Country Speedway is not your typical racing event. Nestled away in the heart of the North Island, the racing series host their own challenges which take place on unique, picturesque circuits. Not your usual ovals or quarter-mile strips, the circuits are much grander in scale and feature some truly iconic landscapes. With the country being at the end of the month it’s crunch time for many of the local schools’ sport teams as they gear up for the big tournaments throughout the country. This, in combination with the long, hot summer days, has made for an exciting time for motorsport fans eager to get their fix of dirt and grime on the roads.
What Are The Rules Of Country Speedway?
While most circuits will have a set number of qualifying heats, country skedules are pretty open when it comes to who turns up and who doesn’t. As long as you’ve got a suitable vehicle and are willing to practice, you’re more than welcome to join in any of the events. The only requirement is you have to like dirt and grime on your vehicle’s tires. The less said about the toilet facilities at these venues the better.
What Are The Prizes For?
Each race winner is presented with a trophy which is signed by the reigning and three-time champion, Don Garlick, and his wife, Marie. The prizes for overall victors are also incredible with one lucky, randomly drawn winner receiving a brand new, fully customized vehicle which is fully kitted out with the latest technology, as well as a trip for two to the Wellington Horse Show in New Zealand. As well as the vehicles and trophies, the overall victors are also awarded a brand new, fully customized paint job, courtesy of Kiwi Kolors. Simply put, if you’re a motorsport fan and want to get your fix of dirt and grime, this is the place to be.
Should I Get My Engine Prepared By A Professional?
Yes, definitely! It’s not unusual for the engines of these vehicles to reach over 2,000cc in size which can really blow up the already archaic point systems used by most motorsport series. Country skedules are all about family and friends getting together to watch bikes and cars go fast and are definitely not about burning rubber and knocking down competitors. For this reason, engine preparation is a must, especially if you’re planning on participating in more than one event. There are plenty of engine builders in the paddock who can take care of all your engine preparation needs and give you an advantage in the races. In most situations, a fresh engine will give you an advantage over vehicles using engines which have been sitting for long periods of time, especially if they’ve been overheating regularly. The bonus is you’ll be able to recognize your engine by the unique, hand-painted design gracing the block.
Do I Need To Garage The Vehicle?
No, you don’t need to garage the vehicle as long as it’s running smoothly and safely. Remember, this is a family-friendly event where racing is at the forefront but it’s not necessarily the be-all and end-all. You’re more than welcome to show up and have some fun, but don’t get too attached to your vehicle. The organizers will make sure the parking spots are available, so you don’t end up in the embarrassing situation of having to leave a competitor in the dust.
Is It Safe To Have My Car In The Strips?
Yes, definitely! Having a car in the strips is dangerous, especially in an older model, as you might not be able to control it. If you’re in an accident, you’ll either get stuck in the mud or you’ll flip over. Having a car in the strips is certainly not recommended, but it’s also not prohibited. As long as you’re not going to win any awards for being the best driver, it’s mostly harmless fun.
Is It Ok To Race On Unpaved Roads?
Yeah, it’s totally fine to race on unpaved roads as long as you’re not going too fast and causing an accident. Most of the venues don’t have a great deal of surface parking so you’re more than likely to find yourself on a dirt or gravel road at some point during the races. Keep your eyes open for the odd tractor driving down the middle of the road and be extra careful when approaching them from behind, as they might not see you coming. Just follow the rules and enjoy the experience. In some places, locals might not like seeing vehicles driving on unpaved roads, but for the most part it’s not a problem.
To continue with the theme of this article, if you’re a motorsport fan and want to get your fix of dirt and grime, here are 5 places you should visit this summer.
1. Rotorua Racecourse
Rotorua’s definitely not for the faint-hearted with its steep hillsides, narrow winding roads, and high speeds. However, all that goes hand-in-hand with making for an incredibly unique and breathtaking experience. The racecourse is incredibly prestigious, having hosted the New Zealand Grand Prix on a number of occasions, and even the famous Indianapolis 500. For a small fee, you and your family can have a go at riding the horses, experiencing the unique landscape, and getting a feel for what it’s like to race in New Zealand. You won’t regret it.
2. The Aotearoa Experiences
The Aotearoa Experiences in New Zealand’s largest city will give you an insight into one of the most unique cultures in the world. Visiting the historic Pukaki Park, which was gifted to the people of Auckland by King George, you’ll gain an appreciation for how different this country is. From its stunning natural beauty to its welcoming, passionate people, you’ll find it hard to leave this place without wanting to come back again.
3. Taupo Volcanic Lakes
The geothermal activity in Taupo Volcanic Lakes results in some truly spectacular sights and sounds. While it can be quite a daunting task to find the right spot to take a picture, the area is filled with emerald-green lakes, dotted with volcanoes. The area is also home to a number of very accomplished rowers, frequent visitors include the likes of Roger and Liz Boiling. With its dramatic scenery and interesting attractions, it’s well-deserved to say that Taupo Volcanic Lakes is a favorite of mine.
4. The North Island
The North Island is home to a number of awe-inspiring places that are definitely worth a visit. From its largest city, Auckland, which is filled with skyscrapers and buzzing street life, to its rugged, outdoor recreation paradise, the North Island has it all. Among its most iconic attractions are the famous white snow, which peaks in the South Island, and the Tongariro Crossing. The latter being the longest road in the world. Be sure to check out all the tourist spots along the way, including the gorgeous gold-painted lighthouses which dot the coastline.
5. The South Island
The South Island is filled with stunning natural beauty as well as iconic, historical buildings. I can’t think of a better place to take the wife and kids for an unforgettable family vacation. In fact, with so much to offer in such a compact area, it would be a shame to not make the most of it. The South Island is home to the magnificent Christchurch Cathedral as well as the smaller, more intimate, churches which dot the area. If you find yourself there during the summer months, be sure to check out the fan-favorite, Lake Hayes. The latter being surrounded by wineries, which offer some memorable, premium experiences.
Now, on to the most important part of this article, knowing when to go and what to expect. It’s highly unlikely that this event will occur every year, so if you want to make the most of it, you’ll need to plan your trip accordingly. The good news is, if you’re looking for a bucket-list item to cross off and have your own car, you can find plenty of information online. Simply put, if you’re a motorsport fan and want to get your fix of dirt and grime, here are 5 places you should visit this summer.