Springs Speedway Goes National
29 October 2003
Springs Speedway Goes National
A new National Series will be one of the key features when Springs Speedway roars back into life at Western Springs this Saturday 1 November 2003.
The introduction of the 8-round National Series for Sprint Cars, Midgets and TQ’s is designed to reward consistent driving throughout the season and complements the International season, which includes four rounds in the International Midget World Series and the 50-lap World Midget Championship.
Event organiser David Stewart says racing will be fiercely competitive this season with the return of two of the top Speedway drivers in fast new cars.
Seven-time National Sprint Car champ Kerry Jones is back in a new Mopar-powered car to continue his rivalry with the equally successful Allan Wakeling, while ex-New Zealand No.1 TQ driver Steven Currie steps into a super quick Ed Pink-powered Midget in this now, ultra competitive class.
“Speedway has been an institution at Western Springs since the late 1920’s, but it’s doubtful whether the standard of competition has ever been this high,” Mr Stewart said.
“In all of the classes there are several drivers who could win the overall National Series and that means every race at every meeting will be vitally important.”
Joining Wakeling and Jones as front-runners in the Sprint Cars will be Phil Game and Hamilton’s Tommy Rusher.
Four-times New Zealand Midget Champion Michael Kendall is back and hugely motivated to beat last year’s champion Mike Pickens, but they’ll face stiff competition from Currie, Shayne Alach, Nelson’s Nevil Basalaj and the legendary Graham Standring.
A welcome by-product of that competition is that New Zealand will field a strong line-up when the International Season starts on 1 January 2004.
The Kiwis will take on the best of the USA and Australia in what Stewart believes is the true test of driver skill and ability.
“We don’t go to the United States to race so New Zealand is the place to be to see the best drivers in the world competing on the same track.”
Springs Speedway is also investing in the future by introducing a new class of racing this season.
The F2 class has a Midget body powered by a regular 2 litre car engine. It has been devised and implemented to give new drivers an affordable entry point into the sport.
The Kiwi Kids competition for eight to 15-year-olds, in Quarter Midgets, will also continue this year with the young drivers competing in three races at most of the regular-season meetings.
Off the track Springs Speedway has invested heavily in upgrading facilities for the media and spectators. Of particular interest is the enhancement of the Superscreen, with improved technology allowing for instant replays and slow-motion replays. The action will be captured by six trackside cameras and several driver-cams in the cars themselves.
A new hospitality area has also been built trackside to give corporate guests and VIPs an enhanced entertainment experience.
The Opening Night on 1 November 2003 starts at 7pm and will include a fireworks display.