Events attract thousands to region
Hospitality businesses inundated with customers during what was a bumper weekend with multiple events across the region, had to bring in extra staff to cope with demand.
The 40th South Island Colgate Games at Aorangi Park, the New Zealand Superbike Championship at Levels Raceway, the Tour of Timaru speed skate event, an ocean swim and lily show all combined to make for a bustling three days of business and sporting entertainment.
Event organisers reported three successful days, while those in the hospitality sector reported a particularly busy weekend with some bringing in extra staff to ease pressure.
South Island Colgate Games spokeswoman Anita Sutherland said about 1000 ambitious youngsters aged between 7 and 14 had competed in that event alone. Most of those were accompanied by family members, coaches and supporters.
There were some exceptional performances over the weekend and the majority were happy with the event, Sutherland said.
The cream of New Zealand’s motorcycle road racing talent took to the track at Levels Raceway for round two of the 2018 New Zealand Superbike Championships.
Motorcycling New Zealand general manager Virginia Henderson said more than 170 riders, plus their crews, families and supporters descended on Timaru, filling hotel beds, restaurant tables and bar stools across town.
The event had been a great success, she said, adding a vote of thanks to the South Canterbury Motorcycle Club and volunteers and officials who hosted the racing.
Renowned motorcycle racing commentator Neil Ritchie said he was excited to see racing in Timaru after an absence of two years.
‘‘This is one of the country’s top racing facilities and it’s an honour to have the championship back here at Levels,’’ Ritchie said.
Tour of Timaru speed skate event spokesman Bill Begg said about 70 competitors took part in that event.
‘‘Hundreds of people viewed the event, which attracted competitors from Whanganui to Dunedin, with many having to stay as far away as Geraldine to find accommodation over a busy sporting weekend,’’ Begg said.
The event encompassed racing at numerous locations around Timaru, Begg said.
‘‘After a Friday evening start, Saturday till 2pm was a washout, but with some very tightly scheduled events and hard working officials, along with tired skaters, seven stages were held on Saturday.’’
Hospitality Association South Canterbury accommodation sector chairman and Avenue Motor Lodge owner Mark Offen said the wider hospitality industry had benefited from the events coming to town.
Offen said the numberst had put pressure on some establishments.
He said most motels in Timaru, if not full, would have been near capacity.
His motel was completely booked out for Saturday, with just one unit available on Thursday and Friday.
Offen said bookings were up on the same period last year and extra staff had been brought in to assist with housekeeping duties.
At the Bayhill Brewery Bar, owner Melinda Holding said the weekend had been very busy with numerous visitors from out of town.
Next door at Fusion, owner Lindsay Bennett said it had been a ‘‘brilliant’’ weekend despite rain.
At Coffee Culture, on Stafford St, supervisor Natalie Blanchard said business ramped up on Saturday afternoon with a mixture of families and singles dining.
There were more children in the cafe than a usual Saturday, which she attributed to the Colgate Games.
At the Old Bank, owner Bob Mason said business was up on the same period last year while Bullock Restaurant and Bar manager Ronan Kelly reported a good weekend of business.
At The Oxford, owner Clarissa Doran said having the events had been great for Timaru.
‘‘The whole weekend has been very busy.’’
At the Aspen on King, on King St, manager Karen Wright said the motel had been fully booked over the weekend.
‘‘If we had more rooms we could have filled them.’’
There were 30 rooms with a maximum stay of 80, Wright said.
About 1000 young athletes from across the South Island competed in the Colgate Games in Timaru over the weekend. Pictured are competitors in the combined walking race.
Avalon Biddle, of Orewa, leads on a Kawasaki ZX6R in the Supersport 600 at Levels Raceway.