Cemetery Circuit

Boxing day.

In some families, there is a tradition of hitting the shops. Grabbing a bargain from the many sales, or picking up what you actually wanted for Christmas.

For others, its a day to relax and unwind from the hectic few weeks leading up to Christmas.

But in our family, Boxing day is race day.

Cemetery circuit, Whanganui.

For those not in the know, the Boxing Day races are a series of motorcycle races. You will see pre ’89 classics, super bikes and even sidecars racing around the circuit. I quite like the side cars.

Its always an early start, no sleep in, the post Christmas rest doesn’t start for another day for us. From Wellington, it takes about 2.5 hours to Whanganui. We have great weather so decide to take our motorbike up.

Its a beautiful day for a ride.

As we approach Whanganui the amount of motorbikes on the road increases. Everyone has had the same idea as us. We find a park (much easier on a motorbike), pick up a program and head in. Fumes, noise, engines revving seeking attention from the spectators. There is a buzz in the air, excitement for the days racing ahead.

Today we have tickets to the VIP section. Seating, shade, catering and a big screen so you don’t miss anything. What else could you ask for. Oh, and they even supply earplugs. Trust me, you want to have earplugs! You get so close to the track with street racing that the noise is quite intense.

We stay in the VIP section only long enough to say hi to a couple of people, grabs some drinks (and several chocolate brownies) and then we head out.

Daniel’s favourite spot to watch the race is the inside of turn 1 so this is where we go. It’s a difficult corner (sharp turn) and also exciting as it’s right after the start and the riders are still all bunched together. Often the winning riders will pull victory wheelies down this stretch of road too.

We may have left the comfort of our VIP stand, but we are where the action is and fortunately there are trees here to provide some shade. It’s a hot day. We spend most of our time here at turn 1, only popping back to the VIP section when we want food or drinks.

Speed. Adrenaline. The odd crash (These often happen at turn 1, I think that’s why Daniel likes that spot) A distant buzz gets louder and louder as the bikes approach the corner. You feel the rumble through the ground. The crowds heads all turned left, waiting, watching. Who will be in the lead? The motorcycles whip around the corner, and in synchronised fashion, all heads turn right following them.


They are gone. Blink and your will miss it. Wait a few minutes, then repeat.

And so the day goes on like this. Its a fun family event and a great day out. I have learnt to enjoy motorbikes and watching motorbike racing. There is something quite thrilling about it and Daniel is so enthusiastic and passionate, it’s hard not to like it too.

This is how we spend our Boxing Day. How do you spend yours?

The Details

The event traditionally happens on Boxing Day in Whanganui. Cemetery circuit is made up of 1.5km of closed off roads through the streets of Whanganui. The circuit passes the old town cemetery, which is how the track gets it’s name. This annual event has been happening since 1951 and hosts NZ and international riders.

There are different tiers of tickets, ranging from $25 for general admission to $275 for VIP tickets. For more information, you can check out the website here. Cemetery Circuit

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