Organisers of a massive South Island modified car event which has attracted an unruly element in previous years say behaviour has been “top-notch” this time.
While police saidthey would not be releasing an official statement about behaviour at the 4 and Rotary South Island Champs until Monday, event director Lzhar Bhamji told Stuff on Sunday he was working side-by-side with officers and understood there had been no major issues.
“There’s been less congregation than usual. At first, police thought there weren’t as many people here this time – but then they saw them all in action at the night cruise,” Bhamji said.
“Most people had good intentions and there were less hangers-on.”
* 4 and Rotary South Island Champs: 1967 Ford Anglia ‘radically’ modified
* 4 & Rotary South Island Champs: Police numbers boost for big Timaru car event gets support
* Modified machines to flood Timaru for 4 & Rotary South Island Champs
Bhamji said the three-day event, which included a burn-out competition and a show and shine, had brought about 700 modified cars and more than 8000 spectators to Timaru – lighting the South Canterbury town up with “no vacancy” signs.
Police had boosted their presence in the town in anticipation of the influx over the weekend. Frontline police safety teams were supported by the strategic traffic unit, highway patrol, an extra prevention group, and the Canterbury anti-social road user team.
Officers had been on the look-out for illegal street racing, vehicle and driver’s licence non-compliance, and liquor ban breaches.
“Everyone’s behaviour has been top-notch,” Bhamji said.
“The night cruise was a big win and attracted a lot of families. Everyone enjoyed themselves.
“It was much, much better than I hoped and a positive outcome for everybody.”
Bhamji said as well as police, organisers had engaged with a rubbish crew to clear any mess left behind.
“Last year we had a lady from Pleasant Point on our case in response to rubbish, so this year we’re working together to ensure that doesn’t happen again.”
Hundreds of motorists hits the streets for the 4 and Rotary South Island Champs in Timaru.
The event had been boosted by “amazing, beautiful weather” and a “great atmosphere”, Bhamji said.
“It’s been awesome. We’ve definitely got more people come through than usual,” he said.
“I think people see it as a chance to get out and do something, in case there’s another lockdown.”
Bhamji said he was “thankful” to the Timaru District Council for supporting the event, as well as hospitality providers in the area.
The event launched with a North Island edition in 1999, and was introduced to the South Island in 2002. Held in Christchurch until the earthquakes, it moved to Nelson in 2011 before settling in Timaru in 2015.