The first meeting held at Heavy Trax Hire Central Motor Speedway in Cromwell’s Sandflat Road at the end of 1980 attracted so many from the Wakatipu they caused a traffic jam in the Kawarau Gorge. And why wouldn’t they be so obviously keen to see the clay fly. After all, this was and still is Central Otago’s Fastest Family Show on Earth
Now 38 years on and not to be off-putting, the Central Motor Speedway committee has organised an 2018-19 season that could well create more than a few traffic snarl ups between the Wakatipu and Cromwell Basin. The reason for this is a race calendar bristling with high-profile meetings, the biggest of the big being the 2019 Civil Construction NZ Sprintcar Title on Friday, Feb 1 and Saturday, Feb 2. As well as attracting the country’s crème de crème of sprintcar drivers and teams, rumour has it that there will be several overseas drivers including a 16 year-old American wonder kid.
This Labour Weekend Saturday (October 20) though, it’s the annual season opener with gates unlocked at 4pm for trackside parking and the ‘go racing’ green light at 6pm. After labouring on their racecars over winter, drivers and teams are revved up to slither and slide. Some of the drivers will be a little rusty, some will be newbies to their class, so be prepared for an action packed, fender bender night. More than just a few of those with Jandal to the metal on Saturday live and work in the Wakatipu including Club president Andy Erskine and promoter Jason Scott. Both are sprintcar aces. All classes are racing including a contingent of visiting Modified Sprints, a sort of cross between a saloon and sprintcar.
Next up on the calendar is the first of the high-profile meetings, the Mag & Turbo sponsored Super Cup S.I. Super Saloon Series (round 2) on Saturday, November 10. For those not familiar with Super Saloons, these are the methanol-gulping beastie boys of speedway.
December is a month of three meetings starting with the Valvoline Holden Trade Club Saloon Week, then the Central Otago Saloon Showdown and on December 29 Round 4 of the enormously popular Hydraulink Sprintcar War of the Wings. A day or two’s rest and January racing starts on the 1st followed by the Club Champs on Jan 19. February is devoted to the two day spectacular that is the 2019 Civil Construction Sprintcar Title.
Allowing a good few weeks to recovery from the title excitement, March 22 and 23 honour the memory of Club President Daryl Ainsley who was killed in a single vehicle accident early in May this year. The season ends at Easter with the War of the Wings title decider, Sprintcar King of Cromwell and the Memorial Derby honouring the memory of the Invercargill panelbeater Ron Spriggs who all but single handedly created Central Motor Speedway.