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New Zealand superbike rider of the 1970s and ’80s, Gary Goodfellow, and business partner Jas Chahal took on the town’s Gold Park Motor Camp about a year ago, and have been quietly making improvements since.
The pair joined forces at Mr Goodfellow’s formerly Tauranga-based business Shuzi health jewellery, and opened the camp for "low-key" business in April.
Now they say they are ready to accelerate activity, and take advantage of the imminent Clutha Gold Trail cycleway extension from Lawrence to Waihola, which will run past the Harrington St camping ground entrance.
Mr Goodfellow was South Pacific motocross champion in 1979, and went on to become the first New Zealander to win a World Superbike event, in 1987.
He also worked as a development rider for Kiwi motorcycle legend John Britten.
The camping ground reception reflects this illustrious history, and is filled with motorcycles and related memorabilia, which he says may eventually become part of an on-site museum.
Mr Chahal said he was the one to discover Lawrence, and gain a glimpse of its potential.
"I stopped in Lawrence for a coffee on my way back to Tauranga from Dunedin, and just thought: ‘What a great place’.
"Gary and I bounced some ideas around for a dirt bike ranch for a while, then he saw the campground for sale on Trade Me."
Dunedin-born Mr Goodfellow said it was a chance to "complete the circle".
"It’s a bit of a return home. Lawrence has so much potential — and so much going on already — as a hub for events.
"And with the cycle trail imminent, we want to position the camp right in the centre of that growth."
The camp had formerly been divided between seasonal shearing quarters and periodic camping and caravan use by visitors and "regulars".
The shearing section was being overhauled for tourist use, and plans were in place to include luxury "eco-cabins".
"We’re aiming to have a couple of spas, continue to upgrade facilities and do some further landscaping.
"We want to cater to a wide range of visitors from backpackers in tents and dorms, to those wanting something more luxurious."
Cyclists and other touring visitors such as car rally participants could be central to boosting revenues, and an on-site bike repair/supply shop could also be on the cards, Mr Goodfellow said.
Mr Chahal said he was optimistic the pair could find an eager audience for the camp’s unique blend of track and tranquillity.
"You wake up every morning and it’s just birdsong.
"What could be better?"