It would have looked strange to the people who saw him repeatedly reversing into a downtown Auckland carpark yesterday morning, but it probably helped Jon Alcock take the title as New Zealand's Parker of the Year.

The battle to find the country's best parallel car parker attracted 24 entrants, just five of them women. Sandringham's Christine Cato got to the semifinals before meeting a red hot Alcock.

Contestants had to back a 4.2m Ford Focus into 5.6m gap, and finish with two inside wheels on a line. Polystyrene cars were used as dummies to avoid damage from wayward backers.

Alcock, 37, beat Jeff Li in a best-of-three final. His best time was 10.50 seconds.


The practise through the morning obviously helped, but he also put it down to coming from Durham in the UK, where parallel parking in tight streets was a way of life.

Ford's hands-free automobile parking technology was parking the Focus in 16 seconds in comparison.

In celebrity contests featuring sports stars, it was a hattrick for the girls. April Ieremia beat Josh Kronfeld, Krystal Forgesson beat Andy Hayward and Gemma Flynn accounted for James Coughlan. "I'm used to driving trucks," Kronfeld moaned.

Alcock won a year's free valet parking at Auckland's Britomart and use of a Ford car.