Licence to thrill at Motueka show

ALASTAIR PAULIN
Last updated 12:45 10/12/2012

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Matt Smart lost his licence six months ago but that did not stop him from almost beating the Bathurst lap record at the Motueka A&P Show.

He was one of a constant stream of drivers to test his skills in the V8 Supercar simulator, a new attraction at the show this year.

Organisers had brought the $90,000 simulator from Auckland for the day, with the proceeds from the $10 ticket for two laps at Bathurst going to the show.

The car's owner, Kim Clarke, said the simulator had "not stopped since I turned it on at 9am" and show secretary Trish Palmer said it was a "a very good investment for us".

Mr Smart had three turns and thought $30 was well worth it: "It's one of my dreams to go in a Bathurst car," he said.

"And if you crash you don't write off a $300,000 car."

The simulator is a car hooked up to an Xbox running the Supercars 3 game, with the car's "air rams" synched to the game so that the car moves with the driver's steering.

Mr Smart drove his last lap in 2min 8sec, which Ms Clarke said was skilled driving. "Anywhere around 2.30 is pretty good so 2.08 was doing pretty good."

The simulator was just one of scores of attractions that kept a record crowd happy on a scorching Sunday at Motueka's Marchwood Park, ranging from the hi-tech simulator to a demonstration of blade shearing by Woodstock's Ross Doyle.

The competition hall was filled with decorated cakes, seasonal produce and flower arrangements and next door, punters could watch dog trials or try their luck on the mechanical bull.

At 12.30pm Mrs Palmer said the 77th annual show was "shaping up to be a real humdinger. We've got them packed in everywhere." She had just heard that the car parks were full and she said 1pm was usually the peak time for arrivals.

This morning she said provisional gate returns indicated crowd numbers of about 3000, which was close to the record of two years ago.

"We're very happy, because we estimate about a quarter of the population of Motueka came to the show and there wouldn't be many communities that could say that."

The show was produced by a committee of 12 and run by about 150 volunteers on the day, Ms Palmer said.

The show had a record number of trade entries and about 65 stalls.

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- The Nelson Mail

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