Tomorrow's second round of the New Zealand Jetsprint Championships at Baypark is proving to be quite the drawcard.

Tickets are going like hotcakes, with almost 7000 sold by yesterday afternoon.

The punters are not the only ones coming out of the woodwork. Group A world champion Reg Smith is returning from retirement in a bid to prepare himself for the upcoming defence of his world title in America this year.

Smith, who splits his time between Taupo and Whitianga, and who boasts two national titles in 25 years of racing, is coming back to claim what some believe to be rightfully his.


"I didn't race last year, and the title was taken over by Richard Murray," Smith said.

"I ran the two years before and we won both years and then retired after winning the world title that year.

"We chucked it in but vowed that we would go to the worlds to defend the title.

"That's the only reason I'm here. Aside from the fact that this is a spectacular venue with seating all the way around.

"I wanted to be part of that and give myself some wheel time before I head away to the worlds," he said.

Smith, a former president of the national body, was consulting on the layout yesterday and could not have been more pleased with the work of the organisers.

"For New Zealand this is absolutely unique. There was something similar in Washington back in about 2000 ... but it wasn't in a proper amphitheatre stadium as such. It was more of a horse racing track.

"They've done amazingly well to whack this out in eight days."


He said he believed the course to be a tight, driver's track and was looking forward to seeing how far away he was from reclaiming his vaunted speed.

"It's been a while since I've been in the boat.

"We haven't even done any testing, so I'll be able to answer that question later this afternoon.

"To be able to pull this off and spend this sort of money ... it's good for the sport and for the people that commit to it, so I hope they do well out of it."

Baypark CEO Ervine McSweeney said anticipation among the staff was beginning to build after months of toil and testing.

"It's all coming together very, very well so we are quietly very excited, to be honest," McSweeney said.

"The big carrot is, if it goes really well and attracts a crowd like it looks like it's going to, is New Zealand is hosting the next world championships in this event.

"We know other venues will be interested but we think we possibly might have stolen a march," he said.

"We try to select events that are good for the city. Bringing people from all over the world would do that. It won't matter if we don't do that, because with all things considered it's going to be a success anyway."

He did not foresee any problems in repairing the carved-up pitch.

"This will all go very quickly ... but it will be all go for speedway next weekend."