23 Feb
23 February 2018

Manfeild, region, promoter pleased with GP

CONFIDENCE that the New Zealand Grand Prix will continue going from strength to strength at Manfeild with significant regional funding support is total.

This today from Manfeild chief executive Julie Keane, who says discussion between event stakeholders and the promoter since the February 11 race on Circuit Chris Amon has clarified certainty about the Feilding venue’s host rights’ status and strengthened her optimism that this event will continue to flourish.

“In the past week we have been involved in talks between promoter Speed Works Events, the Palmerston North City Council and Manawatu District Council and have been heartened by their uniform commitment to keeping this event in Manawatu and Central New Zealand.

“We have affirmed that the 2018 race was a success, not least in respect to the crowd count, which was a significant improvement on previous years and have taken opportunity to reflect on the value of the region’s generous three-year support package established last year.

“Locally generated funding helped the event and it will be the same for the next two years – a fantastic support that really allows for some amazing opportunity, one example being the ticket promotion that enabled ratepayers to see the race for free.”

The 2019 funding will include provision from the Central Economic Development Agency and from Central Energy Trust. Speed Works Events promoter Geoff Short says he would like to repeat the ticket promotion for 2019.

Added Mrs Keane: “We’re all delighted that the focus on the NZGP being contested on Circuit Chris Amon remains total.

“By working as a team we can continue to make this an event the region, in fact the entire country, can be proud of.”

Mrs Keane reminded that Manfeild has continuously held host responsibility for the country’s most prestigious international motor-race since 2007.

“That’s a decade of hosting the Grand Prix and we take this honour seriously and guard it jealously. This is a hugely significant weekend for the wider region.”

The latest host rights’ round was announced in April, 2017, by the sport’s governing body, MotorSport New Zealand, on the recommendation of Speed Works Events and Palmerston North-domiciled category provider Toyota New Zealand, whose Toyota Racing Series contests the event.

The venue’s success came from enforcing it is the home racetrack to the six cities in the lower North Island, and therefore in the middle of the middle million - that is, within easy reach of a seven-figure population count.

It was a point also made by local political leaders who enthusiastically backed the bid and accepted by MSNZ, which said the support of seven city and district councils played a key role in the decision.

Palmerston North’s mayor, Grant Smith said he is fully supportive of the NZGP continuing to be raced on Manfeild’s Chris Amon Circuit.

“Manfeild is fantastic asset for our region and its central location allows greater audience accessibility from around Central New Zealand.

“I attended the event over two days with regional mayors from Hawkes Bay, Taranaki and Horizons regions and we all witnessed the growth of the event and would love to see this growth continue.”

Manawatu District’s Mayor, Helen Worboys, echoed that sentiment. “I’m very happy with the progress made this year.”

Mr Short said the only disappointment from the weekend was something nobody can ever control, the weather.

Otherwise it was a really positive event.

“The ticket promotion was great and we will look to do a similar promotion next year.

“It is great to confirm the Grand Prix will be there for the next two years. This year’s event was a tremendous platform to work from.”

Manfeild, region pleased with NZGP.jpg

Caption: Richard Verschoor of the Netherlands wins the 2018 New Zealand Grand Prix at Manfeild on February 11.

Photo: John Cowpland/Alphapix