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What is Speedway?
Speedway is a type of motorsport with around 2,700 full-time competitors and over 2,500 casual competitors and their 8000 odd pit crew making it around 13,200 crew and competitors throughout New Zealand.
Many followers see Speedway as great family entertainment for all age groups whether you are young, old, male or female.
Every week throughout the summer season from Labour weekend until Easter crowds of spectators and the competitors experience the excitement and thrill of speedway. From some 24 registered track venues these speedway competitors travel the country to entertain fans and spectators and share in the exhilaration that is Speedway.
New Zealand Speedway has steadily grown for over 70 years from small beginnings throughout the country, to become successful entertainment in the major centres. The first Speedway meeting for motorbikes was conducted at English Park, Christchurch in 1928. Kilbirnie provided a Wellington venue in 1929 and Western Springs was first used for motorcycle Speedway in Auckland that same year.
In 1949 The Speedway Control Board was formed under the auspices of the Auto Cycle Union (ACU) and had authority over competitors and tracks that contracted Midgets, Three Quarter Midgets, Sidecars, Stockcars, Modified Saloon cars and Motorcycles then evolving into Speedway New Zealand Inc and out of the control of the ACU to be an independently recognised body in 1984.
Speedway enthusiasts and administrators have set up vast professional stadiums in the major centres to provide the best in creature comforts for our fans while small feeder tracks in outlying areas provide low cost grass roots entertainment.
Huge growth of Speedway can be attributed to forward thinking administrators who strive to provide exciting entertainment. Be it with the help of overseas drivers and riders from USA and Europe, our competitors are now amongst the best. Top New Zealand competitors now invade their shores, some with their own machinery, to compete equally against the best in the world.
Attendance figures gathered from the 24 registered tracks can help measure the growth of speedway in New Zealand. According to Speedway New Zealand statistics, total weekly attendance average figures better than 1600 people for a normal meeting, with figures climbing to around 15,000 people for feature events. 82% attend meetings on a regular basis, some attending the big meetings intermittently throughout the season while the remainder are irregular fans who watch once or twice a season.
There is much variety at many speedways thanks to the type of classes raced, which include thoroughbred motorcycles, midget and sprintcars, powerful saloons and modifieds, the mighty stockcars, or the ministocks for the younger drivers, all have a place and support each other. Every season each race section is allocated its own New Zealand title, Grand Prix and North and South Island title.