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Will Hampton Downs finally be completed?

27 March, 2015

Is Tony Quinn New Zealand motorsport’s Bruce Wayne? It would seem so if the current rumours are true, and the VIP Petfoods giant has finally been successful in his quest to purchase the financialy crippled Hampton Downs Motorsport Park. In two recent interviews, Quinn has been very vocal about trying to fix what he sees is wrong with New Zealand Motorsport, and he knew he needed two tracks to do it. 

Image source: downforce.co.nz

His quest began back in 2012 when he made his first attempt at purchasing Hampton Downs, and around the same time took over the Highlands Motorsport Park project. With his first offer on Hamptons turned down, he then made inroads to purchasing either Queensland Raceway or more recently Taupo Motorsport Park. Both deals failed to see pen put to paper. Little did we know that he had again made a bid for Hamptons and if the rumours are true then the deal has been made.

Hampton Downs is New Zealand’s busiest motorsport park, operating 320 days a year; but despite this, it hasn’t been without its financial issues leaving the venue unfinished and with a for-sale sign out front basically since it opened. 

So what does this mean for you and me? The facility could now see the completion of the 1.2km club circuit, giving Hampton’s three possible track layouts, the longest of which would be 3.8km. There will no doubt also be other additions to make the venue more financially viable 

It is said current management will remain in place, and I highly doubt Quinn will mirror the business model of Highlands. Which I would like to point out is the only way that venue would exist, due to the strict resource consents allowing only minimal events per year;  Quinn is after all a business man, and from an outsider’s view seems to have New Zealand motorsport’s best interests at heart. This is why I liken him to Batman/Bruce Wayne; a well-to-do business man trying to do good, but often grossly misunderstood. 

We will keep a close eye on the deal as details unfold.

Saltwater Creek Garage

After passing by this building for many years, I decided to call in and ask the owner about his garage and the car that had been parked there. It was a 1982 Hyundai Pony 1200 TLS that he’d inherited from his mother who had bought it when it was nearly new. I was fortunate enough to buy it from him — many had approached him over the years but were turned away. After sitting out there for that long you could not imagine how dirty it was. At least it had never been wet in all that time. The interior is a mid-blue and almost like new — in fact his mother, Irene, had still retained the original factory-fitted thick clear-plastic cover over the mid-blue vinyl door panels.

Lunch with … Roger Bailey

Roger’s story is a classic illustration of what hard work, honesty to the point of brutal frankness, a ‘can-do’ approach, and a racer’s brain can get you in this sport of car racing. Roger, or ‘Boost’ as he’s known up and down the pitlanes of America, was who Kenny Smith turned to when he was dragging a reluctant teenager around the different pit garages at Laguna Seca.
“Scott [Dixon] kept complaining that it was too hot and he just wanted to go back to the hotel pool. I had to tell him that I was trying to secure his future — we weren’t getting much of a look in until we saw Roger who knew everyone and set about introducing Scott as New Zealand’s next big thing.