Even finishing last is good fun

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Fast fun . . . KartSport Dunedin committee member Neil Shearer at Silverstream Raceway in North Taieri. PHOTO: SHAWN MCAVINUE

In a series, reporter Shawn McAvinue spends five minutes talking with Dunedin motorsport enthusiasts about their passion for their form of racing.

KartSport Dunedin committee member Neil Shearer, of Macandrew Bay.

How long have you been on the committee?

About 12 years and I’ve been racing for about that. My son Oliver started racing when he was seven. He last raced about three years ago – he’s 24 now and lives in Wellington.

How did Oliver get into it?

I took him to an Autospectacular and the club had a display and I couldn’t keep him away. I was reluctant at first because I thought his interest might be a flash in the pan but he convinced us he was committed, so we bought him a kart.

Any other reasons for being reluctant?

It’s a time commitment – a race day is usually on a Sunday and you’re up early and get home about 6pm – but I found I quite liked it. I had the perception people in karting wouldn’t be nice people but they are good people. After Oliver had been racing for a few years, I had a go in someone’s kart and it was fun.

How old were you when you had your first race?

Forty-eight.

Did Oliver benefit from kart racing?

really enjoyed it, made lots of good friends and wouldn’t have met his girlfriend if it hadn’t been for karting. One of the main benefits was getting to spend a lot of time together as father and son – we regularly travelled to competitions across the South Island and went to events in Wellington, Hastings and Hamilton – places I would have never gone to otherwise. It was good to have that time away together.

Is it an expensive sport?

Running two karts and taking Oliver away to several meetings a year, we spent up to $8000 a year. Some people get sponsors, we never did that.

Why did you keep racing when Oliver stopped?

The fun. I’m happy doing my own thing – it’s a busy day when two family members race in different classes. You’re always on the go. It initially felt funny to be racing without Oliver but now I quite enjoy being by myself. It’s a sport where you can come last and you still have a great time.