equaled more recently by Lance Hickey. Kevin was duly awarded Life Membership in 1991. Watch this space! Kevin and Elaine are winding down their motorsport operation in Australia and are heading home soon. Elaine is trying to get Kevin back in shape so he is fit enough to take up Vintage Karting. He is also keen to prop up the bar in the late leavers corner a few more times! Kevin and Bruce Cawood once saw the sun come up from the corner of the clubrooms.
Others contributing in our early days were:
John and Glenda Clark with Glenda doing a number of years as race secretary.
The Hingston Family. Ruth spent years in the tin shed as a lap scorer while Perry kept Russell, Keith and Paula on the track.
The Stuzakers. Jo did a stint or two as treasurer and Brian was grounds man for many years.
Brian Hunter was president for a year.
Byron Cole was also president for a year and then I would say we moved somewhat into the ‘modern era’.
Lance Hickey came to the fore as an administrator after a reasonably successful career racing mainly Class IV 250 cc karts. Lance has his name on all but one of the columns on the Honors Board and was awarded Life Membership in 1997.
Bruce Hickey (Lance’s brother) raced and built motors before buying J & N Karts to fill in his spare time combined with some committee duties and a year as president in 1999. Bruce’s family were all involved in karting, either in administration or racing.
While I feature on each column of the Honors Board I am too scared to say anything that might leave me open to ridicule by the editor! (that was a wise decision Mark!– Ed).
Yours (still in karting),