Bernard Orsman is Super City reporter for the NZ Herald.

Speedway eager to stay at Western Springs

There are plans to move Speedway from Western Springs after 2019. Photo / Richard Robinson
There are plans to move Speedway from Western Springs after 2019. Photo / Richard Robinson

The promoter of Speedway is unhappy at plans to move the sport from Western Springs to Colin Dale Park in South Auckland after 2019.

Promoter Greg Mosen said the sport faces an uncertain future after completing another successful season at Western Springs, where it has been based since 1929.

The council's regional facilities arm last month announced the Warriors would be staying at Mt Smart Stadium until at least 2028 and signalled Speedway would stay at Western Springs until early 2019 while work progressed on an alternative speedway location.

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Regional Facilities Auckland (RFA) boss Chris Brooks told the Herald that after 2019 Speedway would move to Colin Dale Park or an undisclosed site in the north.

Mr Brooks believed RFA could work with Speedway to address any concerns about Colin Dale Park and develop and build the sport into the future.

Moving Speedway is one of the pieces to salvaging the city's troubled stadium strategy, which also includes a long-term proposal for a new football stadium in downtown Auckland.

Mr Mosen today said the RFA kept changing its mind every five minutes.

"Twelves months ago we thought we would be shifting to Mt Smart Stadium, " Mr Mosen said.

He said under the revised plan to build a boutique cricket ground at Western Springs "Speedway will be left out in the cold".

"Our first priority is to stay at the springs. We are happy and we are complying with the Environment Court's restrictions."

Speedway, concerts, Pasifika, the Ponsonby Rugby Club, kids cricket and the neighbours were all getting on well at Western Springs, Mr Mosen said.

He said the 120 teams competing at Western Springs contribute about $1.5 million to the Auckland economy and the sport pays out about $400,000 a year in prize money.

The 12 meetings each summer attract more than 100,000 spectators with growing numbers each season.

Colin Dale Park at Puhinui would create just as many if not more restrictions than Western Springs, Mr Mosen said.

Four times Bathurst winner Greg Murphy said he supported the sport staying at Western Springs, saying it was a brilliant Saturday night venue for people.

"Western Springs has a terrific history and legacy. It doesn't seem fair or right that people don't care about that," he said.

- NZ Herald

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