Heavy machinery will be needed to repair the track after storm damage. Above: Track repairs and maintenance in 2020. Photo Lesley Stone

The Waiheke Dirt Track Club is in recovery mode following significant damage to the track due to this year’s wild weather, especially Cyclone Gabrielle. Membership was also greatly affected by the Covid pandemic and the club basically had to “write last season off”. 

But secretary Bruce ‘Slick’ Beaumont says they’re back on track for a grand reopening on Labour weekend.

Deep grooves and debris in the track left it needing to be ripped up and re-laid. The pits are being reshaped and contoured to mitigate the flood damage. Bruce says they are in the lowest-lying point of the surrounding catchment area and both the track and the pits were hit hard in January and February.

Club members and the committee have been busy on the property. They’ve held working bees to maintain momentum for a planned reopening in the spring. ‘Trackies’ turned up with chainsaws, gumboots and can do attitudes for working bees in March and April. More are planned through the winter.

Arbor Bros lent their wood splitter to the club so they could split the ‘widowmaker’ pines they’d felled earlier as part of the remedial work. The club has firewood and pinecones available for sale and funds will go towards club expenses.

Members also had to walk around the track with buckets, removing large stones and debris before earthworks start. “There will be big machinery moving in soon to get the work done,” says Bruce.

Along with the repair work, the club has been holding events and raffles to raise funds to ensure they can continue to increase membership. Even though their own grounds suffered from the cyclone, in February they managed to host a fundraiser for hard-hit Hawke’s Bay. ‘Dirtstock’ featuring eight local musicians and was held at their clubrooms, affectionately known as ‘The Woolshed’. 

“It was great to be able to offer our venue to support the event and we saw the return of lots of old faces as well as new ones. Many relative newcomers to the island said they didn’t know the track or the clubrooms existed. It was also a great team-building experience for our members,” says Bruce. • Sarah Gloyer

Full story in this week’s Gulf News… Out Now!!!

Subscribe and read Gulf News and Waiheke Weekender Online