Speedway seeks volunteers

Photo: Taieri Times Files
Ricky Boulton. Photo: Taieri Times Files
A Dunedin car racing club has come up with a novel way to coax its members into volunteering.

Beachlands Speedway advertised an urgent general meeting last week to discuss the club's financial stability, its future direction and ''various contracts concerning our club''.

But speedway promoter Ricky Boulton said the ominous advertisement was, to a point, a ruse.

''It was actually a very clever call to arms by the committee.

''The only way to get members along to a meeting is put something on there about finances.''

Once there - Mr Boulton said about half the 188 members turned up - they were told if they did not step up and start helping the committee an outside organisation would need to be paid to do the work.

He said it was ''a massive undertaking'' to run events at the speedway, and that was being done by a very small group.

The speedway also wanted members of the public to get involved.

''I suppose it's like any sporting organisation, rugby or soccer, they struggle to get volunteers.''

Mr Boulton said the meeting went ''really well''.

''They understood exactly where we're coming from, that it is a business, and we need to run it like a business.''

Clubs were no longer as strong as they were in the 1970s or '80s, when they did not have to compete with the likes of video games.

''Clubs used to be a way of life.''

However that had changed.

A lot was involved in running an event, and committee members had been lost to burn-out.

Members did respond with expressions of interest from prospective committee members.

A roster for working bees had also been arranged for the various racing grades, for work from emptying rubbish bins to cleaning clubrooms or toilets.

The speedway still wanted volunteers from the public, something Mr Boulton said had provided opportunities for fans recently.

It found a new commentator this year, someone who used to sit in the crowd ''year after year'', and decided to have a go.

The speedway's steward had a similar story.

Mr Boulton said the organisation needed capable people to join its team, from back-up tow truck drivers to firefighters, safety crews and lap scorers.

The benefits were free entry to events they volunteered at, and the chance to become part of a club where people made lifetime friends.

david.loughrey@odt.co.nz

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