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Oct 28, 2008

Regional Shortage Of Hay Bales Turns Into A Good Thing As New Zealand Street Racing Circuit Switches To Airfence

For fifty-six years, straw and hay bales have been a vital part of the safety set up of the legendary Cemetery Circuit in Wanganui. Over the years the size, style and number of bales has varied, in fact increased, as the speed of the machines participating has risen.

The '08 event will see a major change to the safety barriers. Because last summer was so hot, the hay and straw crops were greatly reduced. Put simply there was nothing to bale. The contractor who supplies the bales to the Wanganui Motorcycle Club only baled 5000 bales, when he would normally bale 25000.

This year the Club needed to look else where. Organiser Leighton Minnell looked overseas for a solution and contacted an Australian company Airfence Safety Systems (Australia) Pty Ltd, who supply a product called "Airfence Bike Evo High" to race tracks throughout the world, to protect riders and machines from hitting concrete walls and Armco.

At the Cemetery Circuit the obstacles are slightly different (lamp posts, factory walls etc) but the principle is the same.

Cemetery Circuit Ltd with the assistance of the Wanganui District Council, Wanganui Powerco Trust and Whanganui Community Trust has purchased 200 metres of "Airfence Bike Evo High".

"This will be something different for New Zealand, but overseas Speedway tracks and motorcycle circuits have been using "Airfence' for years," said Minnell from his Wanganui base.

"The Wanganui Motorcycle Club has led the way, when it has comes to safety improvements for street circuits over the years and this is just the next step," he added.

As the principle of "Airfence" is a foam cube, Andy Coffey from Airfence Safety Systems (Australia) Pty Ltd suggested that instead of shipping cubes of air from Australia, they would bring their machine to Auckland and manufacture the units there.

"We (Cemetery Circuit Ltd) hope that because we will only be using the fencing for one event per year. If other clubs needing similar safety equipment will lease units from us," said Minnell.

For more information on this new and innovative product contact Leighton at www.cemeterycircuit.co.nz