The Nelson Speedway Association have been forced to call off tonight’s Easter Extravaganza meeting. Racing will move back one day with a 4pm start tomorrow (Saturday) and 4pm Sunday. Both race programmes will run in full, but delayed by a day.

The wet weather that has saturated the Nelson region in the past 36 hours left the pits, carparks and spectator areas unusable. Nelson Speedway Association president Wayne Martin said the track at the Milestone Homes Top of the South Speedway could have been recovered with a substantial commitment to wheel packing but the surrounding areas were too heavily waterlogged to race this evening.

“We need more sun and wind and then we will be okay,” Martin said. The blue sky showed through in Nelson about 8.30am but the damage had been done by the rainfall that has closed roads, triggered slips and damaged some homes. The forecast for tomorrow and Sunday threatens the occasional shower, at worst.

For drivers like Invercargill super saloon racer Campbell McManaway, the delay will be welcomed. Flight disruptions had meant that, although his car was here, he was unlikely to be able to leave Southland until tomorrow. Others will be changing travel and accommodation plans in an effort to stay for Sunday’s meeting.

Demolition derby drivers can still expect The Hits 89.6FM derby to go ahead on Sunday.

Martin said the disruption was unfortunate but the club was hopeful of being able to stage two full days of Easter racing. “We have that extra opportunity to go to the Sunday in this case and, looking at how much water has fallen here, it is the only option. Gumboots will still be useful tomorrow, I’d say.”


By Pete McNae