Controversy over speedway race

The super saloons championship race was stopped just before the last few laps. Photo: Supplied.

There are behind the scenes questions being asked about the shut-down of the New Zealand Super Saloon speedway championships on Saturday night, just before the finish of the meeting’s last race – the championship decider.

Racing was stopped a few minutes after 10pm, when the venues noise consent expires.

There were only six laps left in the final race when drivers were ordered to stop racing.

The final race was the culmination of two nights of racing with a field of 30 cars, the biggest field of cars in that class ever assembled anywhere in New Zealand.

There were people from Invercargill to Whangarei who came to town for the event, estimated at 10,000 over the two nights, and another large number watching on the livestream.

 “If you went to the movies and they stopped it three minutes from the end you would feel cheated and want a refund. What happened Saturday night is no different,” says a customer on the night, Grant Webber.

Promoter Bernie Gillon didn’t want to comment when asked about it by SunLive. Mayor Greg Brownless says he is also waiting to hear from BVL about what happened.

“I’ve heard what happened and I think it’s very disappointing and I want to get to the bottom of how that happened,” says Greg.

“It was a very important race and it would be good to know why there was any risk of it not being completed. Looking forward, it would be interesting to hear it and how it could be avoided at all costs in the future.”

Bay Venues commercial manager Ervin McSweeney says it’s the promoter who stops the racing not BVL. Ervin wasn’t there on the night.

Bay Venues Ltd runs the venue. The speedway promoter is required to run the venue according to the city rules.

The city rules endeavouring to protect the environment around Baypark from the effects, in particular of noise.

“After a certain time, it’s those rules that oblige the promoter to finish the race when he did. They are the rules before the race meeting started, in fact they are the rules before the season even starts,” says Ervin.

“And they are the same rules that have been in place ever since I’ve worked here which is seven or eight years now.

“I think if they had finished the race, in this case, the promoter would have breached the terms of his contract. We can only enforce city rules by making it part of the licensee’s contract.”

Grant says the Saturday night meeting was late starting. Racing was advertised to start at 6pm, but the parade dragged on and there was no racing until shortly before 7pm.

Another customer Murray Guy says a crash near the end of the second to last race impacted the final race.

“A lot of the competitors recognised early on in the evening that they were putting at risk the final race. We recognised that,” says Murray. “Had it started at 6.30, which it generally does, clearly it would have finished on time.

“Immediately prior to the final race there was a stock car race and near the end of that stock car race a red light was incurred, a stoppage. They messed around, removed the cars - and carried on with that race and it was only three or four laps.”

The promoter should have called the stockcar race and brought on the Super Saloons, says Murray. The few minutes would have made a vital difference.

“They should have learned from past years that race meetings of this calibre have got to be completed because you have to have a result,” says Grant.

Competitors were offered the opportunity of finishing the race on the Sunday, but the drivers remaining in the race voted to let the final positions remain as the race was called.

“They needed every driver to agree. That’s a real show of sportsmanship on the drivers’ part,” says Grant.

“If the race had been run properly the only positions probably in doubt were second and third, they might have changed and third and fourth might have changed, the way it was going.

“The guy that won it, great that he won. The guy given third is a very experienced driver and he was breathing down the neck of second. There was a good chance in six laps that he could have taken him. They had the time to do it.”


reply to Tish

Posted on 01-02-2018 18:49 | By kiwigirl41

’snivelling residents’ as you call them were there long before BayPark was built...please get your facts right....

Consent compliance?

Posted on 31-01-2018 14:34 | By MISS ADVENTURE

Of course one only needs to look at the track record of TCC on comply/haiving consents to know that the rules are made up as go. Just take a look at the Sunlive articles of the sewerage plant, no consent at all for three years and counting .... and non compliant anyway.

baypark consent issues

Posted on 27-01-2018 15:45 | By MISS ADVENTURE

This outfit (whatever the new names) has always deliberately flouted the Resource Consent handed down by The Environment Court. Looks to me that Tauranga COuncil does not take any of these things seriously at all except when it suits them to do so.

@ kellbell

Posted on 25-01-2018 02:38 | By MISS ADVENTURE

Aint that the truth of it!

This lot of clowns couldn't run a booze up in a Brewery

Posted on 21-01-2018 17:06 | By kellbell

Apart from being very poor spellers those that are slagging off at and badmouthing citizens that believe the rules should be obeyed need to acquaint themselves with the facts.Speedway wrote its own rules on the original RMA consent and maintained they could easily comply with these.RMAConsent was subsequently enhanced by BoboClarkson and his crew and latterly incorporated in CityPlan Rules for Baypark SpecialZone.The issue is not the Speedway event it is its failure to comply with noise levels and finish times.Both are flouted regularly and this has been proved to be so time and time . Last Saturday for various reasons it seems Speedway could have continued until 10.10pm but someone chose not too to so .Lay the blame where it properly falls not look for excuses.If Speedway outfit can’t get its act together then solution is shape up or ship out to TECT PARK.


Posted on 19-01-2018 15:18 | By Capt_Kaveman

Close by what annoys me most are 11pm harleys on the motorway, police sirens at 6am and then theres the odd cessna flying out in the early hours, all i have asked for is people living within 300m should get at least one free entry pass, and as for greg he is now just a puppet like all previous to him,Mayors only do something after the fact, on call like this Greg is the one who should be rung to get clearance that 6-10mins over was ok to proceed but nup


Posted on 19-01-2018 15:07 | By GreertonBoy

There could be a 15 minute window past the curfew for ’special circumstances’ such as an imortant race going 5 minutes past the curfew? I used to race at the old Bay Park and knew there was problems coming when house fences were at the boundary of the raceway... there was two responses... those home owners that whined and those that put a gate in the fence to drive their race cars through instead of going via the road. Whining people annoy me. Like people who buy next to the airport, then complain about the planes. If you dont like planes, dont buy next to an airport... and if you dont like racing noise, dont buy next to a race circuit! Even if whiners dont like the fact the speedway i there, they dont mind the economy benefiting from the people attending spending up. Make the curfew 11pm


Posted on 19-01-2018 12:59 | By Astoreth

that something which emits very little noise has to close down by 10 pm, when trains, trucks and boy-racers keep rolling 24/7. That these are all much louder and annoying than the speedway could ever be rather suggests that the issue has nothing to do with noise; it’s just NIMBY-ism from an (ironically) loud minority. Sadly, the council has elected to be all PC and pay heed to them.

Well done

Posted on 19-01-2018 12:27 | By maildrop

About time noise nuisance was dealt with. If you can’t get your act in order and get done by 10 then tough. Stop whining and sort yourselves out. Hopefully it will continue and selfish people will realise it’s not all about them and their fun.


Posted on 19-01-2018 12:18 | By old trucker

that this sucks, for goodness sake whats 10mins in ya life, all these blinkin consents, why do they not start racing at 4oclock and make a good go of it,i stopped going because that guy on that quad bike riding around stopping the race if a car stops ,for crying out loud, and the saloon cars go round and around about 10 times, before it starts ,one round and let them go, but NO, promoter needs let go,and let someone run it like it should, i heard through a good scource last week that they could not water the track as they had no petrol for the pump, are you kidding me,they reckon the DUSTwas a joke, where is the consent for this,dust pollution,TCCtook this over and spent $$$$$$millions out there,there was nothing wrong with it, and over the long holiday break, they should race every night tokeepmoneycommingin

total stuffup

Posted on 19-01-2018 11:26 | By usandthem

I was at that meeting and have never been so peeved off at a sporting event in my life.In the past some events have gone over time but the promoter just pays a fine.Sometimes it can’t be avoided if there has been other stoppages during the night.In this case the final stock car race should have been cancelled to make sure there was time to finish the super salloons,considering it was a New Zealand title race.This makes Baypark a laughing stock amongst speedway drivers around the country and they need to take a long hard look at a new promoter if they want to attract future drivers from other areas as well as keeping their fan base.

Thank the whining,

Posted on 19-01-2018 11:16 | By tish

snivelling residents who insisted such unrealistic limits be placed and a Council without the cojones to tell them to get stuffed. It’s what happens when suburbia encroaches on an area where such venues have always been, and continue to be.

Out the window

Posted on 19-01-2018 09:45 | By Told you

Common sense has gone. This discision to stop the race denied paying race goers a chance to see the end of a great meeting.Who made up these inflexible rules?

Disaster zone

Posted on 19-01-2018 08:46 | By MISS ADVENTURE

Although CC8 is right about teh shutdown of Baypark, equallly other developers and related persons relentlessly badgered to rebuild. The end result is a stadium with a Resource Consent that TCC has for many years (like from the start) has neglected to administer correctly. The complaints about breaches have been real and genuine, Baypark has often broken the rules as to time and the level of noise. The monitouring was regularly fudged to ensure that the well over the noise limit activities were on paper all ok and wonderful. At last, I am pleased that after only 17 years or so Baypark si finally being required to adher to its consents agreed to at the start.

Selfish motives come back to bite

Posted on 19-01-2018 07:38 | By CC8

The real issue didn’t start with Bernie Gillon or even with BVL , TCC, the whinging resident(s) or the Resource Management Act, although they all have a part to play, some of them are far less accommodating than what Kiwis would normally feel is "right". It all stats with GREED and SELFISHNESS on the part of a couple of real estate developers and sales agents who had political influence 20-30 years ago. They managed to close down the old Bay Park, by creeping residential development up to the boundaries and assuring the "new" residents that Bay Park would shut down and be gone . If the Mount Golf course had not been closed and a buffer zone of public reserve had been left the high value Internationally famous attraction of Bay Park Raceway would still be attracting tourist dollars to Tauranga.

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