Speedway Grand Prix coming to NZ
If you are a bike fan or even just a lover of speedway in general, some excellent news broke on the seventh of this month.
The opening round of the International Federation of Motorcycling ( FIM) Speedway Grand Prix is to be run on March 31, 2012 at Western Springs, Auckland.
Bill Buckley of Springs Promotions and BSI Speedway (formerly Benfield Sports International) will jointly promote the event which has been in the pipeline since 2003.
Originally it was intended to run the event at the Wellington Cake Tin and more recently at Baypark Speedway but neither facility proved acceptable.
Ex-world champion solo rider Ole Olsen, who is no stranger to New Zealand, has been given the job of ripping out the clay track used by the midget and sprint cars.
He will re-lay it with shale, which is the usual surface used by the bikes.
Current world champion, American Greg Hancock, along with Pole Tomasz Gollob and Australian Jason Crump, will all compete in this opening round giving New Zealanders a chance to watch the best of the best competing against each other.
This is a sight not seen in this country since Ivan Mauger, Barry Briggs and Ronnie Moore amassed 12 world championships between them.
Speedway solo riding has not been as popular in this country since that time and possibly as a consequence we haven’t produced the quality of riders such as that illustrious trio.
The emphasis on bike competition has passed on to the motorcross sector and away from speedway.
Hopefully this brief visit will rekindle the fervour speedway solos once held over the race-going public when there was no room to sit at Western Springs. It was a time when Bryce Subritsky and Bob Andrews raced wheel to wheel and this event promises so much better racing than that. For most of us it will probably be a once in a lifetime chance to witness such an event.
In the meantime and closer to home, fans can foster the mood of solo racing with Kihikihi Speedway hosting solos on their purpose-built infield bike track on November 12 and 27 and December 17.