Efforts to build a “motorsport park” in Masterton are gaining momentum with Trust House Ltd getting in behind the project.
Driven by the Wairarapa Car Club (WCC), the vision is to develop a facility adjacent to the Masterton Motorplex drag racing track at the southern end of the Hood Aerodrome.
But it won’t be maximum speed as the park’s focus, but instead upskilling drivers.
WCC’s Greg Ordish, development convenor of the project, says driver skill training has always been the primary objective of the club which believes it has a duty to the youth and novice driver population.
It has become apparent in recent years, however, that driver development has become a bit “haphazard” and events run by car clubs are not quite in sync with younger drivers, Ordish says.
The result is a far more “casual approach” when behind the wheel, the consequences of which are “alarming,” Ordish says.
The idea of a dedicated facility has been part of the club’s thinking for many years. Two years ago the club sold its club rooms in Bentley Street, Masterton, and then secured a sub lease on a block of land next to the drag racing track.
Now, a $20,000 grant from Trust House, announced last month, will allow the club to crank the project up a gear.
Trust House has for a long time been a loyal friend to motorsport in Wairarapa. It was a key funder of the drag track, (now considered one of the best in New Zealand), and for many years has been a major sponsor of Rally Wairarapa.
The first phase of construction at the Motorsport Park will involve shaping a track for low level club and driver training activity, known as Motorkhana, and then an all-weather track for year round autocross events.
Motorkhana is a skill development low speed accuracy test, with a touch on peripheral senses and agility of reactions.
“No special vehicle is required, just mum’s car when she isn’t looking,” Ordish says.
Autocross is a skill development at low to medium speeds, again no special vehicles are required.
When completed, the initial plan is to hold monthly Motorkhana and Autocross at the park.
The overall budget for the project, which will include new on-site clubrooms, is around $230,000. WCC has already raised $50,000 from the sale of their former clubrooms.
Being able to host prize giving’s, club nights and public driving competency courses is integral to the ongoing contribution the club will make to the community, Ordish says.
“The club is keen to support Masterton Motorplex in its developments that will allow greater and better facilities for public driving competency courses, motor vehicle basic care courses and our own motorsport development.”