Mud claims Fieldays victims

LIBBY WILSON
Last updated 06:45 13/06/2014
cars
MARK TAYLOR/Fairfax NZ

LITTLE HELP: Four wheelers were needed to get many cars and utes out of the mud.

National Agricultural Fieldays 2014
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Holly Duggan gets a pic to remember with Prime Minister John Key at the National Agricultural Fieldays at Mystery Creek.
2014 National Fieldays
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Little Angus Leigh-Mackenzie appears well-equipped to help with chainsawing displays at the 2014 National Fieldays at Mystery Creek.
Ag Art Wear entry is paraded at the 2014 National Fieldays at Mystery Creek.
MARK TAYLOR/Fairfax NZ Zoom
Ag Art Wear entry is paraded at the 2014 National Fieldays at Mystery Creek.

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Tyres spun, engines whined and mud flew in the Fieldays car park.

While many morning trips to Mystery Creek were delayed because of accidents, in the afternoon many cars had trouble getting out of the paddock.

Quad bikes dragged vehicles - from Holdens to Mercedes - out of churned up and muddied tracks left by hundreds of cars.

A couple of vehicles had mud spray up to the windows.

Drivers tried to gain traction and many admitted defeat so the quads zipped from one car to the next without a pause.

One motorist got advice - and a push - from those around.

"Into first, not too much gas."

They tried backwards, they tried forwards, but it wasn't until another helper came along that the car got on to solid ground.

For Nick Empson, of Pirongia, manpower didn't suffice but a quad soon came to the rescue.

"We could see it was going to be greasy getting out. It was greasy getting in," he said.

"It's Fieldays, got to have a bit of fun."

While the car park was in the worst state he'd seen it in his years of attending Fieldays, he was pleased a free tow was readily available.

The quad-mounted parking attendant who came to his aid wasn't afraid to get stuck in attaching tow ropes.

"What a good man . . . I wouldn't be down there in the mud."

And emergency services are hoping there won't be a repeat of the traffic chaos that plagued day two of Fieldays.

Roads leading to and from Hamilton from the south were blocked on the second day yesterday, causing significant delays for thousands of people, road policing manager Inspector Freda Grace said.

There were also delays for northbound traffic south of Hamilton where a tree fell across State Highway 3 near the intersection with Airport Rd.

While police and ambulance staff dealt with that their colleagues were dealing with a collision between a truck and a fire engine on SH1 just before Cherry Lane in Tamahere.

Grace said in that incident a truck braked, trying to avoid a large slip and the fire engine following appears to have collided with it.

There was a "reasonable back up of traffic" that affected both Fieldays bound traffic and vehicles heading to the airport.

Traffic coming down from Auckland was also merging with traffic coming into Hamilton and Fieldays from the east causing significant delays at Matangi Village.

Motorists heading south were advised to take SH3 and SH39 from Rangiriri.

Grace's message was, "caution, caution, caution".

"With a good dose of patience added in- this will see us all get to our destinations safely."

Advice that could help avoid a similar snarl up today.

AT A GLANCE

Fieldays visitors should expect fine weather but be prepared for mud. Southest winds gradually easing, high of 17 degrees Celsius.

Today's highlights: 9.30am, Rural bachelor high tea, premier feature area 2pm, Ag Art Wear winner announced, Fieldays theatre 4pm, NZ National Fencing Championships prizegiving, village green All day, National Excavator Competition, excavator area.

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