An agreement signed today will end 90 years of motorsport at Western Springs Speedway.

For many years, promoters, motorsport drivers and their fans have fought to stay at the city-fringe location with the history of the sport in Auckland rising from its dirt tracks.

The first official season of speedway at Western Springs was held in 1938, but today the fight will be lost for many who cling to fond memories and years spent at the grounds.

The new agreement will see the last wheels spun at the track at the end of summer 2019-20, with speedway moving to a new purpose-built home at Colin Dale Motorsport Park in Wiri, east of the airport.

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For 74-year-old Kevin Parkinson the decision is overwhelming.

"It is just a sad, sad time. It really is. It means so much to a hell of a lot of people," he said.

"My memories of Western Springs Speedway go back to my childhood when I was about 10 years old.

"We lived in the Grey Lynn area and used to push our bikes along Newton Gully. We found Western Springs one night and I have never gone away from the place since.

"As a kid I remember putting up the safety fences and filling in holes on the infield," he said.

The new agreement will see the last wheels spun at the track at the end of summer 2019-20. Photo / Brett Phibbs
The new agreement will see the last wheels spun at the track at the end of summer 2019-20. Photo / Brett Phibbs

Parkinson began racing at the grounds at 21, and spent 20 years behind the wheel of a TQ Midget.

"We used to have barbecues after the meetings with our families, so everyone was just one big family – all the competitors and spectators. It was a wonderful time.

"Guys like A J Foyt and names like that have been here and were just overwhelmed by it. It was such an awesome place and we should have never let it go. It is so sad.

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It was such an awesome place and we should have never let it go. It is so sad.

"Progress they call it, but some of us don't see it that way."

Parkinson's daughter Rachael Parkinson-Turner also shared fond memories of growing up watching her father race.

"I spent my whole summers there," she said, "So I kind of understand the early days of the springs and what it means to so many people."

"We made lifelong friends and there are so many memories and history that go along with it that can't be replaced."

Parkinson-Turner said although she understands the reasons for the grounds having to move, it was still a very sad time.

"This is where it all started. It is the home of speedway in Auckland and you certainly wont be able to replicate that elsewhere," she said.

"But there are two more seasons I guess, and we will have to make the most of them."

Sprint cars race in late evening sunshine at Western Springs Speedway in 2010. Photo / Greg Bowker
Sprint cars race in late evening sunshine at Western Springs Speedway in 2010. Photo / Greg Bowker

While roaring engines, hooting crowds and burning rubber are heaven for some, residents of the Auckland suburb have grown sick and tired of the noise and have long protested against it.

Speedway promoters are also heralding the decision to move as being made collectively with the future of speed in mind.

Long-time speedway fan Arron Parkes agrees with the decision, and said it was the best thing that could have happened for the sport.

"I think it is a good thing because the current situation is that the council have completely hamstrung the sport with major time restraints that reduced the meetings to nearly half of what they used to be," he said.

"The cars are also getting faster so the track just doesn't suit the style of cars we are racing there now.

"A better track, a wider track and better sized pits will be a good thing. The sport has outgrown the Springs and the council have crushed what it used to be. Moving it, having less restrictions and more suitable facilities is a great move."

Moving it, having less restrictions and more suitable facilities is a great move.

Parkes has been a spectator for 40 years, crewed for many drivers and also raced his own car for about five years.

"A true fan will be there no matter what. It is about the sport and not about the venue," he said.

"The venue could be anywhere as long as the quality of the sport is good. It is always sad when something comes to an end, but it hasn't really come to an end, it is only going to get better.

"People feel like they are being bullied out of there so they are trying to stand their ground, but if they look at it from a racing perspective, it could be a lot better than it is."

Auckland councillor Ross Clow said it was a fantastic day for speedway fans in Auckland.

"A purpose built speedway facility at Colin Dale Park secures the sport's future in Auckland and increases the number of events speedway can hold in any given year," he said.

Simon Dew from the Western Springs Residents Association also believed the move was a good thing for the community.

"We are jolly glad to see it finally resolved. We think it took well too long but we will now look forward to the sound of leather on willow," he said.

Western Springs is now proposed to become the home for all forms of cricket, with a new oval playing field and new stands.

It would remain a venue for concerts and the home of the Ponsonby Rugby Football Club, and also become a base for Australian Rules Football.

This would allow the return to Auckland of a full schedule of international cricket fixtures.