Sav­ing the Springs

Auckland City Harbour News - - News - By Scott Mor­gan

THE FU­TURE is looking bright for West­ern Springs Speed­way.

That’s the view of new Springs Pro­mo­tions boss Lewis Daw­son, who took over the role late last year from long-time pro­moter Dave Ste­wart.

Mr Daw­son re­turns to Auck­land af­ter three years in Christchurch, where he ran the Wood­ford Glen Speed­way.

And with a mas­ter’s de­gree in mar­ket­ing, along with years of in­volve­ment in the sport, he wants to cre­ate an en­ter­tain­ment pack­age for the fans.

“It’s such an iconic venue. Every­one south of the Bom­bays looks at it in awe. It’s re­ally the na­tional speed­way.”

As the clerk of the course on race nights he has had to get used to mak­ing sure strict noise and time lim­its im­posed by the Auck­land City Coun­cil are met.

Com­plaints about noise from lo­cal res­i­dents al­most forced the venue to shut down sev­eral years ago.

“It’s quite com­plex jug­gling to make sure the show runs on time to fin­ish by 10.30pm and jug­gling the noise,” Mr Daw­son says.

“It’s a fine bal­anc­ing act. We’re in con­stant com­mu­ni­ca­tion with the coun­cil on a reg­u­lar ba­sis.”

And with six years left on their cur­rent con­tract with the coun­cil, which owns West­ern Springs, Mr Daw­son says it gives them some sta­bil­ity when think­ing about the fu­ture.

“It gives us the op­por­tu­nity to im­ple­ment a lot of for­ward think­ing and it’s great for the fans and driv­ers who in­vest their money and time.”

Mr Daw­son says some record-break­ing times have been set on the dirt track this sea­son.

But main­tain­ing that speed can be dif­fi­cult be­cause it’s en­tirely weather de­pen­dent.

“Wa­ter­ing is a pretty im­por­tant part of the track. You’ve got to make sure the wa­ter keeps com­ing up from the clay.”

Springs Pro­mo­tions owner Bill Buck­ley says Mr Daw­son’s mix of in­dus­try ex­pe­ri­ence and love for the sport makes him the per­fect man to take over.

“All I’ve ever wanted for the Springs is to keep it go­ing and Lewis can see how we can do it.”

He says if speed­way in Auck­land is go­ing to sur­vive it has to stay at West­ern Springs.

“Peo­ple won’t drive mil­lions of miles to see it, then drive home again late in the evening. There are 12 to 15 peo­ple con­nected to ev­ery car that races down there.”

Photo: JA­SON OX­EN­HAM

Fresh start: New Springs Pro­mo­tions boss Lewis Daw­son is con­fi­dent about the fu­ture of speed­way at West­ern Springs.

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