Gentlemen, Start Your Engines.

I’m not a fan of the term ‘petrolhead’. With the new fuels on the scene,  The terms should include ‘dieselhead’, ‘electrichead’ or even a ‘hybridhead’.

I prefer to call myself  a ‘car-culturist’.   And it’s with this hat on that I was driven to visit the last ever round of the methanol-blend fuelled V8 Supercars, on the leafy streets of Hamilton.

It was brilliant and I loved it.

I stayed with my brother, and was also able to observe how Hamilton is successfully transforming itself from the country town of my youth (tractors were regularly seen in the main street) into a vibrant city.

At the track there was a sprightly 92 year old gent to my right, and a family with toddlers to my left, and a nice man who let me ride on his purpose-built vehicle.  Over 100,000 spectators, were there, enjoying a carnival-like atmosphere and a weekend in the sun.

Unfortunately, like Wellington before it, Hamilton has now lost, probably forever, this amazing spectacle.  Their respective mayors seemingly oblivious to the advantages of hosting out-of-town visitors and the value of  international TV exposure.

Now Mayor Len Brown is looking at Auckland hosting the event.

Supercars in the Supercity has a nice ring to it.  But no, the proposed location is Pukekohe – too far out of town for most of the city to gain the benefits.

Enlightened environmentalists are not in denial about the existence of the motor vehicle.

We also know that the human being is a competitive animal. It seems inevitable then, that car racing will exist as an activity in our society.  Obviously this activity needs to be responsibly structured.

One week in fifty two, in Melbourne, Monaco, Sydney and Adelaide the streets are closed.

Think of the event  as a Santa Parade where the  floats are travelling at 300km/hr.

In my view, cities are the way forward  to achieve environmental  sustainability to our planet.

We use less resources when we congregate in urban environments.

Successful cities host major events. That’s another of their great advantages.

I was part of a lobby group which  tried to resurrect our Resource Consented Wellington  waterfront race. (Interestingly a street race in the Wellington CBD is still a permitted activity under our District Plan).

We noted that the Wellington Cup at Trentham , an event in which the one horse power competitors, fuelled by oats, generate a thousand fossil fuel burning cars travelling from far afield, to ferry the spectators.

This is environmentally irresponsible .

The V8’s are after all, four-door family cars on steroids. They belong on our city streets.

If the organisers are prepared to bring their events to the cities, then we should welcome them there.  A wry observer would note that spectators can walk to the show.

Organised street racing  fits the purpose of sustainable city life and should not be banished unsustainably into the countryside.