Hampton Downs to consider event options following consent boost

Gordon Lomas

Thursday 30th August, 2012 - 2:00am

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Hampton Downs could have the capacity to seat 50,000 spectators

Hampton Downs could have the capacity to seat 50,000 spectators

Hampton Downs will not rush a decision to host a major event in the wake of revised resource consent approval for the circuit that lifts maximum spectator numbers from 20,000 to 50,000 people.

The circuit and V8 Supercars had been in discussions over a long period of time for the Australian series to find a new home after the Hamilton street race disaster but could not get the consent approval over the line in time.

Instead V8 Supercars struck a deal with Pukekohe, the Auckland City Council and the New Zealand Government to return to that historic circuit in a five-year deal from 2013.

Tony Roberts, managing director of Hampton Downs, told Speedcafe.co.nz the process of seeking the revised consent approval had cost the circuit a lot of money.

He said that apart from talking to several Asian-based series, the circuit would not actively seek to win the right to host events such as a round of the MotoGP or World Superbike Championship.

“Yes it does give us a bargaining chip for bigger events in the future,” Roberts said.

“We are talking to a lot of people with Asian events and that type of thing.

“There’s always the MotoGP and World Superbikes and because they go to Australia its a natural lead-in but times are pretty tough to get the dollars you need to get them here.”

“When Cochrane (V8 Supercars chairman Tony Cochrane) came out and said it was Pukey or nowhere we had the choice of continuing on with the consenting process or call it a day.

“But we had spent so much time and energy on it and there was a two-inch thick document to achieve that and we spent probably $100,000 so we decided to keep going.”

Roberts believes that the decision for V8 Supercars to return to Pukekohe where they had raced for much of the 2000’s until the Aussie series moved to the Hamilton street race from 2008, was a forgone conclusion.

“V8 Supercars’ decision to go back to Pukey was formed back in the Hamilton days hence the buying of the infrastructure with barriers, grandstands etc out of Hamilton,” Roberts said.

“We entered into, in good faith, getting the consent and doing things and it’s cost us a lot of money to do that.

“The latter reports that have come out from Tony Cochrane have said that really its Pukekohe or nowhere was a bit of a shame because if he would have told us that up front we wouldn’t have bothered getting the consent increase.”

“We feel like we’ve been strung along a little bit. But that is the nature of the beast I suppose.”

“We can now use this for any events that we may want to get like motorcycling or any event.

But Roberts is cautious that motorsport is finding it difficult to draw crowds in the current climate.

“Overall motorsport is finding it harder and harder to attract the big crowds.”

“If we get a 10,000 crowd that’s a big day.”

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