A love of fast cars and even faster motorbikes led Gary back to the place he cycled around as a boy, Lawrence. For Jas, the story was even simpler.
“I fell in love with Lawrence in June 2020 when I stopped here by chance. I took a coffee and strolled up to St Patrick's Catholic Church. Sitting at that staircase is when I felt the pull to move to Lawrence. I called Gary and told him that I am going to move here. That started the snowball effect for me, from looking at buying a house to the Goldpark Motorcamp."
Together they run the motor camp, which attracts bikers, hikers and campers alike. Here the kids can head to Lawrence’s new skate park while the oldies can amble round the antique stores.
“After Covid I was keen for direction and figuring out what I really wanted to do. The pace at which everything was changing for me was very, very fast. And sitting outside the church here, it felt slow. So it was like, I can really breathe here,” reflects Jas.
Gary’s roots have always been in the South. “I was born in Dunedin and joined the Otago Motorcycle Club because I loved motorcycles. It turned out I was the South Island champion and then I became a New Zealand champion motocross and then I went and raced World 125 motocross championships for two years.”
Gary did the development riding for John Britton and knew Burt Munro and other well-known bikers from the South. “My claim to fame is that I'm the only guy that's ever won a World Superbike race, did a wheel change and still won it. It’s never been done since.”
Good news for cyclists, the planned 73km extension of the Clutha Gold Cycle Trail from Lawrence to Lake Waihola will eventually go right past their motor camp.
After a long ride from Millers Flat or Roxburgh, many cyclists want to stop and look around. Jude from Lawrence Bike Transfers picks up people from the trail and can ferry them to their destination. The next day it’s a short ride from the motorcamp into town where you can explore the shops.
“When the cycle trail goes by, it will bring in a new kind of people. There will be people just checking the country out. We're planning to put eco-cottages for those cyclists who just want the privacy and want the self-contained units,” says Jas.
One thing on the up-and-up is motorcyclist groups touring the South Island too. Goldpark is a must-do stopover.
It’s a great base to spend a few days exploring the historic Lawrence town, parking your camper up under the trees and staying a while.