Nasa Space Race May 2011
Six Nasa astronauts landed in Christchurch this weekend, taking time to test their skills on the horse racing track.
The American space shuttle crew flew on Disovery’s 39th and final flight on March 9 after spending 13 days delivering components to the International Space Station.
They arrived in Auckland last week, visiting Hamilton of their way to Christchurch, where they hoped to raise spirits in the quake-ravaged Christchurch.
Shuttle pilot Eric Boe was asked to come to New Zealand and help Christchurch by his high school classmate Ree Varcoe, who now lives in Hamilton.
Colonel Boe said the morale-boosting trip was important to the crew who have a number of links to New Zealand.
“We recognise that the people of Christchurch are going through a difficult time now and we’d like to bring a message of hope and optimism to them as they go about rebuilding their lives and their city following the devastating earthquake earlier this year,” he said.
Today, they took part in a horse racing event specially organised by ”Horsepower” at their track beside Christchurch airport.They then visited the International Antarctic Centre before speaking in front of about 500 people in an Air New Zealand airport hangar.
NASA Astronaut Eric Boe left and Lindsay (trainer) lead the field with “Life on M Astronauts Steve Lindsay (pink) and Mike Barratt (turquoise) and Nicole Stott, Steve Bowen obscured the “Horsepower” track Yaldhurst on Sunday.
The first ever Celebrity Dual Sulky Race held at the Addington 2010 NZ Trotting Cup where we organised for Miss Universe New Zealand 2010 Ria Van Dyke, Phoenix Owner Terry Serepisos, NZ Next Top Model judge Colin Mathura Jeffree, More FM Radio Personality Gary McCormack and More FM competition winner Mike Quinn to be on the track.
We understand there was a bit of friendly rivalry between Ria and Terry in the week leading up to the race -with each expecting they would take out the title of Celebrity Race Winner. It was more about the status rather than the winnings – of which was the right to gloat….
The beautiful Ria Van Dyke started the day in a Jane Yee creation, and by midday had donned the Horsepower Silks, helmet and spirit. The boys were off getting changed themselves and no doubt plotting on how to prevent the only female in the race, winning.
The line up was as follows:
Ria Van Dyke and co-driver Anthony Butt on Harnetts Creek
Terry Serepisos and co-driver Ricky May on Russian Road
Colin Mathura Jeffries and co-driver Colin De Filippi on Hardly Matters
Gary McCormack and co-driver Mark Jones on Randy Andy
Mike Quinn and co-driver Dexter Dunn on Pocket Me
A 1800mtr race around Addington track with some dicey moments led to an exciting race with a beautiful finish.
And the winner is….
Winston Peters 2008
In his role as Racing Minister, Mr Peters flew into Christchurch yesterday to attend the opening of Horsepower, a tourism venture offering the horse-fearing public a chance to have a go at harness racing by way of a tandem sulky.Fresh from the plane trip, Mr Peters removed his sharp pinstripe jacket and shiny black shoes to make way for silver racing silks and gumboots. His coiffured hair was covered with a hair net then squashed by a protective helmet. Time in the freezing works had taught him to bear with sartorial inelegance, he said.
Mr Peters is the darling of the racing industry after announcing in May that the Government would put up $9 million over three years in prizes for some of New Zealand’s premier races, as part of a co-sponsorship deal with the industry.
Driving with Horsepower owner Lindsay Kerslake behind retired trotting speedster Pocket Me, Mr Peters appeared comfortable in the sulky but blamed the judder of the gravelly track for his tremulous voice after the race.
There was some question over which horse was first past the post but Mr Peters claimed it was he who had won and promised the same of his seat in this year’s election.
And though he was surrounded by supporters and the question of donations had not been posed, Peters used the microphone to continue his tirade against the media.
“These [racing media] will be okay because they do practical things like follow racing and give out honest commentary but the ones I deal with are the worst bunch of meerkats in the history of man and womankind.”
Mr Peters has been under fire over donations from wealthy businessmen and faces a privileges hearing on Monday into claims surrounding a $100,000 donation from billionaire Owen Glenn to his legal fund.
There have also been questions surrounding a $25,000 donation from developer Sir Robert Jones which was paid into the previously unknown Spencer Trust, and donations from the Vela family, leading lights in the racing and fishing industries.
Robert 1983 world champion
To view the TV Show The Great Outdoors episode on Horsepower featuring Tom Williams, host and dancing with the stars winner, and 2004 world champion Mark Jones click here. Horses included Honkin Vision, Lyell Creek, Pocket Me, Happy Asset, Ermis, for the filming of the show which screened July 2007.