Butler keen to be back in the driver's seat

21:30, Mar 26 2014
Norm Butler
FINISHING TOUCHES: Norm Butler, right, with his pit crew, Murray Anderson, left, and Don Black, and the 1983 Chev Camaro which he will drive in the super saloon class at Riverside Speedway, near Invercargill, on Saturday. 

Norm Butler's 73 and has lost the sight in one eye, but it won't stop him from making a comeback to racing at Sandy Point's Riverside Speedway on Saturday night.

During a four-year break from racing, Butler attended all Riverside meetings but the time has come to get back on the track.

Butler's pit crew are his friends, Don Black and Murray Anderson.

"Our combined ages total over 200 years," Butler said.

All three live in Riverton.

"There'll be a couple of hangers on [helping on Saturday]. My wife Daphne will look after the tucker."


Butler lost sight in the left eye when he was 20, working as an apprentice mechanic.

He was working on a car when a piece of metal flicked under his goggles and struck the eye.

Driving with one eye is no disadvantage, as he proved by winning the South Island saloon car title and finishing third in the New Zealand championships in the 1988-89 season.

Butler is in the top five senior drivers in the country, with Timaru's Allan Kirk the oldest at 75.

Butler, who owned Butler Motors in Invercargill for 30 years, raced at Teretonga, Oreti Park Speedway and Riverside Speedway in the 1960s-70s.

"I won every saloon title there [Teretonga] one year. Those days you didn't have to have roll cages in cars."

Butler will race a 1983 Chev Camaro in the super saloon class on Saturday.

Its steering rack was retrieved from a wrecked 1950s Morris Oxford, which was buried in a farm paddock in Lumsden.

Butler was told by a work colleague about two dumped Morris Oxfords. The steering rack was in good order, while electrical switches were also retrieved and now used in a friend's car.

"They [Morris Oxfords] had the best of electrical switches," Butler said.

His Camaro's suspension is from a 1950s Volkswagen.

"I've got quite a few spares around the garage." 

The Southland Times