I do some travelling up and down this lovely country as part of my role as publicist for the Central Muscle Cars racing class and as my blog has revealed I have stayed with some great folks including Dr John Elliott, Cam Neill and Bruce McRae along the way..
Recently I travelled up to Pukekohe to take in the first round of the Northern Muscle Cars season, for a while now I had been communicating with Bruce McRae and his daughter Cheryl about covering the first round for them as a way to raise their profile outside of their own circle of members and associates.. now I love motor racing and can sway between 2 wheels and 4 depending on where I am at, I am a passion sharer which means if I corner you and start talking to you about motor racing you’re essentially screwed because I will put on an inescapable passion filled show about how great it is; how it IS for everybody-man, woman or child; whether it’s a casual watcher or the seasoned spectator who remembers the good old days; how it isn’t as expensive as it is made out to be and how I want my kids to grow up knowing about it and being a part of it.. And right now for us Muscle Car racing is where it’s at so I said yes to Bruce immediately.. My travelling companion and I headed to Pokeno and whilst I am kinda attached to the Greater Wellington area I am really just attached to New Zealand in general and the land north of Taupo is just so beautiful that one should never discount it as a potential lotto-winnings spending area, and as we got north of Hamilton the same beauty can be seen, I kept saying to my mate that I wondered if the farmers would sell me enough to build my own race track on and they could keep their dairy operation on the infield and use a tunnel for milking on the outer, I just wanted a 20m wide strip that snaked around, they could keep the rest.. never did get a reply on that one just a couple of raised eyebrows, c’mon now it’s not such a silly idea you know
to get to Pokeno from Wellington you must travel past two of NZs motorsport treasures: Hampton Downs race circuit ( G’day Tony) and Meremere Dragstrip managed by Gary Bogaart.. both of which are clearly visible from the road and both of which are located at the wrong end of the right island, na just jokes there Tony and Gary, ooWW!!.. just can’t joke with some folks.. hhmmmpphh!!
Some great motorsport folks live in Pokeno and I reckon I’ve met most of the REALLY famous ones, I caught up with Trevor Tynan one day and the next I met Athol Williams and of course I have met Bruce.. arriving at the Pokeno Motel it’s newness is apparent and it’s settling in nicely enough for the guys to be planning a 10-unit extension now that all the consents are in place. We were put into room 9 and pretty quickly unloaded the car and had our shit, er stuff, all piled up on one of the beds with plenty of room left for both of us to sleep. I just watched Sky movies for a while and think I watched The Boat That Rocked which is a funny pommie flick for sure, our room was pretty decent and being fully self contained (I think they call it that) I made use of the toaster a few times and we cooked our meals with the microwave too so you can really just stay in the room for one of them, ahem, quiet weekends, though as Cheryl pointed out “the truckies are regulars through the week and the rear car park has been setup so trucks can enter and turn around to park off the street”.. motorsport people support Bruce and Cheryl also and before the Saturday was out there was a Plymouth Barracuda drag car destined for the Father’s Day Drags at Meremere, a Corvette, Nissan 300ZX and a Torana destined for Pukekohe amongst the cars in the car parks, and I have known for a long time that the two finnickyest people on the roads are truckies and motorsport folks, neither will return to a place that doesn’t have food and beer or at least a good looking barmaid and, you guessed it guys, this place has it all.. hey hey, I hasten to add that it’s all in a tasteful way ladies!!
Pokeno is a stones throw away from the tracks either side of it with Pukekohe and Hampton Downs almost the same distance away and Meremere is even closer. you must consider this place seriously if you are ever heading North for a racing event.
Cheryl’s husband Greg usually mans the kitchen and he cooks up a mean meal from their menu in no time flat, I liked the chips, but could only squeeze in three quarters of the bacon and egg burger I optimistically ordered.. the fully stocked bar kept the guys amused for a few hours and the bathroom is bloody huge, it managed to make the huge shower look average, with a bank of Infinity Hot Water systems on the wall you just the shower is gonna be awesome and it doesn’t disappoint.
the view when you get up is priceless and the countryside is beautiful even through the rain, Sunday’s Pokeno Fair next door was pretty cool also but aside from the Pokeno Motel the thing you just gotta have in Pokeno is an ice-cream cone or sundae from the shop on the main street, opposite the servo, man they have so many flavours to choose from and they serve em up generously, almost USA generously.. I ended up having a decent sized single scoop and my mate had a triple sundae with sorbet and ice-cream flavours.. got back to the room and had to sit a while to let the ice-cream filter down.. and watch The Boat That Rocked again..
I loved staying at the Pokeno Motel, I loved the service from Cheryl and Greg, I loved the service from the ladies who clean the rooms, I loved the facilities, I loved the food, I loved the views and I loved the locals. anyone who stays there will enjoy the same things I did and come away with the same positives I did. especially if you happen to be going to motorsport events which happen to be going on..