Judkins was happy to sell Coast to Coast
Robin Judkins spent all day yesterday singing The Beatles' When I'm 64 and wondering, as the ditty goes: ''will you still need me?''
Having just sold the Coast to Coast, one of his prize possessions, on his 64th birthday, Judkins was equal parts excited and sad.
''You should definitely say congratulations, it's great news,'' the enigmatic Judkins said.
''But yes, it's going to be different, the race has been such a big part of me.''
For one more year at least, the race and its new owners, Queenstown-based Trojan Holdings Limited, still need him. Judkins, the name, face and voice of the event for 31 years, will oversee next year's dash across the South Island before slipping out quietly.
''I'll still blow the starting hooter at Kumara Beach and give out the beers at Sumner, but that's it,'' he told FairFax Media.
''I'll be the hooter and beer guy.''
Selling the event, Judkins said, was one of the hardest things he'd ever done.
''I had six offers in all,'' he said.
''I first thought about it 18 months ago, but I changed my mind a few times.
''It was real hell at the beginning and it took over a year to come to grips with it myself.''
Judkins admitted last year the event needed a resurgence and to be re-energised and at that stage remained confident he was the man to do it. Before this year's race, five time winner Richard Ussher questioned whether it was time for Judkins to step aside.
''I still flip back and forth about that, whether I'm happy about it or not,'' Judkins said.
''But in the end, it was kind of a good thing because at that stage I'd been thinking about it [moving on] for 15 months and what he said made me feel that my decision was a good one.
''It was a very, very, very good thing that happened, I did need that kick.
''It's a younger person's game. It needs someone with more energy and more vision than I have at the moment.''
Trojan Holdings is a brother sister company run by directors Mike and Jacqui Davies.
Mike Davies said the 2014 race would run as it has always run then Trojan would investigate how to improve the iconic event.
''Before we purchased, we had a chat to a lot of people [competitors included] and we will continue to do so now,'' he said.
Judkins said for the last 32 years he wasn't sure a day had gone where he hadn't thought about the Kumara to Sumner event.
''At the end of it I just felt physically exhausted.''
Judkins completed the event as a competitor with its most famous son Steve Gurney in 2012 and wouldn't rule out another crack at it in the future.
''I'm still hot for the race,'' he said.''Right, I'm out for a birthday drink and to celebrate.''