Welcome to 2018 and may it be full of laughter and frivolity. I have been covering motorsport news for over 12 years for The Herald and its sister publications and now it's time for a change.

I still remember the day sports editor Chris Allen asked me to take over from Bob Pearce and cover motorsport.

Back then in the general media motorsport coverage was very thin on the ground and I made it a mission to get as many stories as possible covered. It helped hugely that there were a number of very talented youngsters about to make their mark on the motor racing landscape.

Now we even have Brendon Hartley as our first full time Formula One driver in 30-plus years, so I reckon motorsport news coverage is about to get even better. The Herald, and the rest of NZME's stable of news outlets, have always made space and time to cover motorsport and there are now a number of talented folk covering the sport.


Therefore, I'm now more than happy to leave the news side to others and move across to reflection and comment. I'm calling this new slot for me the 'Steering Column' in a random homage to the simple piece of a race car that is often overlooked, but is as vital in the scheme of things as is the engine.

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I'll be having a rummage through all things motorsport and providing insightful, thoughtful, considered and balanced opinion on what ever takes my fancy. Well, probably not that balanced or considered, but at least it'll be opinionated.

As this is the first of a regular Thursday contribution it's only fitting that I look at the past decade and the milestones that made me proud and privileged to have been able to cover.

The first biggie for me was getting to meet my boyhood hero, and as far as I'm concerned probably the best racer we have produced, Chris Amon. It was a humbling experience and Chris was kind enough to allow me to become a friend over the ensuing years and our regular chats about the state of motor sport were a highlight of my week.

Another great moment was getting up at 4am on a Monday morning and watching IndyCar racer Scott Dixon become the first New Zealander to win the 'The Greatest Spectacle in Racing' the Indianapolis 500. Being able to interview the 2008 Indy 500 winner afterwards was about as memorable as it gets.

Chating to Hayden Paddon and then co-driver John Kennard on the eve of their first World Rally Championship race, and thus becoming the first Kiwis to get a fulltime gig in the WRC, was a magic moment.

Another experience I will treasure for all time was sitting beside Sir Colin Giltrap at the 2015 running of the Le Mans 24 Hour and seeing two Kiwi names, Earl Bamber and Brendon Hartley, on top of the leader board with one hour and 50 minutes to go.

Sir Colin has been the driving force and banker behind just about every New Zealander who is currently racing at the elite level overseas. It would appear that all Sir Colin's hard work and backing has finally paid off as we now have a Kiwi in F1 and he must feel proud of his accomplishment.

Finally, I want to thank each and every man, woman and child racer, and their parents, who have been gracious enough to let me pester them with at times must have seemed inane questions about their passion and achievements.

I have found it to have been a great honour to have reported on so many great Kiwi racers past present and future, and for that I thank you all.