Whanga turns on charm for rally
'I've never seen so many clean and shiny vehicles'ISOBEL EWING
Whangamomona didn't know what hit it when more than 400 pieces of American muscle cruised in yesterday.
Instead of Americarna's usual road trip to Opunake, the fleet of cars headed out east to Whangamomona for the festival's first day.
"I've never seen so many clean and shiny vehicles; ours don't normally look like that out here," MC for the day Mark Coplestone said.
Mr Coplestone's wife Gayleen, a member of the committee behind Republic Day, said there was no way they could put on these events without the support of the community.
In true Whanga style, shearing, dog trialling, wood chopping and whip-cracking demonstrations in the main street were part of the day's entertainment.
Shane Hurliman, of New Plymouth, took his restored Dodge Challenger out for the ride.
"It's a hell of a lot of fun, it's a real good social thing."
The trip had an unfortunate end for one Mustang owner who rear-ended a van near Toko.
The van had stopped close to the railway line and the Mustang driver was unable to stop in time, Americarna organiser John Rae said.
He said they had already had an offer of another car for the family to use for the weekend.
"That's the spirit of the people that are part of Americarna," Mr Rae said.
"We call it the Americarna calm, because everyone's so happy."
Despite the shock after the crash, the driver and his family gratefully accepted the offer.
Whangamomona passed with flying colours on its first time hosting the event, Mr Rae said.
"The weather was stunning and Whanga turned it on.
"The week just keeps building."
He was looking forward to being hosted by Inglewood and Waitara tomorrow.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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