Confirmed: Western Springs Speedway gets one-year stay of execution
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Speedway racing at Western Springs has been given a reprieve with Regional Facilities Auckland confirming the sport will get a one-year extension to its agreement to race at the iconic stadium.
Last week it appeared speedway would be shown the door from the venue, which is likely to be developed into a test cricket venue.
With no other suitable venue available, it left huge questions over the immediate future of classes of cars hosted by Western Springs. The last night of the 2018/19 season will be held at Western Springs on Saturday night.
Regional Facilities Auckland (RFA) chairman Andrew Barnes said he was delighted to confirm officials have reached an agreement with Springs Promotions Limited (SPL) promoter Bill Buckley to extend Speedway's lease at Western Springs for 12 months.
"We have come to an agreement with Mr Buckley that buys some time for Auckland Council to organise a permanent home for Speedway," Barnes said.
"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."
The agreement is aligned with an earlier, expired memorandum of understanding which had allowed SPL to continue its events at Western Springs until the end of the 2019-2020 season, while efforts were made to secure a suitable alternative venue for the speedway classes operating at Western Springs.
Barnes said RFA considered it reasonable to renew the offer of a one-year extension while the other deliberations around an alternative venue continued.
Buckley said: "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.
"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."
Barnes said the RFA would work "collaboratively" with Auckland Council, something he said they had done with 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."
- NZ Herald