Change needed for teams champs


A gear change is needed to max­imise the po­ten­tial of the Su­per­stock Teams Cham­pi­onships and what it brings to Palmer­ston North, its pro­moter says.

Bruce Robert­son said about 15,000 spec­ta­tors packed out the Robert­son Holden In­ter­na­tional Speed­way each night this week­end, many from out of town.

The surge of peo­ple com­ing into the CBD to watch the stock­cars get in­spected dur­ing the scru­ti­neer­ing in The Square each af­ter­noon showed the ben­e­fit to busi­nesses of at­tract­ing those crowds with events, he said.

But there was also a con­sid­er­able op­por­tu­nity go­ing un­tapped.

‘‘There were hun­dreds of peo­ple wan­der­ing around not know­ing what to do with them- selves for most of the week­end.

‘‘It’d be great to have some more things on for them to do, but we’ve got our hands full just or­gan­is­ing the cham­pi­onships and the scru­ti­neer­ing.’’

Speed­way hoped to talk with the Palmer­ston North City Coun­cil about set­ting up more events around the city next year, Robert­son said.

The Cen­tral Eco­nomic Devel­op­ment Agency (CEDA) was al­ready look­ing at what else the re­gion could do to make the most of the event.

CEDA Con­ven­tions mar­ket­ing man­ager Phil Hil­dred said the teams champs was recog­nised as one of the largest, reg­u­lar events on the re­gional cal­en­dar.

The agency aimed to have sur­veyed 20-30 per cent of at­ten­dees this week­end about their spend­ing habits and who they were, in an ef­fort to iden­tify how to make the event bet­ter.

Traf­fic around The Square slowed to a crawl as peo­ple looked for parks.

Down­town on Broad­way shop­ping cen­tre man­ager Grey Key said the surge of peo­ple into the CBD was no­tice­able, even on top of the usual long-week­end crowds.

The 42nd Street Eatery food court was packed through­out the week­end, Key said.

‘‘It’s pretty new for us to ac­tu­ally draw in the ex­tra crowds [dur­ing the teams champs], be­cause we’ve been with­out a food court for [past three years].’’

McVerry Craw­ford Motors on Princess St played host to the Gis­borne Gi­ants each morn­ing, be­fore they joined the other teams in The Square for scru­ti­neer­ing.

Gi­ants man­ager Scott Ross said the car yard of­fered a more re­laxed venue so driv­ers could de­vote more at­ten­tion to fans.

‘‘The Square can be pretty hec­tic, with ev­ery­one get­ting of­fi­cially scru­ti­neered and lots of mov­ing ve­hi­cles.’’

Aaron Mur­doch, a for­mer stock­car racer him­self, ap­pre­ci­ated the chance to talk shop with the team.

‘‘It’s good to be able to bring the kids down [to met the Gis­borne team].

‘‘They love hav­ing a look, and get­ting a few T-shirts signed.’’

The en­tire Mur­doch clan, all 20 of them, in­clud­ing eight kids, visit Palmer­ston North from Wai­heke Is­land ev­ery year for the event, he said.

‘‘[Team Champs] are pretty much our Christ­mas hol­i­day.’’


Strat­ford Scrap­pers sup­port­ers make their pres­ence felt.

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