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Christchurch - First Motor Race in New Zealand


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#1 Patrick Fletcher

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Posted 10 October 2011 - 07:57

As recorded in 'The Veteran Years of New Zealand Motoring' the first motor race in New Zealand took place as early as 1901 in Christchurch's Hagley Park at the Gaslight Gala of that year.
Not to be out done Dunedin included a motor race in it's programme at the Caledonian Ground on 14 March 1903. First prize was 15 pounds and second of 5 pounds.
The author notes that " Probably the first full scale orgainised motor race meeting was held on Boxing Day 1905."

Be interesting to hear if the above account is correct. The book was first published in 1971.

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#2 275 GTB-4

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Posted 10 October 2011 - 08:07

As recorded in 'The Veteran Years of New Zealand Motoring' the first motor race in New Zealand took place as early as 1901 in Christchurch's Hagley Park at the Gaslight Gala of that year.
Not to be out done Dunedin included a motor race in it's programme at the Caledonian Ground on 14 March 1903. First prize was 15 pounds and second of 5 pounds.
The author notes that " Probably the first full scale orgainised motor race meeting was held on Boxing Day 1905."

Be interesting to hear if the above account is correct. The book was first published in 1971.


Ask David for a question mark in the title Patrick....before you get into trouble like I did! :rotfl:

#3 David McKinney

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Posted 10 October 2011 - 08:22

We'll see what develops before deciding if it needs a question mark :lol:

With this sort of question you perhaps need to define "motor race". I've always said the first motor race in the world would have been the first time two motorists met... In NZ I know of a two-car "challenge" in Auckland in 1900 and another in Christchurch the same year

As early as 1899, and again in 1900, cars were "demonstrated" at cycle-race meetings at Lancaster Park in Christchurch, and there was certainly a pukka race at the 1901 "gaslight gala" in Hagley Park, though as the four starters comprised one proper car, a quadricycle, a tricycle and a motorbike I'm not sure if it really counts

There were several similar events in and around Christchurch over the next few years

But the first motor-race meeting (by any sensible definition) was the Addington one you mentioned on Boxing Day 1905, when a number of races were held, each with about half a dozen cars of varying sizes