Trees go as tracks shape up for racing

By Amy McGillivray

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Work has started to clear 11ha of forest that will be home to two new race tracks and a drag strip at TECT All Terrain Park.

Western Bay of Plenty District Council reserves and facilities manager Peter Watson said the area was part of the 360ha area leased by Te Matai Motorsport between Whataroa Rd in the North and Te Matai Rd in the south.

Te Matai Motorsport chairman David Loughlin said the 1.2km unsealed track would cost $70,000 to $100,000 to build.

The trees were to be cleared by the end of September and construction was due to begin in summer, he said.

Autocross was a timed event where only one car raced at a time making it more affordable because crashes were less common.

"The long-term plan is for it to be a rallycross track but that's a much bigger project," Mr Loughlin said. "Autocross is really one of the entry-level types of motorsports. It's inexpensive to participate."

Rallycross usually had five or six cars racing at once and had a mix of sealed and unsealed surfaces.

Motorsport Bay of Plenty and the Rotorua Car Club would pay for the track. There were no other autocross or rallycross tracks in the area so it would be used for organised events, training and driver training, he said.

Te Matai Motorsport deputy chairman Neil Rogers said plans had not yet been drawn up because he was waiting for the area to be cleared.

"We've been looking at European tracks but until the trees are cleared from the site we can't really tell the lay of the land and we need to make the track to suit the lay of the land," he said.

Bay of Plenty Speedway Association president Bernie Gillon said there were also plans for a practice track for members in the same area.

"We want to put in a practice track of similar size to what is at Baypark," he said.

"It will be a reasonably basic track but it will have all the safety features.

"That part of it will definitely be a motorsport park."

Members could not practise at Baypark because of noise restrictions and the only other practice track was in the Thames Valley.

Mr Gillon said it was not yet clear how much the track would cost to build but he hoped much of it could be done by volunteer members.

He expected a platform to be established before Christmas but said it would not be able to be used until this time next year because the dirt would need time to settle.

- Bay of Plenty Times

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