John is a senior reporter at the Bay of Plenty Times

A poor turnout puts future rallycross events in doubt says promoter

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Phil Campbell and Venita Fabbro.Photo / George Novak
Phil Campbell and Venita Fabbro.Photo / George Novak

A poor turnout of spectators at New Zealand's first arena international rallycross event at Baypark has the promoter wondering if he will run it again in Tauranga.

"If I can't make the first one work, there won't be a next time," Ron Dixon, father of IndyCar champion Scott Dixon, told the Bay of Plenty Times.

He said he chose Tauranga for the inaugural event because there was too much politics in Auckland and Baypark was the best motorsport stadium in the country.

But having attracted only about 3000 spectators to the two-day Tengtools NZ International Rallycross he is thinking again. "To be honest, I thought it would be double that."

A big question mark now hung over whether he would stage another event in Tauranga. "If I break even, I will do another one," Mr Dixon pledged.

He said the spectators he spoke to had enjoyed the racing and the drivers, whom he called the performers in his circus, had responded well. But having spent $140,000 to stage the event, including $45,000 on marketing, he needed to cover his costs for another rallycross to happen in Tauranga. Mr Dixon said he stayed off the clay of the speedway track as much as he could and changed the track from Saturday's practice day and start of the heats. "We knew it was not going to stand up after the practice."

He said that if there was a next time, he would make it a one-day event and start early to get the practice over with quickly and into the heats.

The important thing about rallycross was the timing so that it was just before or just after the rally season.

The two Australian drivers told Mr Dixon that they were impressed with Baypark, saying it was much better than what they got at home.

- Bay of Plenty Times

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