CJC’s annual trackday outing, the event which has come to be known as ‘Jerkfest’, came together across the weekend of October 17th-19th this year, with great success. This annual pilgrimage sees members from across the country work towards a deadline for their projects as the winter hibernation burns away and projects are revived and completed. Given the spread of members across the country, it makes sense for the destination to be somewhere in the center of the country, for accessibilitie’s sake – so Taupo Motorsport Park is now the traditional destination. But also, who doesn’t love a good roadie?
Jerkfest is not so much a strict trackday with a focus on performance cars and lap times; there are countless other events for that, and in reality Jerkfest couldn’t be further in spirit than a formal race meeting. Instead, the focus is to bring club members and friends together into one place, at one time, for a good time. The club, of course, is primarily about the people; we just happen to have a common interest in sweet cars.
Jerkfest ‘14 was no exception to the above, and in fact this year proved to be one of the best events so far, with an excellent turnout of members both new and old with their cars in tow, newly unveiled and freshly completed projects, and a few surprises that no-one was expecting.
The event began with several organized convoys from the major cities, early in the morning of Friday 17th, allowing members from different areas to meet up and cruise together down to Taupo. The main stopover was in the sleepy town of Tirau, which as always never expects to be assaulted by the onslaught of CJC’s cars. By 3pm there was a sizable group amassed, who then made the final stretch onwards to Taupo to unload and settle in for the night in preparation for a day of racing on Saturday.
The following morning saw rather dreary skies and damp roads, in-line with a forecast for rain till Tuesday. This definitely did not bode well for some, who had prepped their cars for dry conditions and competitive laps! However, damp spirits were discarded as everyone woke early and descended upon Taupo Motorsport Park to set up and get their cars scrutineered.
Jerkfest is a 100% club run event, so everything was done with the help of selfless volunteers and helpers assisting with all areas of the day; from setup and scrutineering, timing, marshalling, MC’ing, vehicle recovery and everything in between. The club comradery really shone on the day and everyone attending was organized and ready to go, on time for scrutineering and drivers briefing, and well aware of the rules of the track to prevent unnecessary damage or delays.
Contrary to the forecast, the skies held off the rain in the morning and the track actually started to dry out as the day began and racers took off to attack the track. Run as a casual track day, the focus was to get everyone out for track time without pressuring beginner drivers to drive beyond abilities, or having pro drivers getting frustrated and blocked by traffic. The sessions were split between open pit lane grip and drift sessions ensuring everyone could have a go at the style of driving they liked best. This really worked out well, and everyone had quick turnaround sessions out on the track without pushing themselves or their rides too hard, ensuring no one had to wait too long to get out there and get some action.
Of course, it was not all about racing cars – many members had built rides for the cruise and meetup but with no intent to race. This meant the park-up in the pits was every bit as entertaining to walk through and spot fresh builds as it was to stand by the track to take in the action. The great thing about CJC is the sheer variety of vehicles there was to be found; there is no discrimination between makes or marques, between dyno figures or lap times – a high powered race-only build is equally as welcome as a timid but classy street cruiser – which is one of the things that sets this club apart from the others. Of course, the same could be said for the members: from the quiet types, to the outrageous ones who manage to get on the mic for the day like Vash and Moe.
The circuit-prepped hot hatches had as much fun blasting around the track as the tyre-shredding drift monsters who took turns beating up the grounds – and everyone had a great run until just after 3pm when a light drizzle began and signaled the beginning of the end. All cars were off the track by 4pm and a quick clean up ensued – and just like that, we were all done for the day and headed back to our respective accomodation.
Now, we couldn’t host a track day without a big after party, right? This year, the organizers saw fit to hire out a local establishment for part of the night for all members to chill, hang out and consume a few cold ones. This was an excellent chance for everyone that had made the journey to catch up in person after months or years behind keyboards. 2014 saw our reigning club president James Swarbrick step down, with new El Presidente Tank taking the leadership role. He came prepared with a strong vision for the club’s future moving forward, and one that spoke of interests in growing ties between the different car enthusiast communities in New Zealand. CJC has developed relationships with other clubs over time and getting all these groups to interact together can only grow and strengthen our community.
If this year’s Jerkfest was any indication of what lies ahead for the club, then the future is indeed bright. Here’s us all looking forward to next year’s event – with many more to come too. CJC will be looking to host open trackdays in the near future, so keep an ear out!
Words: Nigel James
Photos: Wayne Thompson for CJC
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