Friday, Mar 15 10:35am
AUTHOR: Simon Chapman

Confirmed: Western Springs Speedway gets one more year

Racing will continue at Western Springs Speedway next season following a lease extension by Regional Facilities Auckland.


Bill Buckley of Springs Promotions Limited, Auckland Council and Council Controlled Organisation Regional Facilities Auckland met on Wednesday to discuss the lease.


Today all parties confirmed that racing at speedway will continue into the 2019–’20 season.


Buckley said he was pleased at the outcome, though a long-term arrangement needs to be found to avoid the ongoing issues.


“Speedway’s view is that the proposed alternative venue of Colin Dale Park would be suitable, but we cannot move from Western Springs until it is ready, and Council has not yet approved the necessary funding to upgrade it,” promoter Bill Buckley said.


“Speedway has a lot of very passionate supporters and we were never going to be thrown out of our home without an alternative in place.


“We appreciate RFA’s collaborative approach in finding a short-term solution, but the problem remains and only Council can solve it. RFA and I have agreed that unless Council fixes this we will all find ourselves back dealing with this in a year’s time.”


Regional Facilities Auckland Chairman Andrew Barnes confirmed the decision to keep racing at the Speedway while work begins towards building Colin Dale Park.


“We have come to an agreement with Mr Buckley that buys some time for Auckland Council to organise a permanent home for Speedway,” he sad.


“We have succeeded in resolving the matter for now so Speedway can continue uninterrupted in the short term, but some critical and urgent decisions have to be made by Auckland Council so we do not find ourselves in this situation ever again.


“RFA will work collaboratively with Council, as we have with Mr Buckley, but it is Council’s responsibility to take the lead and find a permanent home which meets the needs of

Speedway fans and is appropriate for Auckland’s ratepayers. Speedway is part of the city’s sporting culture and it is not acceptable for it to have nowhere to go.”


This weekend’s season finale was set to be the final race to be held at Western Springs Speedway. A demolition derby was slated to be held at the venue, but that has since been moved to Huntly Speedway.


Auckland Mayor Phill Goff said expressed his desire to give Speedway another year at the facility, but long-term needed to move.


“I emphasise this is my personal view, I don't see why they couldn't stay at Western Springs for a year,” he said in the statement. “If it's longer than that we probably need to find somewhere else.”


Support to keep Speedway at Western Springs has grown since it was announced that the lease would not be renewed, though pressure on the Auckland Council has grown as the final days of the lease approached.


Some members within Auckland Council have since come out in support of Buckley and the Speedway community to keep racing at the venue until a viable solution is found.


Is has been previously slated that Springs Promotions Limited would move their operations to a facility in Colin Dale Park that has yet to be built. Much of the recent controversy surrounds Regional Facilities Auckland ending the lease before a replacement facility was built.


The signing of a new lease is step one towards a future resolution, however, Auckland Council will need to decide whether they will fund a new facility at Colin Dale Park and how much of the bill they’ll foot.


It is anticipated a new facility will take two to three years to build, which could still leave Speedway without anywhere to go at the end of next season unless another lease extension is given.