Tollemache key to setting up summer series

PETER LAMPP
Last updated 12:00 30/01/2013

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Amanda Tollemache might not quite be a one-woman band this summer, but she is close.

As far as MotorSport NZ is concerned, she is almost solely responsible for the eight-round summer series.

That includes next week's New Zealand Grand Prix round at Manfeild, with a lot of help from the Manawatu Car Club and the Manfeild people.

Tollemache, 35, had worked for The Motorsport Company (later re-formed as Motorsport Promotions Ltd) before it went into liquidation, and with it many of the staff who ran the summer series on behalf of its 60 per cent parent, MotorSport NZ.

By then she had joined MotorSport NZ - and, as she said, "I was the last man standing".

She also has a toddler, who turns 3 next month, to care for, and she and her husband bought an auto-electrical business in Wellington in September. She works there, too.

"It's busy, been pretty full on," she said.

If MotorSport NZ wanted to continue with its tier one racing, it had to step in and run it and get the clubs and circuits more involved.

Her role is to ensure the whole operation runs well financially.

"We have to be careful we're not spending money we don't have, and we're trying to run it separately from the governing body."

The Toyota Racing Series (TRS) is virtually keeping the summer series afloat, with its five rounds assured.

Toyota virtually runs that, but not so the New Zealand V8s, which have lost the top drivers to the V8 SuperTourers, whose arrival changed the sport. Tollemache has been heavily involved with the NZV8s, organising everything from the paperwork to hotlaps and signing sessions.

"I have been known to hold a flag on the front of the race grid."

She is expecting 12 to 15 V8s at Manfeild, including three or four new-generation cars.

Tollemache comes from motorsport lineage. As Amanda Kibble, she followed father Harry into rallying in the 1970s and 80s, and with sister-in-law Deborah Kibble won a club rally.

"I've done a bit of everything and had quite bad crashes."

One was with former Palmerston North driver and national rally champion Sam Murray, now a publican in South Canterbury. They were both 18 when in 1995's Ohakune Rally, they went off a road and into a concrete bridge.

It has been a battle to tee up support classes, but Manfeild should be better off than the South Island rounds. A three-hour endurance event will be held at the end of Saturday, February 8, after the Dan Higgins Memorial Trophy TRS race.

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- Manawatu Standard

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