Those lucky enough to be attending the Alpinestars Gala Dinner at Hampton Downs on March 3 are in for a rollicking evening's entertainment.

Steve 'Stavros' Parrish– one of the most colourful and entertaining grand prix motorcycle racers of the 1970s – will be fronting the Alpinestars Gala Dinner, alongside grand prix legend Randy Mamola.

Parrish will be the Master of Ceremonies so diners will be in for an hilarious evening's entertainment.

The Alpinestars Gala Dinner is the icing on the rich cake which is the Mike Pero MotoFest – set for the north Waikato circuit on March 3-4.

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Parrish was given his nickname by Barry Sheene, his team-mate in the Heron Suzuki GB team in 1977. Sheene reckoned that Parrish's mop of curly black hair made him look like the 'Detective Stavros' character in the TV show 'Kojak'.

The name stuck.

A man of many talents, Parrish can look back on a career that won him four British 500cc Championships, a five-year period as a very successful motorcycle race team manager and highly successful international truck racing career (five European and five British championships).

A BBC radio turned TV commentator, Parrish is now one of the front men for the television coverage of the Isle of Man TT races. In addition, he has commentated for the Red Bull air racing series and tested various vehicles and racing machines. He is also an expert witness for motor racing incidents.

With journalist and broadcaster Nick Harris, Parrish co-authored Barry: The Story of Motorcycling Legend Barry Sheene. As a close friend of the former two-time World 500 Champion, Parrish offered illuminating insights into Sheene's career.

Showing his zany side, he also held the Guinness Book of Records world records for the "Fastest Speed Achieved in Reverse" (136 km/h) using a Caterham.

A notorious practical joker, Parrish was the instigator of a fire-cracker incident in a house of ill-repute in Macau that saw him banned from the territory. Then there was the ambulance he sometimes used to park on double yellow lines with the doors open in visits to his local bank, not to mention the fire engine he used to hose down the inside of a friend's packed public house on a Sunday afternoon.

After obtaining his pilot's licence, Parrish set up an 'airline' – using a single engine Cessna. He called it Plummet Airways…

His old mate Sheene once opined: "if he had set up his race bike as well as his victims and had put as much effort into the bike as he did the intricate pranks he pulled, he would certainly have been a World Champion."

Today his daughter Frankie also shares her memories of living with her adolescent dad, hosting Parrish's MAD Tours, described as "a funny and informative evening with Steve Parrish, providing a completely different, colourful, humorous and, at times daring portrayal of this man's career."

Just what japes Parrish has in wait for the unwary at the Alpinestars Gala Dinner will naturally only unfold on the night.

There are still some tables left but they are sure to sell out fast.

"The evening will share some personal insights into the career of Randy Mamola and other legends of the sport with Steve Parish hosting the Alpinestars Gala Dinner in the Hampton Downs Pavilion located in the centre of the main track," says Hampton Downs' Commercial Manager Mike Marsden.

"In addition to the full buffet dinner, there will be a question and answer session with the Mike Pero MotoFest Legends, including four-times World Champion Hugh Anderson, 1970s' grand prix star Stuart Avant, Graeme Crosby, Aaron Slight, and the host of other Legends attending."

Tickets can be purchased direct from Hampton Downs: sales@hamptondowns.com or tel: 027 366 9445.

The Mike Pero MotoFest at Hampton Downs brings together several different types of motorcycle competition at one venue on one weekend.

In addition to the Alpinestars Gala Dinner, the Legends will also turn demonstration laps of the Hampton Downs track twice a day over the Mike Pero Motofest weekend, which also hosts round three of the NZSBK Championship presented by DHL Express NZ Ltd. With 10 classes, from Superbikes to Sidecars, the country's top motorcycle racers will battle it out on track, culminating in the prestigious NZTT title on Sunday afternoon.

Also in action on the tarmac course will be the Post Classic and Classic GP racing machines taking part in the Shoei Classic Racing part of the packed programme.

The off-road fraternity will be well catered for with a public trail ride over 10 to 15 kilometres of adjacent farmland. Kawasaki has jumped in as naming rights sponsor of this, which will run both days of the event. Open to all-comers, the off-road course will be family-friendly.

Then there is the Motul Stadium Moto Trial event over a tricky course involving wooden towers, concrete pipes, shipping containers, two VW cars, large concrete blocks and cable spools.

Leading New Zealand trials rider, eight-time national champion and twice Australian moto trials champion Jake Whitaker will head a star-studded bill in this man-made arena set in the heart of the circuit. Joining him are seven-times New Zealand Champion Warren Laugesen, from Napier, and Wellington's rising young star Dylan Ball, along with fellow Kiwi international Blake Fox of Dunedin.

Adding some additional 'wow', the Franklin Farm freestyle motocross team will thrill the crowd with aerial action on the main Skid Pan.

Those wanting some track-time of their own will be able to participate in the Pirelli Track Sessions. For amateur and enthusiast riders, there will be two 15-minute track sessions both days.

There will also be a wide variety of motorcycles to view in the Star Insurance-hosted Motorcycle Show.

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