Speedway Grand Prix com­ing to NZ

Matamata Chronicle - - Motoring - By DAVE WAKE­FIELD

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.

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