When Speed was King

Charles Benseman’s love affair with wheels had an early  traumatic beginning which he traces back to his ride as an infant in a runaway pram – fortunately without serious consequences.  He presented us with a very entertaining  and informative talk on Tuesday night, outlining his triumphs and escapades on the speedway, circuit and rally routes in Nelson and the South Island.

Small beginnings

Charlie wearing his prized racing cap

Not only did he race cars, he also worked as an aircraft engineer for 11 years.  He was a top class athlete, adopting the Lydiard training method of long distance running on a regular basis.  In his early life in the Nelson area he was a Bon Brush salesman.  In the same week that he turned 21 he became engaged and bought his first racing car.  One of his most memorable races was the Rally of New Zealand during which he covered 3,000 miles.

One of the few significant crashes Charlie experienced.

The note says it all. Charlie in his heyday.

Charlie recounted many amusing experiences and showed an ability to laugh at himself.  Perhaps the best example of this was his unfortunate experience at a trophy presentation when

Racing an early Honda

President Wayne Price thanks Charles for his entertaining and informative presentation.

clutching an armful of silver cups, he missed his footing and tumbled down the stairs, collecting the president’s wife in the process.  “The dents in those cups cost me $300.00 to get fixed,” he wryly commented.


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