Opinion

The Friday night scene on Hamilton’s Te Rapa Straight has become a lot different compared to how it was five years ago.

Typically Friday nights at Te Rapa Straight would welcome droves of so called ‘boy racers’ in their customised cars of all makes and models. Some blasting music for the world to hear, others would simply cruise the main drag showing ofF their cars, often boosting – accelerating fast – past peers to grab their attention.

Nothing really happens like it used to. I remember the days when people would come from Tauranga and Auckland for “invasions” resulting in hundreds of cars parking up along the road causing chaos for local Police.

Nowadays all you see is the odd customised wannabe parked up hoping that something will happen with general commuters passing by.

The boy racer breed hasn’t disappeared completely. There are still the idiots that drive around residential neighbourhoods doing skids and thinking they are cool, but  the car fanatics are more car enthusiasts these days.

There could be a number of reasons for the change. It could be partly due to an increase in petrol prices over the years or even the fact that New Zealand is still in a recession making all the additives to cars far too expensive.

Another possibility for a decrease in boy racer numbers could have something to do with the government’s plan to crack down on boy racers by crushing their cars.

This car knows how to show off its stance. Photo: Daniel Whitfield

This car knows how to show off its stance. Photo: Daniel Whitfield

I would like to make the note that since the Vehicle Confiscation and Seizure Bill was passed in 2008, there has only been one car crushed. So obviously this if anything has scared a few people to sharpen up their acts but I don’t think this is the main reason.

From someone who started driving probably at the peak of the boy racing scene back in 2007/08, the simple fact that some of these boy racers have grown up and moved on in life is perhaps the main reason why boy racers aren’t cruising the streets burning rubber.

Gone are the days of the boy racers, say hello to the era of the car enthusiast.

An era where attention to detail is key and tastefully modified cars roam the streets until dusk settles when they are tucked up nicely in their garages with gleaming coats of paint.

Although some still have the potential of being classed boy racer cars, the majority of the drivers are working full-time or studying on their way to brighter careers.

There are a few guys who are members of the Circle Jerk Crew, also known as CJC, who pride themselves on having cars that look great from every angle imaginable.

Everything and anything automotive is loved by CJC members. Cars for example that makes you stop and stare. Cars that make you not want to avert your gaze for more than a second. Cars that are truly ridiculously low, wide wheeled and un-natural flared.

But that’s the idea of being called a “Jerk”.

Having cars that look good and make people stare. To some, dubbed “haters”, the cars look stupid. But to the owners of the cars they look perfect. If they didn’t, they simply wouldn’t modify their cars in such a manner.

Just a few CJC member's cars on show. Photo: Daniel Whitfield

Just a few CJC members’ cars on show. Photo: Daniel Whitfield

To put it in plain English, members of CJC pride themselves on having cars that make you look on in awe.

Circle Jerk Crew member Lucas Boswell says the crew was created by a small group of friends from nzhondas who had the same interest in cars/styles.

“After three years we have close to 200 members and we all know each other in one way or another. Usually we just a catch up with each other as we are all pretty close but sometimes we go out for small photo shoots with our cars,” Lucas says.

Honda Civics, Subaru WRXs, Nissan Silvias and VW Golfs are just a few of the types of cars members of CJC own. All of them have quirky additives creating a personal flair to the cars in comparison to boy racer cars.

“Once a year we also plan a massive track day at Taupo as it is most central and 80-90% of members attend,” Lucas said.

There are also some neat places for car fanatics to meet and greet such as the V 4 & Rotary nationals at the beginning of the year.

The nationals are held over two days towards the end of January from the ASB Showgrounds in Auckland and the Fram Autolite Dragway in Meremere.

It’s the only car festival I have been to so far and over the years the nationals have grown into more of a ‘festival’ rather than just an event.

All sorts of cars appear at the nationals. You can see cars from V8 powered hot rods to drift and drag cars as well as rally cars, bikes and also exotic cars like Ferraris.

Lights shine bright for this CJC members car. Photo: Daniel Whitfield

Lights shine bright for this CJC member’s car. Photo: Daniel Whitfield

So the former boy racers have changed over the last five or so years, and seem to have gone their own ways.

Some can now afford to hire parts of race tracks for the day with their mates and are able to skid purpose-built cars in an appropriate environment rather than on the streets or in car parks.

The others pride themselves on having cars that look great from every angle imaginable. However these new car enthusiasts still like to show off, which is why they attend festivals such as the 4 & Rotary nationals to take part in competitions or just park up their shiny, one-of-a-kind cars.

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