• April 13, 2018
Western Springs Speedway will possibly be facing its biggest move in almost 90 years. Photo: Imogen Wells
Western Springs Speedway is being threatened with a multi-million dollar move, which may spell its end according to a promoter.
Regional Facilities Auckland plans to move the race course to Onehunga in order to take over the venue’s concert rights.
Speedway Promoter Greg Mosen, says the move to Waikaraka Park is not as simple as some may think due to parking restrictions, lighting restrictions and safety requirements.
Speedway has always been open to discussions about moving, says Mr Mosen, however he was not aware they were going to have to fund majority of the move themselves.
“[It’s going to cost] 26 million dollars. And the RFA aren’t going to put that amount up. They want us to pay the rest.
“How are we going to fund millions of dollars… If the move goes ahead, it’ll be the end of Speedway,” says Mr Mosen.
Mr Mosen says the RFA have been trying to relocate Speedway for a long time but have been unsuccessful in their attempts.
RFA’s director of venue development strategy, Paul Nisbet, told Stuff.co.nz they believe bringing the two speedway facilities together would better serve the sport and the interests of ratepayers.
Waikaraka Park’s track manager, Bruce Robertson says having the two speedways merged would mean the fans get a greater experience.
“It would mean very little change for Western Springs but a major change for Waikaraka fans who currently have sub standard public facilities… like no permanent toilets.
“A redevelopment would mean much improved facilities”.
Mr Robertson supports the RFA’s proposal of a new, purpose-built speedway facility but says he understands Western Springs’ hesitation to leave a venue where they have a 90-year history.
After a freak accident left a photographer with critical injuries at Western Springs, Mr. Robertson says that the merger will mean a new safety wall will be put in place, making the track safer for drivers and viewers.
It’s expected the final decision on the move will be made in May later this year.
RFA did not provide comment to Te Waha Nui on the matter and cost of the move to Western Springs.