Street racing keeps getting bigger, better than ever

Bigger is "absolutely" better, Waimate 50 event director Rob Aikman says.

Since the inaugural Waimate 50, 60 years ago in 1959, no version of the event has managed to get the traction that the one Mr Aikman and his crew of 200 volunteers have created and have now run for 10 years straight.

The Waimate 50 this weekend had more teams, more days, more race categories and more spectators than ever.

Gaz Whiter rips up the Waimate street circuit yesterday. PHOTO: HAMISH MACLEAN
Gaz Whiter rips up the Waimate street circuit yesterday. PHOTO: HAMISH MACLEAN
Big trackside screens allowed the about 10,000 fans at the weekend, who filled viewing spots including footpaths, and spilled out of the Waimate Town & Country Club, to follow the action around the 2.5km street circuit running through Waimate's CBD over the weekend.

Waimate 50 shootout winner Josh Mitchell celebrates a back-to-back win yesterday. PHOTO: HAMISH...
Waimate 50 shootout winner Josh Mitchell celebrates a back-to-back win yesterday. PHOTO: HAMISH MACLEAN
It also allowed organisers to sell "virtual live tickets" to those who wanted to take in the action but could not travel to the South Canterbury town.

"That's something we've wanted to achieve for a long time," Mr Aikman said. "And we wanted to do it for our 60th, so that was another big pull for us.

"We've accomplished a lot in 10 years. And it feels real good, because we brought this event back from the ashes. It was dead and buried and consigned to history, virtually.

"This is the longest the Waimate 50 has gone - it's the most successful formula. I'm proud of that fact, that we've kept it going consecutively for the 10 years - and built and developed and adapted all the time in that process."

As the four-day weekend of petrolhead delight wrapped up last night, Josh Mitchell, in his Subaru Impreza WRX, defended his win in the Waimate shootout.

His time of 1min 50.59sec was more than 3sec faster than second-place finisher Jeremy Beaton, and beat his 1min 54.3sec record set last year.

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