Tony Cook trackside at the Bays Joinery Raceway that will be hosting the Challenge Cup this weekend. Photo: Simon Bloomberg

Racers back in the groove at Hope

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Slot car enthusiasts from around New Zealand will be testing their skill and endurance when they race in the annual Challenge Cup on the Nelson Slot Car Club’s new track at Hope this weekend.

Around 50 racers will compete in the event which features qualifying on Friday night and two rounds of racing on Saturday.

Racers will also line up in a two-hour endurance race on Sunday with the fastest cars expected to hit speeds of up to 50kmh on the new six-lane track.

Race organiser Tony Cook says it will be the first event on the new Bays Joinery Raceway that was installed late last month.

The track cost about $12,000 and has a computer-controlled scoreboard that displays the number of laps, lap times and the top and average speed for each car.

Tony says the 1/32nd scale cars take around five seconds to complete a lap, hitting a top speed of 50kmh and a scale speed of closer to 400kmh.

That means the cars will complete around 1200 laps of the new 19.5m track, or about 20km, during the two-hour endurance race on Sunday.

Although the cars are not the real thing, Tony says it’s not child’s play and takes a lot of skill simply to stay on the track. “It’s just like driving a car,” he says. “There’s a lot of skill in it and you can have some big crashes if you don’t get it right.”

Tony says the event has attracted slot car enthusiasts from Auckland to Dunedin, with a strong Nelson contingent being led by defending champion Kerry Martin.