by John Manzi with Joe Lee for NAADA
Never before did the international amateur driving competition mantra mean more than it did on the first day of the Friendship Competition between the visiting North American Amateur Drivers Association and the local New Zealand amateurs.
According to the international amateur driver’s mantra, ‘it’s not of the utmost importance who wins or loses; it’s just that amateur racing is a great vehicle for human relations’ certainly rang true after the first of three races in the competition has been completed.
The NAADA team of Joe Lee, Peter Kleinhans, Gerry Fielding and Dave Offenberg were drubbed by the local amateurs in the first event of the three race competition.
That being said, here is Joe Lee’s first-hand account of Thursday’s competition race at Addington, NZ.
“Last night was our first race. There were 13 horses in the contest and I was on the 10-horse which was starting at the beginning of the second tier. I got away a little further back than I would have liked and didn't find room to shake loose until the passing lane in the mile and a quarter event and although my horse passed quite a few others we still end-up sixth.
“Gerry Fielding sat on the outside the entire race which is common here and even was up toward the lead a good portion of the race after leaving from the eight- hole. But the distance took its toll and Gerry finished 10th.
“Peter Kleinhans was in a favorable spot sitting with cover behind the favorite who eventually won the race but Peter’s horse, Stylish Babe, didn't last behind the cover and faded and finished 11th.
“Dave Offenberg got caught three-wide at the start of the race from an outside post and wasn't able to settle in for a bit and eventually tired and finished ninth.
“We didn’t do much good but it was a great experience and definitely a different style of racing here.
Lee also offered the following;