On a stinking hot Canterbury day, a blustery norwest wind is whistling over the hills, picking up dust on the flat plains around Ruapuna race track and shooting it into every orifice within striking range. It’s the kind of day that turns everyone, including Cantabrians, a little bit loco.

Still, the show must go on and it’s a round of the Toyota Racing Series. A security guard is sitting on a chair outside one of the racing tents. Some of the teams had had a few things filched by light-fingered spectators earlier in the day, and many thought it prudent to post a sentinel during the half hour or so they were away on the track.

Kenny Smith’s very first race-car, a much modified Ford 8 Special, seen here at Ostrich Farm Road, Patumahoe in 1958 (Photo B McKay).

The guard is tenaciously attached to her ever-present handbag. Her name is Dorothy Smith and the fact she’s 90 and nodding off in the heat doesn’t mean she doesn’t know what’s going on. She’s an undisputed motor racing…

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