Front of the grid: From left, at last Saturday's Queenstown Car Club 50th anniversary dinner are rally-driving ace Hayden Paddon, club co-founder Stuart Maclean and new life member Munro Tall


Queenstown Car Club stalwart Munro Tall got the shock of his life on being conferred life membership at the club’s 50th anniversary dinner last Saturday.

He joins its only other lifer, club co-founder Stuart Maclean, who quips: ‘‘I found it lonely at the top so we thought we’d better find an other one.’’

Tall joined the club about 1980, has enjoyed success on the track, especially in single-seaters, and has had two stints as president.

Maclean says his strength’s been as ‘honorary custodian’ — ‘‘looking after the club equipment, caravans and trailers and other things, and making sure they were maintained’’.

‘‘And we used his office for the car club.

‘‘He became a very good driver after being a very hairy one.

‘‘He went to the Canterbury Motor Racing School and learnt the finer points of driving and became a very quick driver.’’

Tall’s children, Ruby and George, also compete in club events these days — ‘‘to George’s dismay, sometimes his sister beats him’’, Maclean says.

Meanwhile, he says the club was thrilled to have Cromwell-based former world rally champ Hayden Paddon as its guest speaker at the weekend.

‘‘I think everybody enjoyed the talk and the fact he would answer their questions was the
highlight for many.’’

He notes Paddon’s the first New Zealander to have competed in all of the World Rally
Championship’s top-tier rallies.

‘‘He’s the best rally driver this country’s ever produced.’’