CHEESE – WINE July 31st SPRINT- DINNER AUG 1st BBQ Aug. 2nd 1987
Back in action
Bart O’Rourke, pictured, and the vintage Morris Minor he drove when setting records on Hawke’s Bay 30 years ago are back in action this weekend at Thunderpark.
Eighty-year old Bart is coming out of retirement for one last sprint at the wheel of his favourite car.
Together, they pulled off a few surprises at hill climbs and sprints during the 1950s.
Bart’s competitors didn’t take the Morris too seriously till it pulled ahead of them.
By then it was usually too late, chuckles Bart as he recalls the Morris’s heyday.
Like Bart, the 1931 Morris has been giving sprints a miss for the last 20 years. He sold the vintage car to Neville Wilson, Havelock North, about three years ago.
However, with the Hawke’s Bay Car Club holding its 40th anniversary at the weekend, Bart has a chance to get back behind the wheel.
Club celebrations include a special sprint featuring Bart – a foundation member – and the Morris.
He says the car is only a fraction slower than when he set Hawke’s Bay records in sprints and hill climbs in 1957-58.
In those days the Minor had plenty of sting.
“It was a wolf in sheepskin pyjamas,” boasts Barty who tinkered with the original motor and put in a MG head, sump and four-speed gearbox to give the car extra zip.
“It was out on its own till the modern stuff came along” he recalls.
“But even then I used to make them pull up their socks.”
Bart is looking forward to the club celebrations. There’s the social side of it, and he gets to renew friendships made as a club member for 40 years.
And then of course, there’s the sprint. Bart doesn’t expect to set records or bury the opposition.
“But we’ll give them a good whirl,” he promises.