New circuit for Waimate 50

DANIEL BIRCHFIELD
Last updated 05:00 05/08/2014

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Change is in the wind for this year's Waimate 50, which event organisers hope will make it the biggest and best edition yet.

The popular motorsport meet has been running on and off since 1959 and regularly attracts crowds of about 10,000.

Waimate 50 committee president Rob Aikman said as well as changes to race formats, the event committee had secured a multi-year deal with TicketDirect.

"We're undergoing a lot of change to what we've done in previous years, so we're cutting a lot of new ground I guess. We're confident that's better for the event and its future."

The event is moving away from manually processing spectator entry to an automated online system, which Aikman said will help make entry more efficient.

"We used to have 50 people manning the gates and support equipment, so we've gone to TicketDirect and reduced the number of gates to three. The beauty of going with them is that they can supply us with good data on people's demographics which can help us plan for future events."

The biggest changes have come in the racing department, Aikman said.

"We've changed the whole format really. We've changed the track by designing a new one to move away from a sprint circuit to a race circuit, but we're still doing a sprint race format in some races."

Four races will be run, each with a field of 20 vehicles.

The events include a four kilometre hill climb, a street circuit sprint, and a super special stage for those competing in the three-part GT series.

This year also sees the introduction of an 8.5km rally sprint.

The event costs about $150,000 to run, which Aikman said would be "double that" if equipment such as cranes, forklifts and support gear wasn't donated.

It's also a boost for the local economy.

"We believe in Waimate directly it would bring in in excess of $500,000, but a lot of people also stay in Timaru and Oamaru."

Tickets for the Waimate 50 went on sale on Friday.

The event takes place between October 24 and 26.

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- The Timaru Herald

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