Ellesmere Raceway - Our History
The Ellesmere Motor Racing Club has been operating dirt track racing in the district since it was first formed in 1969 by Warwick Taylor and Kevin Burt. Originally called the Rakaia River Bed Racing Association the club regularly moved around various locations over the years. Along with all the moving came a change of name to the Ellesmere Stock Rod and Dirt Bike Association.
In 1980 the club was successful in gaining approval from the local Council and Domains Board to build a speedway track at it's current location. The first stone in this venture was turned by local contractor David Gamble in August 1981, with Paul Johnston and North Canterbury contractors Gray and Lewis also being instrumental in shaping the terrain.
In April 1982 the club had yet another name change to it's current title, the Ellesmere Motor Racing Club (E.M.R.C.) and after many fund raising ventures, along with many working bees from club members the gates finally opened to the public on April 24th 1983. The first few years of racing at the Ellesmere track saw the club build a very high profile within the local community and the track quickly obtained a great reputation amongst the many speedway competitors that travelled and raced at the dirt oval from all over the country.
A number of innovative events over the years continued to grow the profile of the club. The Ellesmere Motor Racing Club initiated and held New Zealand's first ever Caravan Demolition Derby, and featured on various television channels around the world in doing so. Not satisfied with just having that promotion to their credit the club moved forward and in two consecutive years, 1989 and 1990 Ellesmere played host to a 2 day National Sprintcar Challenge that featured such speedway icons as Barry Butterworth, Allan Wakeling and Kerry Jones. This event further cemented Ellesmere as an innovative club and made the track an almost household name around the local district.
With this new found following, class numbers steadily grew across the classes run and on many occasions it wasn't unusual for almost the entire Woodford Glen Super saloon field to turn up on race day to take in some Sunday afternoon laps. In recent years, and like many other organisations the E.M.R.C has struggled to attract constant racing entrants and the issue filtered through to spectators as well.
Moving to 2013, with a new and very active committee we have given the place a major overhaul and improved all our facilities and with a solid re-building plan in place as far as membership and administration goes the club hopes that it can again capture some of the atmosphere of "The good ol' days"