Success in Speedway can have so many meanings. For some it can be simply finishing a race with the vehicle in tact or achieving a podium finish, it can be creating a new personal best or finally beating their biggest contender. For some it's seeing the final checkered flag drop knowing the meeting ran smoothly or that the weather God's were kind. It can be selling out of hotdogs because the crowd was so big or that the ambulance crew stood in one spot; no injuries to attend to. For those behind the scenes who tirelessly pour passion and time into making our Speedway the best it can be, success was the Speedway New Zealand Awards 2015.
Ruapuna Speedway put forward nominees of which 14 made the finalist list - a mean feat in itself and something to be proud of. As we sat in anticipation, the room went quiet and the ceremony began. Success came first from Speedway T-Shirt of the Year, a striking design from our very own Allan Batt who humbly approached the red carpet to accept the first award of the night. Before he could return to his seat we were called up again and Kevin Clive accepted the award for Promotional Item of the Year. Another original idea - the collector cards distributed with each programme at meetings.
By now we were all smiles and excitement and before we knew it we were up again! It would seem it was AJ's night, the room erupted in applause (our table the loudest) as Commentator of the Year was announced. An incredibly high accolade but given to none more deserving - not many others would sing the National Anthem when the music fails to play! The next success was Allan Daly winning Modified Sprint Competitor of the Year. Kevin Clive accepted on his behalf and spoke on how dedicated Allan is to this class, the passion he has for it and that we are very lucky to have this calibre of person as a part of our club, on and off the track.
Next up was Jamie Duff 1NZ to accept Sprint Car Competitor of the Year. Despite the €˜a' on his number Jamie says Christchurch is home. It was Jeremy Webb's turn next accepting TQ Midget Competitor of the Year and with this our trophy count was at 6 but the best was yet to come!
One of the last awards to be presented was the Contribution to Speedway award and the nominees list was a long one. We all knew who we wanted to receive it - maybe we were biased but we were not disappointed. We stood and cheered as AJ hit the red carpet for the 3rd time that night, shock and humility were written on his face - it was the highlight of the evening. What made the moment even more momentous was this followed Gary Jemmett who received this accolade last year. This kind of recognition shows the backbone of our speedway is strong and long may it continue.
We are a team at Ruapuna Speedway and should all be proud of each of these successes. I quote AJ Batt I told myself when Ruapuna is better than it was when I first started there it'll be my time to leave; but now it's so good I don't want to. We can all be proud of the effort put in and can lay claim to the success. We get out what we put in so this coming season let's give it everything we've got!