The George Begg Festival is back
Get ready to dust off the retro threads and transport yourself to a golden age in Kiwi motorsport: the George Begg Festival is returning to Invercargill.
The inaugural event was held in February 2020; following a brief pandemic-induced hiatus, it’s set to return to the south from 30 March – 2 April, 2023. Invercargill businessman Scott O’Donnell says the long-term vision is to create a carnival-like atmosphere similar to Goodwood in the United Kingdom: but with a twist. The George Begg Festival will take a cue from the 1960s and 1970s, when Drummond farmer-turned-engineer-turned-racecar constructor Begg built a series of vehicles that bested some of the biggest marques in the world.
“George Begg took on the world from Southland, and our plan is to run a world-class event here in Southland. We want it to be a real highlight on the calendar, not just for visitors to our region but for Southlanders too,” O’Donnell says.
“People really got into the retro swing of things at the first George Begg event and we know they’ll be just as keen to do it again in 2023.
“When there’s an event like this, that encourages people to get dressed up in outfits from that period of time, there’s great food, fast cars, a good buzz in the air, it’s easy to get swept up in the fun of everything. We’re really looking forward to bringing the George Begg Festival back to town,” he says.
The George Begg Festival promises plenty of action on and off the track. Retro styling will take guests to a bygone era, with the four-day celebration featuring a mystery car run, entertainment, food and beverage, racing and evening events. A mystery star Kiwi driver is also set to appear, with details to be announced closer to the time.
“George was a real visionary, and the epitome of a Southlander who – through a combination of tenacity and his give-it-a-go attitude – truly made his mark on the world stage. This was a guy who decided to give building racecars a crack after reading a book about it, and he did a phenomenal job. His achievements deserve to be celebrated by our whole region, and we’re looking forward to sharing his story throughout the festival,” O’Donnell says.
The George Begg Festival will also give visitors to Invercargill the chance to check out the inner-city’s multi-million dollar redevelopment.
Stage one of the Invercargill Central Ltd project has now opened, with additional stages – plus the ILT’s Langlands Hotel project – set to follow suit before the end of 2022.
“Invercargill’s undergoing a once-in-a-lifetime rejuvenation, which makes it an exciting time for people to visit,” O’Donnell says. “We’ve essentially got a new city – and now, a chance to really show it off to people from around the country.”
The George Begg Festival has been scheduled to coincide with Wheels at Wānaka – the vintage car, truck and tractor show – the following weekend.
TW Events & Incentives will host the George Begg Festival, and events manager Adam Reinsfield says the festival will showcase Invercargill’s famed southern hospitality.
“Southlanders are wonderful at welcoming visitors to the region – you just need to look at the success of other events, such as the Bluff Oyster Festival and the Burt Munro Challenge, to see that.
“We’re fizzing to add the George Begg Festival to that calendar. The different elements of the festival will cater to everybody, from car enthusiasts to families. With as much action happening off the track as on it, we’re really looking forward to bringing Southlanders together with our visitors and having a fantastic time.”
George Begg Festival Itinerary
30 March 2023: George Begg Long Lunch • Mystery car run
31 March 2023: Track practice, qualifying and late afternoon race • Official welcome function at Bill Richardson Transport World
1 April 2023: Racing at Teretonga Park • Barbecue event at Teretonga Park • Evening at leisure in the new Invercargill CBD
2 April 2023: Racing at Teretonga Park