Motocross GP a boost to Woodville economy
Thousands of racers, supporters and spectators are expected to provide an injection into Woodville's economy as the 53rd New Zealand Woodville Motocross Grand Prix kicks off today.
Organiser Wade Wilson said 530 competitors had entered this year from New Caledonia, Japan, Scotland, England, Germany, Australia, and around New Zealand.
Their support teams and families would bring the number of people associated with the event to 1500, and he was expecting about 4000 people through the gates.
The hospitality industry in Woodville is set to benefit directly from the event, if previous years are anything to go by.
"It's great for the whole town," said New Central Motor Inn & Hotel owner Kevin O'Connor. "We lost the rugby to Masterton, so it's good when we're able to keep something here."
He said the weekend was always good for business, and the same guests returned to New Central every year.
"But we all get a bit of the cherry."
Ormond Street Motel owner Mike Barnes said although he and his wife, Joy, had taken over the motel just two months ago, a check of the books showed the same guests also returned each year.
"We're definitely booked out this weekend," he said. "Our units are all booked. I'd say the majority are all motocross people."
However, food outlets' experience of past motocross weekends varied.
Food Barn owner Yong Huang said there were times when things got busy over the weekend of the motocross, but it wasn't consistent.
"It's just like a regular weekend," said Wind Farm Bakery and Cafe manager Linh Le. "We're usually busy on weekends, but it doesn't get any busier."
Yummy Mummy's Cheesecakes manager Hollie-Jane Kellerman said that in past years it had always been business as usual during the event, but things picked up noticeably before and after.
"There was some talk about maybe setting up a stall there," she said.
Mr Wilson said everyone involved in the preparation of the venue had volunteered, and even the diggers and other vehicles used to shape the circuit had been loaned to the organisers.
He said Thursday's winds had made preparations at the circuit difficult, with some facilities being blown over and tents having to be taken down.
"We've recovered from that, and the guys are going for it, so it's pretty good," he said. "Everyone's going flat out at the moment."
Monday's earthquake had also made things interesting.
"With the earthquake, there was quite a buzz," he said. "It had occurred while someone was riding on the circuit, which was a unique experience. But I don't think I can promise that as a feature for the weekend."
The earthquake had caused some liquefaction in front of one of the mounds, but Mr Wilson said that was a welcome feature. "Actually, we could have done with a little more."
He said a lot of work went into the annual event, and there was not much of a break before organisation for the following year's grand prix began.
"In a month to two months we'll get a proposal to Honda for next year."