No prom­ises to Man­feild for Grand Prix

Feilding-Rangitikei Herald - - YOUR LO­CAL NEWS - SHAUN EADE

‘‘We are miles ahead of where we have been. ’’ Ge­off Short

Free tick­ets for ratepay­ers helped boost crowd num­bers at the New Zealand Grand Prix, but it wasn’t enough to lock in the event’s re­turn to Man­feild next year.

The an­nual mo­tor­sport event, said to be the jewel in the New Zealand Mo­tor­sport crown, re­turned to Feild­ing over the week­end with the ex­pec­ta­tion of bumper crowds.

Pro­mot­ers Speed­works went all out by of­fer­ing free tick­ets to 45,000 ratepay­ers in Palmer­ston North and Man­awatu¯ District.

About 5000 of the free tick­ets were re­deemed, but pro­moter Ge­off Short could not con­firm how many were ac­tu­ally used on the week­end.

A wet Sun­day af­ter­noon may have played a role in at­ten­dance num­bers, which were only a mod­est im­prove­ment on pre­vi­ous years.

Al­though the main grass em­bank­ment looked packed, its pop­u­lar­ity was likely bol­stered by the grand­stand to the left of pit lane be­ing re­placed by ad­di­tional pit garages.

Short said it was much bet­ter than what he has seen in the past.

‘‘We are miles ahead of where we have been, there is no doubt about that. It has got the po­ten­tial to only but grow.’’

How­ever, he was not will­ing to con­firm the NZGP would be back at Man­feild next year, de­spite pre­vi­ous re­ports from New Zealand Mo­tor­sport sug­gest­ing the event would be hosted by the Feild­ing track un­til at least 2020.

‘‘The ini­tial deal that I know about, that we have agreed to, was one year based on the fund­ing and sup­port and ev­ery­thing else. Now, it is just an as­sess­ment on how well the event went, how the com­mu­nity sup­ported the event.

‘‘The po­ten­tial is there for it to be here for the next cou­ple of years, but it is no guar­an­tee.’’

He was pleased with the sup­port it had re­ceived from the lo­cal coun­cils, he said.

Short said as of Satur­day night, they had sold 8500 tick­ets, a fig­ure that in­cluded free ratepayer tick­ets, com­peti­tor tick­ets and gen­eral ticket sales.

Man­feild chief ex­ec­u­tive Julie Keane was pleased with the crowd num­bers, even when the rain started about mid­day on Sun­day.

She be­lieved the ratepayer tick­ets had been a suc­cess.

‘‘I saw a few peo­ple I know who had never been to a mo­tor­sport event.’’

Man­feild no longer help run the event.


About 8500 tick­ets to the Grand Prix were sold, in­clud­ing about 5000 free ratepayer tick­ets.

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