Sunday, July 06, 2014

SNZ Awards Night

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A couple of weeks ago I attended the SNZ Awards night at Te Papa in Wellington and was lucky enough to pick up the Speedway Website of the Year trophy. It was a huge honour and something I'm really proud of. I put a lot of effort into this website, and it's something that has grown from posting a couple of photos up and writing down what meeting they were from, to what I believe is a genuine review and document of a meeting that hopefully people can look back on and get an impression of the atmosphere, who was there and what that meeting was like. Sometimes it can be quite hard to review a meeting that hasn't lived up to expectation, and back in 2005 that was a lot of meetings. My favourite track, Waikaraka Park was going through some turbulent times and it was really easy to pick the place to pieces, and many people did to the point that I thought they might shut for good. WP wasn't the only track like this and it won't be the last. I made a conscious effort a few years ago to at least try and put something positive or say nothing and just post photos when a bad review seemed pointless. Sometimes we all forget that nobody goes out of their way to present a bad show, and that even the best in the business get it wrong sometimes.

Fast forward and the improvement in the sport has been immense. There have been a few times when a negative review has been unavoidable, two that come to mind were night 1 of the NZ Superstock title at Meeanee recently and the NZ Stockcar title at Blenheim a few years ago. The funny thing is that these postings always seem to get the most hits (by a huge margin) which no doubt is the same reason that good news is always an after thought in newspapers and on TV news broadcasts, bad news means more viewers and more hits for websites! The next step in the journey of this website was the books, which came about when a mates website was hacked and he lost everything. I decided to create a book of the reviews in case anything ever went awry with the website and when I showed a couple of people, they wanted a copy too. One of these people was Gavin Evitt, better known as Pallmall, who became a good mate and was very encouraging with the website, photography and just has passion for the sport which was infectious, a walk around the pits with Gavin was sometimes the highlight of the night because of his immense knowledge and grasp on the history of the sport. There have been many more people I've met, drivers, crew, volunteers and fans alike who make Speedway the rush that it is.

Five books and one magazine later (with two books coming hopefully before christmas) and a SNZ award last year for my review of the 2011/12 Season, things seem to be humming along nicely. The magazine I put together along with Brendon Learmonth, track photographer from Palmy, was also nominated this year, another massive boost to my ego! The books are yet to make a profit, but I don't care, I like having a tangible record of my speedway journey and if other people get a buzz out of them, then that's even better. I began the website in 2005, so next season will be 10 years of work - a whole decade of speedway - drivers have come and gone, clubs have changed, grown and even moved in the case of Baypark, and the entire Speedway network has grown massively online. Where the sport is headed I don't know, I just know I want to be part of it, and hopefully the website, photos and books I create are a worthy addition.

First posting: 2005 WP Meeting One
NZ Stockcar Magazine: 2013 Woodford Glen Meeting

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