20 Years of Commotion by the Ocean

This season marks the 20th year since the Oval by the ocean raised up from the rumble in Mount Maunganui, six years after the closure of the original BayPark Speedway and motorsport park.  The idea and the dream were made possible in 2000 because of a property developer and former stock car driver Bob Clarkson who estimated 10-15 million dollars would be the cost to complete the exciting project.  The video posted on YouTube from News stories back in the day shows the then Promotion’s manager Peter Harford talk about the excitement of a multi-million dollar privately run stadium, that would host not only the thrills and spills of Speedway but also Rugby and Cricket both internationally and nationally in the heart of the Bay of Plenty and the home of summer, that is Mount Maunganui.  

After 6 months of rushed construction, the stadium opened in all its glory bathed in bright Bay Sun for its first Speedway practice meet just weeks before the grand opening night.  The 17,000-capacity seated stadium then looked very different to the Grand Baypark we know today, additions like the rooftop covering the public were added in later.   Unfortunately, Promotions have delayed the opening night for their exciting Summer of Speedway and its 20th-anniversary celebrations due to Covid level restrictions that mean a lot of drivers, crew, fans, and staff are unable to attend as they reside in Auckland, A new date in November will host the Opening Night and fireworks extravaganza just like it did 20 years ago instead of labour weekend as originally planned. 

Changes will be made shortly to the new calendar which will still feature the NZ Saloon Car Championship, the NI Sprintcar Championship, The biggest 50 lap Midget Car race, The Stock-Car Gold Cup, and Pacific Super Saloon Car Championship just to name a few, including other classes like the Demolition Derby F2 Open-Wheel Midgets, Youth Mini Stocks, and Six Shooters, this season will definitely be one of the biggest and eclectic arrays of classes and events to date in its 20-year history in the Bay.