It’s no coincidence that although located here in Cromwell it is called Central Motor Speedway, because that’s exactly what it is, the speedway track for all of Central Otago.
The speedway’s current and longest serving president, Andy Erskine, is far from alone suggesting that the future of this valuable regional asset is much bigger than just a Cromwell community issue. “Should ever Central Motor Speedway be forced out of Sandflat Road it would be an enormous loss for the whole region and beyond.
“The main reason Ron Spriggs, who in 1980 all but single-handedly built the speedway, chose Cromwell was for its ‘hub’ location and reliable weather. It’s rare for a meeting at Central Motor Speedway to be rained out which has definitely contributed to us hosting so many national championships. Next year on February 1 and 2, the 2019 New Zealand Sprintcar Title will be decided on Central Motor Speedway clay. This will be the third time this high profile title has been fought for in Central Otago.”
SPEEDWAY A FAMILY AFFAIR
“There was a time when speedway could be perceived as a bit rough around the edges, but these days it’s all about family entertainment and participation. Speedway brings huge numbers of families’ trackside, behind the scenes many families work as volunteers while in the pits most crews include close and other family members. I went from helping my dad Russell who at 68 still races in the saloon class, to getting behind the wheel of a saloon myself and then a sprintcar with wife Mandy and children Lucas and Keely supporting in all sorts of ways. Now 15 and 13, Lucas and Keely race youth ministocks. My vision for Central Motor Speedway is to see the day when like my mum and dad, we can watch our grandchildren race on Cromwell clay in Sandflat Road.”
Becoming Central Motor Speedway president for a tenth time was not in Andy’s foreseeable plans but the sudden passing of president Daryl Ainsley early in May in a non-racing motor accident saw Andy agree at the recent Central Motor Speedway AGM to step up to the plate as president.
“With Daryl’s passing I lost a close friend and Central Motor Speedway lost a well-respected driver and a man who true to his reputation as ‘Mr 110 percent’ gave the club far more than its fair share of his hands-on and administrative time and energy,” says Andy.
At the after-AGM prizegiving, Andy and Mandy Erskine along with Jason Scott were made life members. Selected by Daryl before his passing, Jeannine Cunningham received the President’s Choice Trophy for her contribution to the Central Motor Speedway committee.
THREE FINALISTS IN SPEEDWAY NZ ANNUAL CONFERENCE AWARDS
One of the first duties for Andy Erskine and vice president Andy Reddy has been to represent Central Motor Speedway at last weekend’s Speedway NZ Annual Conference in Wellington. A special highlight for both was having three Central Motor Speedway Club members as finalists in the Midas Speedway NZ National Awards -- Daryl Ainsley’s team poster in the Team Poster section; 15-year-old Kamryn Reddy for Best Presented Vehicle and Josh Buchanan for Competitor of the Year in the Six Shooter Class.
“It’s great to get this recognition at a national level and also being told by so many representatives of the 23 speedway tracks throughout New Zealand that Central Motor Speedway is one of the country’s top tracks,” says Andy Erskine who was also thrilled that Ricky Boulton of Dunedin’s Beachlands Speedway was voted Speedway NZ president, the first South Islander in a long time to hold this position. With three more South Islanders voted on to the seven person board which has a majority of new blood, Andy Erskine believes there is every reason to feel positive about the future of speedway as the country’s fastest family show on earth.
CENTRAL MOTOR SPEEDWAY CLUB EXECUTIVE & COMMITTEE
2018 – 19 SEASON
PRESIDENT, Andy Erskine(Queenstown) VICE PRESIDENT, Andy Reddy(Cromwell) PROMOTER, Jason Scott(Queenstown) TREASURER, Cindy Weir(Cromwell) SECRETARY, Kate Williamson (Cromwell)
Raymond Buchanan(Cromwell), Phil Burgess(Cromwell), Jeannine Cunningham(Edendale) Mark Evans(Tapanui), Sam O’Callaghan(Queenstown), Whetu Taewa(Cromwell)