What is SEMA? Originally, the SEMA acronym stood for Speed…
I’m going to break this one down a little different than I usually do. I was privileged enough to have a big hand in making this event happen. So rather than writing just a report of the day, I’m going to give you some insight into what this event means to me and why it is so important.
For those of you that do not know me, my name is Falgoon, but most people call me Falgs. I have been an active member of the car scene since 2000. I have had my fair share of ups and downs in this world. I have had enough crappy moments to know how much I love this scene, why? Because I am still here living and breathing in it.
People that are not in the car scene, think that our scene is all about cars. There is some truth to that, but true car enthusiasts know that it’s not just about cars, but more about the people. The passion for cars is the common denominator that brings us all together. Without a doubt, many of your closest mates that you hang with, you would’ve met through the car scene. Car guys also tend to come into your life and stick around. There is a ton of WTF moments in the Fast and Furious movies, but the one theme they hit the nail on the head is, friends becoming family.
Most of the time you will be hanging with your car crew, and a handful of mates with the same interest. E.g. if you love Hondas, Evos or mud bashing 4WD’s. Your common love for a type of car brings you together. This is awesome, your crew will all go for cruises, have meet ups and all play your part in the scene. Sometimes what this does is though, make you have a small bias toward ‘your’ style of rides, thus you lose focus of what the scene is about. This brings me to my main point. If this scene is going to grow, then people need to do one simple thing, appreciate others cars for what they are. Our scene is such a micro demographic, we don’t really have the luxury of not getting along. Lets be real for a second, we can’t all get along all the time. In my heart of hearts I wish we all could, but it is an ideal that I hope will come to fruition one day. Well it would in my perfect world anyway. This is where the HardPark comes in.
The HardPark is a day where no matter what we like, what we are into, we can all come together for one massive day and unify. It’s not a day of discrimination, It’s not about how shiny your car is, how much power you make or how modified your car is in general. This event is about the passion we all share, and all of us that attend, banding together for that day. It was about seeing cars from many different walks of life, different stages of modifications, all at one place at the one time. Seeing all the different marques door to door, show cars next to cars with a just a set of rims and springs. Hardpark is a day for all car enthusiasts.
Every thing in life works in cycles, the car scene is just about to hook second gear and stamp on the loud pedal. If we want to slam it into third and really get it humming, you, yes you reading this right now, need to take it on your own shoulders to make that happen.
I personally feel that these style of events are an important part of the modified automotive calendar. It’s from events like the Hardpark, the desire to further modify your own ride arises. It’s a chance for people getting started; to rub shoulders with owners of much more highly modified cars. It also lets the lesser-modified rides, avoid getting torn to shreds for taking up space at a show. There were no awards at HardPark, removing the competitive element means nothing is on the line. It seemed that the people in attendance weren’t out there being hypercritical ‘Judges’ when looking at cars. It created a much more social and laid back atmosphere. The traditional shows like the Nats is where the competition is for. HardPark is about building a stronger and healthier base, getting new people interested again, or bringing old faces back into the scene. Thus the entire scene prospers. Increased population in the scene, leads to more people modifying. More people will then push the limits to stand out, leading to an entire new crop of show level rides. The overall scene gains momentum. More automotive orientated businesses will see an increase in traffic (and sales). They see the financial benefits of sponsoring guys building cars, as they see the benefits of all the increased attention on their brands. It’s all a symbiotic relationship, that is starting to grow again.
I hope some of that all made sense and it didn’t just sound like me rambling on.
The actual day…
…Was mental. There was no beef, everyone was in a primo mood, the vibe was chilled. You parked up if you wanted to or did laps. You could leave if you wanted to, almost everyone stayed till the event finished though. 650+ rides packed into the Riverbank car park, not just the northern end but also the southern end and all the available spaces in-between. A line of fourty five minutes to cover a distance that usually takes thirty seconds max to cover to get in. It was a throwback to the 1st peak of the scene in the early 2000’s. Welly has always hosted the best Hardpark, but this year it was cranked up to ten! People travelled from as far away as Timaru, a handful from Auckland, a crew from the Hawkes Bay. A massive contingent from the Palmerston area all helped add to the numbers on the day. Cars that weren’t road registered were coming in on trailers. Car clubs rolled in full force, and before you know it the entire northern end started to pack out, and fast. Luckily for the HardPark Organisationl Team or H.O.T for short were an organised bunch with extremely level heads, that got everyone parked up really quick smart. The H.O.T. were all volunteers, and all prominent members of their respective clubs. They all shared the same vision and we all combined our powers and networks to make this event happen. You guys are amazing!! 🙂 Just in case you didn’t know this was a free event to enter, it was all for the love.
I do have a request for next year that if the team in hi-vis vests ask you to park a certain way please do it. There was a small crew that decided to do their own thing and not follow the lines that we spent so much time setting up so we could maximise parking area and they took up heaps of valuable space. So for next year please listen to the team.
One of the coolest things that I saw on the day, people that have been in the scene as long if not longer than me, come down to have a look. Some of these individuals started on the street and are now regulars at legitimate events. Was so good to see these guys talking to newbie’s, fingers crossed that some of them will go join them at the next street sprints or club day event.
The lasting memory that I will have from this event will be the vibe on the day. It was an intangible and ambiguous element, I hope that others felt it too. I already know that this day was one of the highlights of my time in the car scene, it was so amazing to have you all there to share it with.
I have also started to get fed up about how people keep harping on about how awesome the scene used to be. This event proved that if we all start working together, there is no reason why the scene can’t be better than it ever was right now. All we have to do is band together and make it happen.
I can guarantee you that the next one will be better (hopefully not too much bigger). With any kinks in the organisation from this years event smoothed out. I’ll leave it up to you, to make sure you lock in Sunday 7th Feb 2016 in your calendars to be in Wellington for next years event. So from wherever you are in the country make sure that you are there.
To stay up-to-date on all the Hardpark 2016 happenings, add the Facebook page: HardPark 2016
And if you want to see all the media from other people that took photos, wrote articles or put updates from the day up look up the hashtag #HardPark2015
I would like to finish by thanking a few people. Without these people the day would not have been possible. Kenny & Ngaire Grinrod and the Ministry of Kustoms club. Royce Nimot, Ash Reuben, Angus MacNeil and the Nine K club. Johno Hollands, Bevin Taylor and the Wellington Evolution club. Jasper Forbes and the Wellington Trucking Friends club. Would also like to say thank you to hype master Brodie Geerlings. Connor Edwards for lending us the road cones. Ieshea Mcdonald from the Lower Hutt city council. The entire Lower Hutt police department. Most importantly though, YOU. Thank you for attending the event and making it a massive success. See you all next year!
If you liked the look of the 2015 event, don’t miss the next instalment to be held on Feb 7th 2016! Keep up-t0-date with all the going’s on for the 2016 event here: HardPark2016