Onwards and upwards for Tony Quinn
Central Otago Newsmaker 2013JO MCKENZIE-MCLEAN IN ALEXANDRA
It is onwards and upwards for one of Central Otago's biggest newsmakers of 2013.
The owner of Highlands Motorsport Park, Tony Quinn, has undoubtedly been one of the region's biggest newsmakers this year.
The Australian pet food tycoon and motorsport fanatic has put Cromwell on the world stage with his multi-million dollar motorsport park which opened this year.
With 2013 nearly at a close, Mr Quinn reflects on an emotional but exciting year.
''It has been said before but it is absolutely true each and every one of us that work at the facility or has been involved in the creation has been very proud of what we have achieved. I think the people who doubted it 18 months ago can now acknowledge that it has been successful and it is an asset to the community and to the region.''
The Easter opening was not only special but unusual in its format of a parade-showcase event which hooked people into coming back to the motorsport park's first big race meeting in November.
The Highlands 101 proved that the team had the means to pull off a successful, large-scale event, with crowds of more than 25,000 in attendance throughout the three days.
''Personally, November was good to get it over and done with. There was a lot of pent-up emotion, worries and fears and to get it over and done with was cool and there were no major incidents or issues.''
At least 90 percent of the Australian teams and competitors racing in November had never been to Central Otago and they absolutely loved it, he said.
The Australians returned to Australia raving about how cool Highlands Motorsport Park, and Central Otago was, he said.
''Everyone is excited about it and heard great things. I don't think we will have any trouble getting Australia categories to come and compete here. Who knows what will happen in the foreseeable future but it seems quite good.''
The plan for 2014 will be focusing on how to plan things better going forward, he said.
''It is very hard when you set such a high bench mark to improve on what we have already done.''
Work had been done creating extra spectator areas around the track. By Easter, a bus would be available to drive people on the track and drop them off at spectator points.Other big events include next month's race meeting which sees Highlands Motorsport Park joining New Zealand's traditional summer motorsport series.
The January 25-26 fixture sees the V8SuperTourers take equal billing with the Toyota Racing Series single seaters.
Also joining the line-up are the NZ V8 Utes and Central Muscle Cars.
At Easter the park was also holding a combined event with Warbirds over Wanaka.
A new combo ticket will allow people to have one day at Warbirds Over Wanaka and one day at the Highlands Revival Easter motor racing festival.
Ticket buyers will be able to choose which day they go to which event.
Mr Quinn also has plans to push the racetrack and tourist attraction to become the home for a reinvigorated New Zealand Grant Prix.
- The Mirror
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