Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Auckland/Western Springs

Winged Sprint Cars

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If you like cars, boats and airplanes, or anything else that goes varoom, varoom, New Zealand is the place for you. While RVing in New Zealand, we spent a good part of our time finding anything that went fast and made noise-- or did at one time. We found motorcycle races at Mata Mata where sidecars with feet dragging crew maneuvered around corners-- most of the time. We found Destruction Derby races in the Far North where little kids yelled, "Go Uncle Joe!" and threw dirt clods at the drivers trying to bang Uncle Joe. As far as I know, they don't close Auckland down to run motorcycles through the streets, and I don't remember any kids throwing dirt clods at the Western Springs Speedway, but Auckland has Motat.

The Museum of Transport and Technology (Motat) has a little of everything from trams to an aviation collection covering over 100 years of New Zealand transportation. On the Great North Road, next to Western Springs Park, Motat's aviation collection is one of the largest in the Southern Hemisphere. It includes the only Solent Mark IV Flying Boat in the world and also one of the few remaining WW2 Avro Lancaster Bombers. Restored steam trains are also a popular part of Motat. For operating days, visit Motat. A collection of operating tram cars covers 120 years of steam, cable and electrical tram traction. Number 248 runs from Motat's Great South Road site past the zoo to Motat's Motion Road site.

If you enjoy speedway racing, or just want to get a little mud in your face, catch the Midget World Series or the Spring Car Classic at Western Springs Speedway. A circle track, six classes race here including midgets, sprints, and motorcycles. Most Saturday nights between November and March, you can find US and Kiwi drivers competing for the chance to tear up their car or tear up their body in the chase for the trophy. A natural amphitheater, the Western Springs Stadium holds 30,000 for sports events and 50,000 for large music concerts.

Four kilometers west of the city center, parking is fairly easy if you're RVing or traveling by car. The Auckland Explorer Bus stops at Motat. Western Springs Speedway is on nearby Stadium Road.

Lyn Harris

RV in NZ: How to Spend Your Winters South in New Zealand

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