Friends take on NZ in Mini

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JOHN.COSGROVE@nullcluthaleader.co.nz

It could almost be a bad script for a great movie.

Two big men crammed into a small Mini, driving from one end of New Zealand to the other — all in search of a pork pie.

For Clutha retirees and life-long Mini aficionados Graeme Blackmore and Gerry Reeves, it is not the first time they have driven this route — in fact they have done it seven times in total.

However, this March will be the first time the pair will tackle the biennial Pork Pie Charity Run for KidsCan together.

“You really have to know your mates well when you are both crammed into a tiny Mini; your butt’s only six inches off the tar seal, for hours on end,” Mr Blackmore joked.

Inspired by the classic 1981 Kiwi comedy Goodbye Pork Pie, the weeklong Pork Pie Charity Run for KidsCan will set off from Paihia, south of Kerikeri in the North Island, just before Easter.

The seventh annual charity run, exclusively for Minis, is limited to just 60 cars and will wind its way through 2400km of road south to Invercargill.

“I’ve missed out on previous runs because the 60-car limit was always reached just minutes after the entry forms opened online, but this year with the pandemic stopping all the overseas drivers from entering, my daughter managed to snag me a slot online, so we’re on our way,” Mr Blackmore said.

The pair of long-standing devotees have owned numerous Minis over the years, and travel regularly around the country picking up new cars to add to their collections.

“We have done the long drive from north to south seven times together already, the last time in mid-2020 after I bought this rare 1997 Mini ute from Te Puke.

“We did that run in 17hours straight, as we didn’t want to get trapped up north due to Auckland’s bout of Covid-19 cases.’’

Running under the ‘‘Team Clutha’’ banner promoting the district on behalf of the council, the intrepid adventurers said the run would be a lot of fun.

“Get 60 Minis together and things will surely happen, as we’re all fun-loving people,” Mr Reevessaid.

Funds raised would go to KidsCan, a charity providing childrenwith basic school resources.
Sadly, Mini lovers in Clutha would miss out on viewing the event this year.

“Covid-19 affected event planning, so we’re not coming to Dunedin or Balclutha this time.

‘‘Instead we’re going across the Alps and down the West Coast to Invercargill,’’ Mr Reeves said.

‘‘But hopefully we might be able to convince participants to callin post› event on their way back up north.”