For the last two years Warbirds & Wheels in conjunction with the Warbirds Over Wanaka Community Trust has held a gala dinner fundraising for the event and the Upper Clutha Children's Medical Trust. Last year's Gathering of Geezers fund-raising dinner was held on the 6th November at the Warbirds and Wheels visitor attraction. The date was chosen to once again co-incide with the big Highlands 101 race meeting at Highlands Motorsport Park in nearby Cromwell.
New Geezers confirmed for the 2014 dinner included Rod Millen, Graeme Lawrence and World Motocross Champion Shayne King. The evening was a celebration of motorsport, honouring legends in the industry. Each 'Geezer' sits a table and the Geezers rotate during the evening, chatting to guests throughout the evening. A selection of Geezers regaled the audience throughout the night with tales of tragedy, danger, near misses and hope.
More than 20 legends of New Zealand Motorsport were honoured at a sold-out gala dinner on Thursday, November 7th, 2013. Some 310 people from around the country were at the dinner which raised money for the Warbirds Over Wanaka Community Trust and the Upper Clutha Children's Medical Trust.
Those 23 legends who were present were: (as above photo)
Back Row: Phil Kerr, Heather Spurle
Standing Row: Jack Nazer, Warwick Jones, Alan Woolf, Graham Standring, Paul Radisich, Dave Oxton, Steve Millen, Morrie Chandler, Tony Teesdale, Garth Hogan
Middle Right: Hugh Anderson, Inky Tulloch, Mark Cromie, Neil Allport
Seated Front: Roger Bertram, Mike Marshall, Leo Leonard, Paul Fahey, Peter Knight, Graeme Crosby, Kerry Jones
Two Geezers had to pull out at the last moment, Graeme Lawrence (illness) and Owen Evans (called overseas on business).
A number of the guests spoke on the night on their different motorsport disciplines including Paul Radisich (saloon cars), Morrie Chandler (rallying and administration), Garth Hogan (drag racing), Heather Spurle (women's world water speed record), Graham Standring (speedway), P G Knight (boat racing), Steve Millen (sports cars), Graeme Crosby (motorcycle racing) and Tony Teesdale (rallying). Well known motoring journalist and broadcaster Allan Dick was MC for the night.
Warbirds and Wheels Manager Ed Taylor says they've had fantastic feedback following the dinner with many asking when it's going to be held again. "We will have a debrief and may well look at holding another similar event next year," says Ed.
“There is no lack of suitable motorsport heroes for future dinners."
A charity auction helped raise thousands of dollars for the two trusts. Items snapped up included some rare Bruce McLaren memorabillia, a number of trophies won by the Geezers both here in New Zealand and overseas plus lots of other items donated by the Geezers. Celebrity cook Annabel Langbein was also at the dinner and there was strong bidding for an auction item donated by her. Morning tea for 10 people and a tour of the garden at her Wanaka home where her TV series is filmed went for $2,300.
Ed says the event would not have been possible had it not been for a number of sponsors including naming rights sponsor Chemz along with Mastertrade, Tyreland, Wanaka Landfill Limited, Duncan Farms Limited and Talleys Seafood.
The function was timed to coincide with the first major international event at the brand new Highlands Motorsport Park facility just down the road from Wanaka in Cromwell. Highlands hosted the final round of the Australian GT series along with a number of other races across the weekend and many of the Geezers stayed on for the action in Cromwell.