Pressure is mounting on Auckland Mayor Phil Goff to resolve the future of speedway only five days before the motorsport is booted out of Western Springs, its home of 90 years.

Speedway's lease at Western Springs finishes at the end of this season, with the last meet scheduled for Saturday. It's uncertain where they will race next year.

Goff has taken the unusual step of posting a video on his Facebook page to address the growing furore, saying the issue has become heated and a solution needs to be found "that serves speedway best for the future".

Auckland Mayor Phil Goff is under pressure to resolve the speedway issue. 31 October 2018 New Zealand Herald Photograph by Greg Bowker.
Auckland Mayor Phil Goff is under pressure to resolve the speedway issue. 31 October 2018 New Zealand Herald Photograph by Greg Bowker.

This is at odds with the council's regional facilities body, which has made it clear it will not be extending speedway's lease past March.

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An online petition to keep speedway at Western Springs indefinitely or until a suitable replacement is developed has attracted nearly 30,000 signatures.

Goff said in the video he voted last year for speedway to move to Colin Dale Park with the backing of speedway promoter Bill Buckley, but not every councillor saw it that way and it was unable to progress.

"We were prepared to put $19 million on the table to help facilitate the redevelopment of speedway at Colin Dale.

"I think we can still get there. What we have to do is work together on this and make sure we get a good result for speedway ... it might take a bit of time but let's take the time and get it right," Goff said.

Goff is understood to be working on a couple of solutions, but does not wish to comment at this stage.

The feedback on the video and social media has been overwhelmingly opposed to closing down speedway at Western Springs, and strongly against plans by Regional Facilities Auckland to build a $91m cricket oval in its place.



Andrew Barnes, the RFA chairman, has said speedway's predicament is of their own making.

Barnes said it is not the responsibility of Regional Facilities Auckland to plan for the long-term future of a commercial enterprise.

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Bill Buckley has invested millions of dollars promoting Speedway at Western Springs. 1 March 2019 New Zealand Herald Photograph by Doug Sherring
Bill Buckley has invested millions of dollars promoting Speedway at Western Springs. 1 March 2019 New Zealand Herald Photograph by Doug Sherring

"The question you should be asking Mr Buckley is what steps did he take to secure a long-term venue? They are blaming everyone else but this is Mr Buckley's business. Why has it taken him until 2019, at five minutes to midnight, to try and work out a long-term strategy?"

Barnes said 60,000 people attended speedway last season, the equivalent broadly of one-and-a-half rugby matches, or about 5000 people per event.

Buckley refuted most of Barnes' assertions, saying the total annual crowds were closer to 120,000.

"They are not kicking us out of here," said Buckley. "We need to stay at Springs until a long-term solution is found. RFA walk around in black suits and tell everyone what to do. I've had enough of them and I reckon the city is behind me."