Boy racers in Wellington: 'We're not here to scare people'

11:58 am on 6 August 2019

Just "one or two bad apples" in the boy racer community ruin the perception of everyone, Upper Hutt police say.

The car community set up a support meet on Friday night for people who were affected after a man driving a road roller went on a rampage, damaging cars.

At 9.30pm on Friday night, a text message was sent with details of the meet up.

It was at a car park in Petone where about 50 cars were gathered. Chatter and laughing could be heard above the hum of engines.

Car owners said there were fewer than usual. People were scared to come out after the last weekend when more than 200 people had to escape a road roller which destroyed five cars.

Event organiser Tyler said that was what the meeting was for, to show support for people who were frightened.

"I put this together to try and bring everyone together and support each other, because there are quite a few people who are crapping themselves after hearing metal on metal sounds and that sort of thing."

He said the community got a bad reputation when only a small number of people caused trouble.

Without a designated place to have fun, that was not going to change, he said.

"Of all the cars that come out, I'd say there are five percent of people doing skids and that sort of thing.

"As a group I don't think we can claim any innocence from that, it's a problem."

Local police checked in on the event on Friday night, but Constable Craig Morgan said the boy racer groups were mostly well-behaved.

"To be honest, you can tell the ones that have put the money into their cars," Mr Morgan said.

"They don't want to jeopardise that and they are generally good, and it's usually the one or two bad apples that ruin it for everyone."

One of the car enthusiasts said the public had the wrong idea about what they did.

"We're not here to you know cause harm; we're not here to screw people around and stuff, or hurt people or scare people.

"We have a passion for cars collectively and we just want to show it."

For them it was about modifying their cars and showing off the improvements.

On Friday there were wagons with exhausts that could blow flames, dark tinted windows and those with airbag suspension that made the entire car bounce.

The community said they weren't boy racers, they were car enthusiasts.

For 17-year-old Tinesha, the trauma from the road roller incident was still fresh.

She was hit by a car as she struggled to get out of its path.

She said having the support of her community was helping her recover.

"It's a great way to get to talk to people who were also affected by it 'cause I feel like a lot of us were affected.

"We are kind of traumatised by it so it's nice to be able to talk to people that understand."

A 47-year-old has been charged with interfering with motor vehicles with reckless disregard for people and property, and driving with excess blood alcohol.

He was granted interim name suppression when he appeared in Hutt Valley District Court, and was remanded on bail to reappear in court later this month.

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