When Pukekohe’s green flag drops, the talking stops.

There's a bit of bogan in all of us, certainly for those who got their driving licence in the 1960s in New Zealand.

We got our entertainment out on the streets, watching those brave enough to lay some rubber at the lights and evade the local fuzz and ogling the shiny lowered chassis or chromed-up bikes angle parked in the main drag.

Hotted-up Anglias, Cortinas or Chevs battled for viewing supremacy with the two-wheeled majesty of the AJS, BSA or Harleys in town.

Weekends gave us stockcar or speedway meetings while the levels went up over summer with competition at Bay Park, Levin, Pukekohe, Timaru or Paritutu. They were as much a part of the Sports Roundup calendar as the slower commentary from the cricket grounds or the medium-tempo tennis from Stanley St.


Pukekohe was the biggie then and gave us names like Kenny Smith, Robbie Francevic, Jim Richards, Graham Lawrence and the majestic group of McLaren, Amon and Hulme.

Now it's Go Gizzy, slipper it Scotty and Fang it Fabian as the top Kiwis behind the wheel of their Supercars do the business this side of the Tasman. One super weekend for Shane van Gisbergen might be enough to sew up the series ahead of teammate Jamie Whincup and allow the local to lay down victory donuts this side of the ditch.

"Champion Kiwi stitches up Aussie Supercars title" - such simple symmetry.

There's something modest and magnetic about the circuit at Pukekohe too.

We can marvel at the planning and execution of the six-hour endurance race at Bathurst or gasp at the street racing on the Gold Coast but, to these eyes, Puke is a true contest. One tank of gas for a 100km sprint around a circuit that drivers will clean up in a touch over a minute.

Bathurst brought all sorts of calculations, variables and tactics into play because of mandatory pit stops, then the added doses of fortune with pile-ups, pace cars and tyre changes.

The Gold Coast has its corridors of walls, concrete carnage and run off areas as it high-octanes its way through the high rise apartments in Surfers Paradise but Pukekohe is more about the driver.

Most teams will have similar setups so the difference will be the skills of the drivers, their ability to position their car strongly from the start, be patient for the rare passing chances and maintain that concentration through to the chequered flag.

Qualifying will be as huge as getting a clean start when the flag drops in the quartet of sprints. Drivers who get the line right for the opening couple of turns and negotiate corners five, six, seven and eight cleanly, should have an advantage.

Opening the throttle the same way around town or out on the motorways these days is an invitation to add to the government coffers or spend some time off the road. Fair cop too as the national road toll is outstripping last year and has exceeded 270 with two months until Christmas.

If you like a palette of fumes, rubber, noise, bravery and buckets of skill, then Pukekohe should be your target rather than the streets of your local 'hood.