It was Kevin’s second season with the Mustang, a 1968 car built by Shelby for TransAm but never raced until it was bought by Kiwi Bob Kennett, who ran it in the USA before it was bought by Dexter Dunlop. Dunlop spent an unhappy season with the car before Kevin Haig arrived on the scene and acquired it.

The Mustang underwent a total but conservative rebuild, and Kevin cut his racing teeth over the 1972/1973 season, learning what top-end racing was all about. Encouraged by a solid fourth overall in that season’s South Island OSCA Championship, Kevin spent the southern winter stripping weight out of the Mustang and adding more power.

He’d made friends with the larger-than-life Christchurch motor racing crowd of that period, largely centred on the PDL motor racing team. Car sales and PDL motor racing boss Lyall Williamson invited Kevin to be part of the team for that season.

Allan McCully was also invited to fly the PDL flag having returned from racing F3 in the UK, and had Fred McLean complete for him the bare bones of a F5000 car that had been started by Fred when he was working for George Begg. This was the FM5, often referred to as the ‘second’ Begg FM5, something that angered both McCully and McLean.
I’m not sure what the financial arrangements were – I assume they were travel and accommodation costs – but both Haig’s Mustang and McCully’s FM5 sported big PDL stickers.

Wigram 1974 and Kevin is back from his North Island odyssey with the Mustang and he relaxes on the back of ‘Johnny Cash’, the very slow Bedford Truck (Photo Terry Marshall)

Anyway, we travelled as a convoy – the PDL Mustang being towed by the grunty Chev-V8-powered Bedford PDL transporter, McCully travelling solo with the FM5 on an open trailer behind his HQ Holden ute, and Kevin and I followed in ‘Johnny Cash’. We were slow, really slow, and made the miles go a little quicker by listening to cassette tapes played in a battery-powered cassette player that chewed through batteries at the rate of about a set per cassette. Kevin bought a carton of batteries for the trip!

And the music? Well, put it this way, by the time we got back to Christchurch we both knew the words to songs like Ballad of a Teenage Queen, Walk the Line and Don’t Take Your Guns to Town!

A Moffat Encounter

It was a convoluted start to the season – departing Christchurch for a daylight ferry crossing from Lyttelton to Wellington on Christmas Day and driving overnight to the first meeting at Baypark. Then south to Levin, back north to the Grand Prix meeting at Pukekohe, then south to Wellington and a night crossing this time back to the Mainland.

At Baypark the emphasis was on ‘Big Saloons’ and Alan Moffat was there, full of menace and pace in his Mustang and he was (confidently) expected to dominate.

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