Old bangers scurry their way to the South

The driver of the 2001 Toyota Camry The Flying Flamingos, Ginni Anderson of Auckland, is joined...
The driver of the 2001 Toyota Camry The Flying Flamingos, Ginni Anderson of Auckland, is joined by fellow flamingos Linda Herbert and Sue Eyes on the Bangers to Bluff annual fundraiser for multiple sclerosis. PHOTO: TONI MCDONALD
A jubilant convoy rolled into Stirling Point as Bangers to Bluff participants completed the final leg of their Auckland to Bluff journey.

Club president Ian Thompson said entrants in the annual Half Moon Bay Rotary charity event set off on April 9 to drive an old "banger" car worth less than $2000 the length of the country to Bluff via "roads less travelled" — including a road "Mr Google had not been on or any of us".

The fundraiser was limited to 16 car entries so people would have an opportunity to get to know each other on the way.

"The more you get, the less chance there is of that happening."

Each entry had to also raise a minimum of $1000, as well as give their car to be auctioned at the end.

Since 2016, only two vehicles were terminal cases that had not been able to complete the trek.

"This year was one of those. It went terminal on the first day out, but the couple bought another car in Taupo and completed their trip to Bluff."

Toyota Camry driver Ginni Anderson had owned her beloved 2001 Flying Flamingo banger since new and parted company with it at the action for a paltry $2000.

Flying Flamingo passenger Linda Herbert said the trio had made their presence felt right from the start of the adventure.

"We started off at Half Moon Bay for breakfast... we dressed up in all our finery and walked into "Pretty Flamingo" Manfred Mann playing really loud."

In the first 5km on day one someone had a puncture and 90 minutes later another car overheated, which eventually blew up and was towed away, she said.

The service support vehicle’s breakdown was quite comical.

"The nuts on one of the wheels sheared off and it ended up on a tow truck back to Auckland. Luckily they could bring another one down.

"We haven’t had any problems."

The journey was made more entertaining by the daily challenges the groups had to complete and the daily wooden spoon award for perceived misdemeanours.

Not taking the State Highway 1 route made it more enjoyable because it allowed her to see parts of the country not seen before, she said.

Contestants from around the nation had entered and for many it was their first trip to the South.

By Saturday afternoon, $26,000 had been raised on the Give-a-little page and a further $25,450 was raised from the car auctions. A 1998 3-series BMW sold for $2150, while the $2700 highest bid of the day went on a 2005 Honda Accord station wagon with 162,000km on the clock. Three cars sold for the bottom bids of $1450.

Further items were for sale on Saturday evening.

"We won’t know [the full amount raised] until we get back to Auckland.

"I can tell you, over the years we have raised so far over $500,000 — and that’s excluding this year’s."