Race track is on track

Matamata Chronicle - - News - By DAVE WAKE­FIELD

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.

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