23 February 2015

The New Zealand TT - from Waiheke to the Waikato

Bailie Perriton will be looking to take the Supersport TT to add to his 250 TT last year.

The New Zealand TT (Tourist Trophy) will be run for the 80th time since it was first raced on Waiheke Island in 1931. The 2015 event will be held  on March 8th at Hampton Downs in the Waikato.

But what are  the the NZTT titles you ask? 

The NZTT race was held on Waiheke Island in the Hauraki Gulf off Auckland from 1931 to 1950 , modelled off the original Isle of Man TT races the early races where held as a time trial , with each rider starting separately not as the normal mass start. The Isle of Man TT still run the races that way today. The races could be over 2 hours in duration over  a 6 mile dirt road/track , a far cry from the modern day sprint races over 20 laps.

In the beginning there was only one NZTT title (The Senior), but over the years these progressed to include many other classes and reduced race lengths.

The TT was the first official New Zealand Road Race Championship , along with the New Zealand Grand Prix in Christchurch which has run since 1936. 

It would be not until the 1950's that a separate New Zealand national road race championship was run and that was only one meeting in the beginning , even then it was considered more of an honour to be a NZTT/GP champion than the national champion.

After racing stopped at Waiheke in 1950 , the race continued in Auckland at Seagrove , Mangere and Ardmore , then to the first purpose built track in Pukekohe.

As the years progressed the TT's were run at various other road and closed circuits around the country. Some cases various catagories together other times just selected classes. NZTTs have been run at Onekawa (Napier) , Wanganui cemetery circuit , Lyall Bay road circuit , Ruapuna Park  , Manfeild to name a few. 

However in more recent years the NZTT has been run either at Pukekohe or Hampton Downs (and Taupo in 2014).

Over the years the NZTT has lost some of it's glamour overshadowed somewhat by the national series . Lets all hope that in the future the NZTT/GP  once again becomes something to aspire to win and to be proud of.

The New Zealand TT will be run Sunday 8th March at Hampton Downs motorsport park located on state highway one between Auckland and Hamilton.

words: Ian Dawson Fast Kiwi Media
Pic: JDAS Photos.



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