Petrolheads' paradise

CHRIS HYDE
Last updated 12:00 28/01/2014

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There's nothing quite like the rev of an engine to get the tills ringing in Manawatu and lately there's been plenty of revving.

With five separate motorsport events ripping around the region at the weekend, Manawatu Car Club secretary Jeff Braid said the vision of Manawatu as a hub of motorsport was alive and kicking.

The 53rd New Zealand Motocross Grand Prix rocked into Woodville, Arena Manawatu in Palmerston North roared again to the sound of speedway, crowds flocked to see the drifters at Manfeild in Feilding on Saturday, the Victoria Motorcycle Club staged an event at Manfeild on Sunday and the Rods and Pistons Chrome Show in Mangatainoka topped off a weekend of engine oil nirvana.

"The number of events has lifted slightly, even from the strong base of what we've had in the past," Mr Braid said.

"We're always looking to have events in the region at every level, from Gymkhana right through to an international event, and that's what we have at the moment."

The high level of motorsport activity comes as Manfeild tries to cling on to the New Zealand Grand Prix.

"It's completely out of our hands what happens at Manfeild with the Grand Prix but I feel excited about where we are at right now," Mr Braid said.

He said he was heartened by the amount of people returning to the sport in the region, he said.

"There were a lot of people who were in and around the community from a young age but then they went off overseas or lost interest or time.

"We're getting them back, they've got a bit more disposable income and they're wanting to be involved in what we've got happening."

Destination Manawatu chief executive Lance Bickford said petrolheads were ideal visitors to the region.

Not only did they stay for longer than an 80-minute game, they were happy to spend in areas of town outside of their social circle, he said.

"If you look at what's happened in the past and you ask any of the motels, we love motorsport and what it brings to the region."

Manawatu's key advantage to attracting and maintaining motorsport events was its central - and inland - location as well as its infrastructure, he said.

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- Manawatu Standard

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