11 months ago

Selwyn Times: October 18, 2016


18 Tuesday October 18 2016 SELWYN TIMES ellesmere speedway SunDAY 23 rd october rain date 24 th october opening meeting gates open at 12pm for a 1pm start featuring... sprintcars | v8 modifieds | midgets tq’s | moto x | six cylinder sprints six shooters | production saloons modified sprints | 1/4 midgets Under 15yrs free $15 per adult gold card holders $10

SELWYN TIMES Tuesday October 18 2016 19 grand opening ellesmere speedway The Speedway season fires into action all around the country at this time of the year but at Ellesmere Speedway it will be an extra special occasion at their grand opening on 23rd October 2016 as they showcase the newest motorsport facility in New Zealand. Ellesmere Speedway embarked on a major upgrade project on 7th June 2015, which initially was intended for the off season, only to be extended for a full year to complete the work. The decision was not taken lightly but is the correct one given the scale being undertaken. Many eyes were watching this ambitious project as this small club forged ahead with positivity in securing this race facility in the Selwyn District for the future. By future proofing the venue like we have been we will ensure that it will be a great community asset for many years to come. This will become one of Selwyn’s premier sporting venues. Affectionately called the “Paddock Racers” as through my younger days I followed them around from farm to farm as the search continued for a small piece of land for the ‘Good Old Boys’ of “Hazzard County” to stay off the streets and have some fun. History is documented where those terms came about when in 1981 the Ellesmere club moved to its current permanent site. Over the years there has been many improvements made to the facility but only the original construction of the track could compare to this upgrade, which has many of the original crew from when the first track was built. There has been many a great day had at Ellesmere with some meetings being the first in the country, (caravan derby) and others outshining the performances of some well-established tracks (Pacific Sprint Car/Modified series). They have always been great supporters of both the Ruapuna (formerly Templeton Speedway) and Woodford Glen and many great names from around the country have raced on the track. While it had always been envisaged that one day Ellesmere may have a concrete wall replacing the catch ditch, President Rob Roxburgh admitted that being donated some of the concrete sections and able to purchase the original shutters from the defunct Timaru Speedway, really gave this project a major kick start both financially but it also gave us the motivation to start this project, which had been a dream for many years. Ellesmere had a good relationship with the Timaru club back in the South Island Federation days and actually ran a fund raising meeting for them when they lost their track in a severe flood of the area decades ago, so they could rebuild. They struggled with costly consent issues for years trying to find a site that suited everyone, before giving it all away. A feature fans all around the country need to appreciate. Holding on to a racing facility may well be easier than finding a new site like the one Ellesmere had the good fortune to secure back in 1981 on Domain Board Reserve Land. It’s a costly venture but the club had been very frugal in accumulating some funds as well as obtaining grants from Pub Charities, New Zealand Community Trust (NZCT) and the Ellesmere reserves board, to help out. Many local businesses have supported this project and the phenomenal support from a small, hard core group of members who have been very loyal with their support and dedication by volunteering 99% of the labour which was hundreds of hours of time that was required to complete the new stadium A massive thanks are owed to the small team of volunteers. Initially work was planned over the weekends but this was going to take too long and was subject to some weather conditions. Some of the team were on hand full time doing up to three concrete pours per week this progressed to many digger hours to install the embankment area among other tasks. They have worked tirelessly to have the track opened for business on 23rd October 2016. Ambitious, possibly crazy, but no shortcuts are being made, everything has been completed to the highest standard and looks amazing. The track graded was back, fence pulled down, catch ditch filled, outer perimeter levelled, concrete wall constructed, new safety catchment fence and gates, race lights and raised car park embankment have been built around the complete track the upgrade wouldn’t be complete without the track being resurfaced and re profiled, as well as new control tower facility. Extra moulds were made and used as the concrete sections were placed around the track, tied in and other panels poured in place. Railway irons have been driven in the ground with PVC pipe tied next to them in 200 litre drums filled with concrete to support the new safety fence poles. These drums and concrete fence have been tied back down to old concrete power poles before they are covered with embankment material. The progress has been identified by stages with many photos and many people from all over New Zealand have followed our journey and construction process on the clubs Facebook page and web site as well as the few shown here. Ellesmere is a member of the CTRA (Circle Racing Track Association) race group which suits the clubs venue and community values. Affordable but with the all-important safety features for competitors and spectators alike. It’s a friendly place and Ellesmere relies on the support of some of the SNZ classes as well as some bike ATV and MX competitors throughout its season. Speedway heritage that comes the Selwyn area and we are thrilled to be writing the next few chapters of that history.” It is a brand new facility with the latest in safety regulations which exceed Speedway New Zealand requirements, safety has become a very important factor in our sport and with the implementation upgrade not only will we have the newest Speedway track but we will be one of the safest tracks around New Zealand. Variety is something Ellesmere will continue to offer with invited classes supporting its regular car/ bike events. Promoted events for the 2016/17 season will cater for ‘premier’ classes like Sprintcars, V8 Modifieds, Super Saloons and Midgets, already securing two New Zealand Titles and a round of the Southern Midget Series, but we won’t be forgetting the classes that have been the backbone of Ellesmere Speedways programme for the over past thirty years. Of course the track will be available for private and corporate hire as well as training which will continue to see the facility well used. Roll on 23rd October 2016, (rain date 24th October). Classes conformed for the opening meeting include: Sprintcars, V8 Modifieds, Midgets, ¼ Midgets, Moto X, TQ’s, Production Saloons, Six Cylinder Sprints and Six Shooters, as well as Modified Sprints. You can follow the club on Facebook or on their webpage to stay up to date with what is happening.