MANFEILD MATTERS: Grand Prix set to be massive event

By JULIE KEANE, Manfeild Park Trust chief executive

Manfeild Park Trust chief executive Julie Keane.
Manfeild Park Trust chief executive Julie Keane.

Manfeild is home to a Grand Prix double-header over the next couple of weeks — first national motorsport's top event, the New Zealand Grand Prix, and afterward the Bates NZ Dressage Championships which also host GP events.

The NZGP here on February 9-11 is set to be massive. Six champions from a host of different junior categories around the world and eight drivers under the age of 18 years, lined up for the Castrol Toyota Racing Series at its first outing at Ruapuna four weeks ago. We think that field will be further swelled for the series finale here.

We also hold confidence fan attendance at Circuit Chris Amon will also be especially strong this year, thanks not just to the promise of some fantastic circuit action but also due to the regional ticket giveaway promotion run by event promoter Speed-works Events, the Manawatu District Council and Palmerston North City Council.

NZGP has been a massive and enduring success story for Manfeild. The race first came to the Feilding track in 1992 with the current hosting rights' period dating back to 2008.

From thereon it has been contested by TRS, created by Palmerston North-based Toyota New Zealand, as the culmination of a five-round world-class championship, comprising two rounds in the South Island and two others in the North.

The 2018 NZGP is the first operated under a new arrangement which spans three years and involves Manfeild hiring the venue to Speedworks Events, who runs this event.

New Zealand V8s, V8 Utes, Porsche series, GTR NZ, Toyota 86s, Mazda Pro 7 with MX-5s, Formula 1600 and Formula First are support categories.

The end of the following week we're busy with another world-class event: the highlight of the Bates NZ Dressage Championships on February 15-18 is the Saturday night Dressage Musical Spectacular.

This'll feature the Cartown Grand Prix Freestyle to Music and entertainment acts sure to be crowd-pleasers. Two particular elements are the Intersport Equine Challenge, being contested by New Zealand's top dressage combinations, and a Para-Equestrian demonstration. Be prepared to be inspired and enthralled.

General admission, ringside dinner and non-catered day table tickets are available.

The four days of competition include an international component comprising a CDI 3* which is also an FEI World Games 2018 qualifier. Here for the first time is a CDI 2* at intermediate level (NZL level eight) and Grand Prix, a CDIY for the under 21s and a CDIP for pony riders.

At national level there are open grade championships, masters, amateurs, para-equestrian championships and the super five North Island and series finals.

The class is also the final round for the coveted title of the Bates National Champion for 2018. Individually choreographed dressage tests are accompanied by music, chosen by the rider, and judged by a panel of officials from Denmark, Germany, Australia and New Zealand.

Competition will include equine stars who've competed at the Olympics, World Equestrian Games and International competitions in both Australia and Europe. The evening will also include the Inter Discipline Challenge equestrian entertainment.

The competition will be followed by a celebration of Bates Saddles' 20 years of sponsorship.

Don't forget to call me on 027 6599 666 if you have any thoughts about Manfeild. To keep up with the latest news check out the Manfeild website www.manfeild.co.nz and our Facebook page.

- Manawatu Guardian

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