An amalgamation between the Counties Racing Club and Auckland Racing Club could pose a risk for the future of motorsport at Pukekohe Park Raceway.
However, Pukekohe Park circuit management is confident that the merger will not affect the track’s operations.
The plan is for the Counties Racing Club (CRC), which own the Pukekohe circuit’s land, to merge with the Auckland Racing Club (ARC) in August.
A meeting to approve the amalgamation was scheduled to occur this month with conditions to be satisfied on July 16.
If the deal goes through, CRC will transfer all its assets, including the race circuit, to ARC as early as August 1.
CRC will dissolve as a club and the two merged clubs will then be renamed the Auckland Thoroughbred Racing Club Incorporated (ATR).
After the amalgamation date, work will begin developing a new, state of the art horse racing facility at Ellerslie, the current base of the ARC.
Horse racing will continue at Pukekohe until the new Ellerslie facility is built. After which, Pukekohe will be used for thoroughbred training and trials.
ATR will then review the viability and value of continuing motorsport activities at the Pukekohe motor racing circuit after the amalgamation date.
This has led to fears in motor racing fans that a review may determine the Pukekohe circuit is no longer considered a valuable asset, which could mean the end of motorsport at the venue.
For several years, discussions have been rife that the circuit is primed for housing developments.
However, leaseholder for motorsport at Pukekohe Park, Gary Stirling, is confident that the amalgamation will not be the end of motor racing at the South Auckland circuit.
“There is no talk about losing the track,” Stirling told Velocity News.
“I have a good relationship with the board and have been kept well informed about everything.
“We are under review every day. So, nothing is new there.”
Stirling has played an important role in recent developments of the Pukekohe circuit, including the complex along the back straight and resurfacing work.
“A lot of the development of the circuit comes out of my pocket,” he said. “If I didn’t see a future in the track in five years, I wouldn’t be putting my money into it now.”
The circuit has been the traditional home of New Zealand’s leg of the Australian Supercars championship. It first held the series between 2001 and 2007, and then again since 2013.
Before that, Pukekohe was the home of the New Zealand Grand Prix and has witnessed countless famed names in motorsport race there, including Graham Hill and Jim Clark.