Taupo has been given the green light to stage a motocross world championship Grand Prix.
The proactive Taupo Motorcycle Club has been given the nod to host a round of the 2012 championships, provided it can first come up with the $1.1 million required.
The Taupo club will pick up the $300,000 tab to run the 2012 GP – to be called the FIM MX Grand Prix of New Zealand — but it needs help to fund the $800,000 licence fee.
Australia is also believed to have been granted hosting rights for a GP in 2012, the “piggy-back” arrangement needed to make the events viable for the GP teams to travel with their entourages from the other side of the world.
Taupo club president Geoff Hall warns that race fans should not get too excited just yet and celebrations would be premature.
“Nothing is set in stone just yet. We have got until November to sign the contract but first we need to see where the funds are coming from. We have put in one application with the Government and will lodge another application in August,” he said.
“We can’t commit to hosting a GP just yet but we have passed the first hurdle, so to speak.
“The track has been inspected and meets all the criteria to host a GP.
“We are looking ahead and feeling positive but we won’t know anything firm until December. By then we will be either very busy or we will be just kicking back and relaxing.”
The club is no stranger to hosting high-profile international events, having staged the successful FIM Junior World Motocross Championships in August 2009 and welcoming such illustrious riders as Stefan Everts (Belgium), Joel Smets (Belgium), Rui Goncalves (Portugal), Gareth Swanepoel (South Africa), Matis Karro (Latvia), Billy Mackenzie (Scotland) and Roger De Coster (Belgium) in recent years.
New Zealanders, too, are no strangers to racing at this level with Taranaki brothers Darryll, Shayne and Damien King, Motueka’s Josh Coppins, Taupo’s Ben Townley, Auckland’s Tony Cooksley and Auckland’s Katherine Prumm each achieving GP wins in Europe. Shayne King, Townley, Cooksley and Prumm have previously won world titles.
© Words and photo by Andy McGechan, www.BikesportNZ.com