Most weekends during the racing season, Paradise Valley Speedway is pumping and the club has received national recognition for the hard work that goes into running events.

The Rotorua-based speedway was named Speedway of the Year - Club Promoted at the Speedway New Zealand Awards last month. They also won Event Poster of the Year for their season calendar, designed by Sandy Thompson, of Advocate Print.

Lance Ashton, who lived in Hamilton but had been a member of the Rotorua club since 2012, won Sportsman of the Year.

Club secretary Sonja Hickey was rightfully delighted with the Speedway of the Year award.


"We've won it a few times, but it's always a good one to get and we had a particularly good year, so it was quite nice to cap it off with the ultimate trophy.

"There were quite a few highlights. No 1 was the weather giving us a bit of a break, whereas last year it gave us a real hammering. We changed our marketing strategy a bit and used Facebook more which seemed to work well with getting word out about meetings. It was just a good vibe throughout the year, it went really well," Hickey said.

She said, in general, all of the club's meetings were "very well attended".

"We had 18 meetings this season. Most clubs run between 15-20 so we're sort of mid-pack. The biggest is the World Invitation Superstock Championships in January, we usually have about 8000 people there on that night.

"We're well supported by the drivers from other tracks as well. A lot of the drivers like coming to Rotorua because it's always well-run and everything ticks along nicely. We appreciate them too, we're no show without them being there to put on a show."

Hickey paid tribute to the volunteers, drivers and community organisations who helped make every event possible.

"On an ordinary race night we have a minimum of 81 volunteers to run a meeting. It's a big undertaking for all those people. We support a lot of local organisations as well - the Rotorua East Lions man the gates along with the Madison Blues Marching teams and Central Rugby League clean the toilets and the terraces.

Paradise Valley Speedway won Poster of the Year for their season calendar at the Speedway New Zealand Awards. Photo / Supplied
Paradise Valley Speedway won Poster of the Year for their season calendar at the Speedway New Zealand Awards. Photo / Supplied

"We have a lot of our own local volunteers doing all the administrative work on race night, it takes a bit of putting together and a lot of good people, we're really lucky. This award is for them, they're the ones that make the show happen," she said.

The future of Paradise Valley Speedway looked strong with good junior numbers coming through in the Youth Ministocks for 12-17 year olds.

"On average we have 43-45 racing in that every year and they race 15-16 meetings each year. On a Saturday night mum and dad are down there in the pits, it's good family stuff and a lot of the kids go on to race in the adult classes. They are the future of the sport."

She said there was always strong competition for Event Poster of the Year.

"It's something we've entered every year and never got close because there's some pretty awesome looking posters out there. Sandy Thompson does the majority of our graphic work and she's just great. She's so good to work with and she has done so much for so many people in Rotorua for years and years with her graphic design and had probably never really received the recognition she deserves," Hickey said.