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Protests threatened as thousands sign petition to keep speedway at Auckland's Western Springs

A petition to Auckland Mayor Phil Goff asking Auckland Council to keep speedway events at Western Springs is growing quickly, reaching 6500 signatures as of 10.30am.

The petition comes after a decision by the council's Regional Facilities Auckland (RFA) agency not to renew Springs Promotion's lease to run speedway events, with the final meeting set to be March 16.

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The motorsport will move to a new home near the airport. Source: 1 NEWS

RFA wants to end Speedway events at Western Springs, instead using the park for cricket and the occasional AFL match, but Bill Buckley, Director of Springs Promotions, says that will erase 90 years of speedway history.

Mr Buckley yesterday wrote an open letter to Mr Goff, saying he had understood that an extension on the lease would remain in place until a new speedway-specific facility was developed at Colin Dale Park in Wiri.

Mr Buckley said the RFA has left speedway without a home.

"We are now demanding to remain at Western Springs until a permanent solution can be found," Mr Buckley wrote.

"Phil, you need to front up to this and take control of the RFA who have little or no regard for any of the 90-year history this sport and venue provides.

"We have a very serious situation on our hands now as it appears you have allowed the RFA to throw the sport out of its home with no alternative in place.

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Auckland’s Western Springs Speedway is facing an uncertain future after ongoing noise complaints. Source: Seven Sharp

"I am aware that these people are planning both public meetings and protests if this situation isn’t diffused and resolved quickly."

In the change.org petition, Robert Jordan said that having speedway events take place at Western Springs is "not only important to the drivers, fans and club members, but it is an important part of our sport throughout the world."

Petition signatories also added their voices to the debate, with one asking "why should Speedway suffer just because the new venue the council promised is not ready?"

"I started going here when I was 6 years old," another wrote. "I would hate if it closed down because of the incompetency of the Auckland Council."

A spokesperson for the Mayor's office said Mr Goff would not be making a statement in response to the letter.

An Auckland Council spokesperson said "the next steps around speedway will be considered by Auckland Council’s Finance and Performance Committee in April.

"At the Finance and Performance meeting in November, councillors discussed that they would only be willing to proceed with the plans to move speedway to Colin Dale Park if there was complete transparency.

"This included the provision of an Expressions of Interest process to ensure all promoters were given the opportunity to run speedway events in Auckland.

"Proceeding with this Expressions of Interest process will be discussed by councillors at the meeting in April.

"Until the results of that meeting, we can't comment further."

Jonathan Allard wheel stands during the NZ Sprintcar title race. Western Springs Speedway, New Zealand Sprintcar Championship, Auckland, New Zealand on the 20th January 2018. Copyright Photo: Jeremy Ward / www.photosport.nz
The deal ends speedway's 90-year association with Western Springs. Source: Photosport


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