Race track is on track
With the start of a new season just around the corner, track preparation is a Rangeview Speedway Club priority.
After a two-year break Rangeview life member Ivan Gill is back as track manager with his helpers Andrew Belcham and Robert Hancock to prepare the track for the 2011/12 season.
Gill’s job has been made easier with a replacement tractor for the old David Brown 990 which finally yelled ‘‘enough’’ after a hard life keeping the track surface in good order most of the time.
There has already been a number of working bees by speedway members. The wall along the spectator straight has been dug out and work on the new wall started.
It has effectively widened the straight by about a metre.
The earth and fill from the old wall is being laid behind a new retaining wall around the pit corner.
It will eventually give the ministock competitors, who view the racing from that point, an even surface to stand on instead of having to cling to the safety fence to retain their balance on the present slope.
The work on this retaining wall and the levelling of the slope may well show the club’s thinking on the issue of lengthening the track as this is the wall that would have had to have been knocked out to make lengthening possible. It would seem pointless doing this work if a longer track was envisaged.
‘‘It’s not a bad thing keeping the track at this length,’’ said Gill.
‘‘Visiting stockcar drivers like the track the way it is. It’s also a sentiment echoed by a majority of club members over the past years.’’
It looks like the Circle Track Racing Association of New Zealand’s smallest track will stay that way for the foreseeable future. Another job the track crew are working on is the landscaping at the end of the spectator banking where the old dump has been filled in and a new fence erected to separate the public and pit areas.
‘‘This is still a working farm and we have to balance the needs of the land owner and landscaping for people’s appreciation and safety,’’ said Gill.
‘‘Sometimes that can be tricky but our landlord is always very receptive to our suggestions.
‘‘We do what we can to help him and it’s always reciprocated.’’
The co-operation between the land owner and the speedway club can be seen with the increase in amenities over the last few years.
The storage barn has been shifted closer to the track, new public toilets brought on to the site and upgrades to the lap scorers, referees and pit boxes all completed.
‘‘Some decent drying weather to complete the track wouldn’t go astray,’’ said Gill as he got back on the tractor to move more dirt in preparation for the start of a longawaited racing season.
Visiting Rotorua stock cars: They love the track as it gives them a chance to let crew and friends have a drive.