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The Generation Game at Teretonga Park

There was plenty of banter as a generation game challenge loomed at Teretonga Park in Invercargill ahead of the annual A1 Auto Services 1 Hour Endurance race recently.

It is a race Boyd Wilson won in a Ford Falcon alongside Jordan Michels in 2018 while in 2021 Boyd and son Harry finished third in the Falcon.

This season Boyd and Harry have been enjoying some family rivalry over the summer in a pair of former NZV8’s – Boyd in a Holden Commodore and Harry in the Ford Falcon.

Another father and son combination, Gregg and Josh Cooper, have also been active in motorsport with the Southland Sports Car Club for some time. It should also be pointed out that Cindy Cooper, Gregg’s wife and Josh’s mum, is the current Ladies Champion at the club.

Most of Gregg’s previous experience has been in rallying and ClubSport and he only made his circuit race debut in his rally car, a Ford Escort, at the recent George Begg Festival. Josh has been involved in ClubSport for “4 or 5 years” and did his first race meeting in his Toyota Corolla at the annual Classic SpeedFest in February, performing admirably.

Harry and Josh have been mates for quite a while so after his racing debut Harry invited Josh to join him as a co-driver in the Falcon in the A1 Auto Services 1 Hour race. “I had one test drive for 5 laps and loved it. It was a very predictable car to drive, obviously faster than the Corolla, but the technique was the same,” says Josh.

With the youngsters combining for the race, Boyd made a call to Gregg the day before the race to see if he would like to co-pilot the Commodore. Gregg had his first steer of the car on race day, getting 5 laps in practice and 10 minutes in qualifying. “It was absolutely fantastic. Being a bigger car, I thought you would have to muscle it around but it doesn’t feel like a big car. It sits really well and it is easy to drive. I was doing 1 minute 13’s in the Escort at the George Begg and 1 minute 08’s within my 10 laps of qualifying. That is the quickest I have ever gone around there. It just felt organised and grounded. I loved it. It was amazing. I didn’t want to stop.”

There was a bit of banter during the lunch break as the senior duo laid down the gauntlet although Boyd did eventually admit after the younger crew were quicker in qualifying, “we do have the unfortunate problem that the young guys are quicker but we are playing the long game. This will be a case of the tortoise and the hare.”

Sadly, the anticipated challenge never eventuated after the MSD ignition burnt out in the Commodore with Boyd at the wheel during an afternoon race prior to the 1 Hour contest. “I was really disappointed,” says Gregg. “I paid a $195 entry fee for the race and only got 10 minutes in qualifying. But it was the best $195 I’ve spent in a long time.”

While the duel did not eventuate, Harry and Josh drove very well to place second in the Falcon. Harry drove the first stint before Josh jumped in the seat to finish the race. Josh’s nerves weren’t helped when he was told not to be too harsh with the shifter into third but he brought the car home for a fine result.

Harry was rapt with his co-driver’s efforts. “He went really good, he jumped straight in and did 1 minute 08’s.”

It appears the battle may resume next season. “Hopefully”, says Harry. “The old boys want redemption. I think they jinxed themselves this year, they shot themselves in the foot!”

When it does happen, it will be entertaining – both on and off the track!

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