Generosity marks charity meeting of Minis, writes Paul Charman
Hard to keep to 100 km/h it may be, but the 2013 Mini Roadster wasn't the only fast car on the Pork Pie Charity Run from Kaitaia to Invercargill.
The field of 47 cars encompassed classics from five decades of production of the old Mini, plus a good selection of more modern Minis, including Driven's Roadster, kindly provided by BMW Group NZ.
The Minis included a 1965 Morris 850 belonging to Waikato couple Zane and Vickie Begovich, who were content to putter along at an ideal cruising speed of about 85km/h. And there was still a nod to the famous peppy road car Minis of old which also dominated the racetracks of Europe.
Both old and new Minis seemed to attract an affectionate response along the way, there being many fans of both kinds of car among the public.
The last three times the charity run has been held the run has dropped in to the National Park service station featured in Goodbye Pork Pie, the movie which gave its name to the rally.
Coincidentally, even before he had heard of the charity run, the owner of the station, Dhruv Dewan and his wife, Nalini, had used the movie as a travel route to see New Zealand during their honeymoon following their wedding in 2008.
The 2013 run provided another honeymoon experience, this time for the recently married Bryce and Debs Mason. However, Bryce and Debs' journey was not without its challenges, as their car broke down in Whangarei on Good Friday and needed a rotor to continue.
"It would have been a quick trip to Repco and back on the road any other day, but on a public holiday it was a real mission to fix it," Debs said.
"Luckily the 'Mini grapevine' was activated, after a few texts and phone calls we were put in touch with a Mini owner in Whangarei who was happy to loan us his rotor."
There were many more cases of borrowing and swapping along the route of the run; for instance at the Classics Museum in Frankton, which has many Minis on display including a replica of the one featured in the movie.
Alan and Sandy Williams needed running repairs and the museum kindly supplied an engine bolt out of their Pork Pie replica car to get the couple back on the road.
The charity run attracted much attention, which helped when the buckets came out to raise money for this year's charity, Leukaemia & Blood Cancer New Zealand.
The donation which sticks in the mind for me was on State Highway 1, between Kaitaia and Whangarei, where we took several gold coins off a friendly police officer who had stopped us for a donation to something called "The Consolidated Fund" - fair cop.
One way or another the generosity of Kiwis was staggering, with $165,000 raised for this worthy cause.
To donate go to porkpie.co.nz/view_group_event_profile/470