The Waimate 50 organising committee are still accepting entries for this weekend’s racing event and collectively entries are up on last year.
Rob Aikman said preparation for the event is on target less than a week out.
“About 50-60 percent of the track is completed, we’ve been putting it up where we can, and by Friday we should be looking at having it 90 percent complete. We’ve got a different track layout this year which uses more secondary roads. But the track is our main concern.”
Mr Aikman said Friday will be a big day as they take 6-10 cars around the schools for children to view.
Two special Oamaru-based cars have been confirmed to make apearances at the weekend and Mr Aikman said both cars are very expensive and have an extensive motorsport history. Allan Wills is going to feature his Group B 1984 Audi Quatro which is usually on display at the Oamaru Autocollection and Bruce Paton his Group A Texaco Sierra. The cars will do demonstration laps on Saturday and Sunday.
Waimate mayor, Craig Rowley, will formally welcome competitors, motorsport officials and visitors to the district on Friday night at the Waimate Stadium.
“This is a huge event for Waimate. I’m pretty sure all the accommodation is booked out. Some of the racing will take place out at Waihao Forks so it’ll be great for them,” Mr Rowley said.
“I think it will be bigger and better this year. A great weekend for motorsport.”
Mr Rowley said having better statistical data available this year through the services of Ticketek will mean the council can quantify the value of sponsorship to ratepayers. The Waimate District Council included a grant of $9000 (plus GST) in the 2014/15 Annual Plan for use by the Waimate 50 organising committee, which they envisaged would be used to pay for council services.
Beverley Knowles, chairperson Business Waimate, said most businesses in the district held the view that if the event was good for the town and the district they would support it.
“It’s a very unique opportunity and it’s got so much history,” she said.
“I think businesses are happy to work with the Waimate 50. They’ve taken a different slant and have made it more appealing to families, there are different activities on and only part of Queen Street is closed this year, not all of it.”
Ms Knowles said while the event is good for businesses involved in food and hospitality it does disadvantage others. Some operating on the inside of the race track are either reliant solely on customers inside the track or have to close due to disruption to their business, she said.
“We are encouraging people to be open.”
By LINDA MCCARTHY