Hampton Downs put up for sale

Last updated 05:00 18/02/2013

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There are question marks over the future of one of New Zealand's biggest motorsport venues as its owners look to either gain investors or sell up.

Hampton Downs owners Tony Roberts and Chris Watson said they had both poured their "heart and soul" into developing the track since buying the land nine years ago, but now needed financial backing to further develop the motorsport park.

"Chris Watson and I have taken the dream about as far as we can on our limited resources," Mr Roberts said.

"We've had a great time and we'll miss being at the helm.

"But it's time to focus our energy elsewhere, including in our other roles in the motorsport community, and let someone else come forward to take it to the next stage," he said

Hampton Downs started operating in 2010, after the land was purchased in 2004, and since then the men developed and built the businesswith a goal of creating the ultimate dream track.

Mr Roberts said that Mr Watson and himself would like to see the 1.2km track extension, corporate suites and race control tower completed as part of the vision.

"We want to complete full 3.8 km circuit that Chris Watson and I dreamed of creating when this project first began in 2004."

Mr Roberts said the move to sell was by no means prompted by a lack of business. Rather, the facility was operating successfully and running at near capacity with more than 330 days per year of usage.

The privately-owned track was currently home to 28 racing events each year, including major events such as the New Zealand Festival of Motor Racing, the Toyota Cup Series, two rounds of V8 SuperTourers, NZ Super Bikes, National Drift Championship, the Roycroft Vintage Car event and Classic Motorcycle Racing.

Mr Roberts said the move to sell was also not the result of Auckland Council's decision to take the V8 Supercar Series to Pukekohe.

"It would have only been one weekend a year, so may not have made a significant financial difference, but we would've liked to have the event here so the drivers and fans could see the Supercars racing on the best circuit in New Zealand," he said.

Mr Roberts said he would prefer to find an investor so that he and Mr Watson could continue to care for their project, but either way they'd stay involved in organising events.

"We'd like someone to come in with us," he said. "We'd like to have some sort of involvement."

Hampton Downs is for sale through Bayleys Real Estate, as a freehold going concern. The deadline for tenders is 4pm, Wednesday, April 17, unless it is sold prior.

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- Waikato Times

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