Dirt Track Racing development started at the Meremere venue in 1972 when extra dirt from excavations to build the drag strip were used to create a dirt track on the other side of the hill.
This allowed the builders of the drag strip, Pukekohe Hot Rod Club to move their grass track racing activities from Pukekawa over the river to Meremere. In 1980 the Auckland Hot Rod Club took over the running of the dirt track as repayment of debentures the Auckland Hot Rod Club held in the drag strip.
The Meremere Dirt Track Club was formed in the winter of 1983 when members of three clubs made up the bulk of the competitors involved, decided to form a new club solely focused on their sport and to take over the running of the event from the then promoters, the Auckland Hot Rod Club. The three clubs were: Auckland Hot Rod Club, Western Districts Off-road Racing Club and the Waiuku Dirt Track Club.
Keith Robson who had been the President of the Auckland Hot Rod Club, and Lance Green the Treasurer of the Western Districts Off-road Racing Club became President and Secretary/Treasurer respectively of the new club. Keith Robson took on the role of writing the club rules along with refining the car construction and racing rules which he had written while President of AHRC along with the myriad of minor details needed to get the club up and running while Lance Green used his marketing skills to create a business plan and a strategy to raise the funds necessary to get a brand new club under way. Many innovative ideas were dreamed up at this time. Such as a free glossy programme each meeting. The first national champs weekend, monthly club nights, proper sponsorship and a level of professionalism that had never been seen at Meremere before. It was thanks to Lance Greens business skills and contacts that the club gained the support. The first couple of years from some major businesses, including
Auto Trader magazine, BP oils, McEntee Hire services, Trans Tours, and Mitre 10.
The club was also well supported by many members who owned their own businesses and chose to sponsor events and programme adverts or to provide goods and services to the fledgling club. Ultimately Keith and Lance were only able to do so much and it was thanks to the initial nine committee members that so much was achieved in so little time. The track was rebuilt and reshaped with a new off road course built with jumps that ran around thru and over the dirt track a new control tower was built, the main pit fence was built and sign written. The access roads graded and metalled, lawns mowed, toilets built, water lines laid and the water truck was dragged up to Auckland and rebuilt. Anything that didn't move was painted.
The committee was made up with 3 members from each club, members being:
Auckland Hot Rod Club
Waiuku Dirk Track Club
Western Districts Off Road Racing Club
The members of the club could see what was happening and became enthused enough to become involved as well. With working bees well attended by large amounts of members all keen to make the club and its first season of racing successful. Many a Saturday night was spent at the track with members camping over. Sitting around the bonfire enjoying a sociable night of storytelling, singing and the odd drink or two.
The first race meeting run by the new club happened on the 16th of October 1983 as planned. All the hard work was done and all the efforts of those that had worked so hard to get the new club up and running were well rewarded with a very successful opening meeting. It was a start of a club and venue that continues to this day having given lots of people a great start in motor sport and even more a great deal of comradeship in the last 25+ years.
Some of those that have taken part and gained their initial experience in motor sport at Meremere have moved onto much bigger things in the broader world of motor racing, these include:
Kerry Jones and Alan Wakeling - NZ Sprint Car Champions
Possum Bourne - Australian, Asia PAcific and NZ Rally Champ (in the mid 70's with his V8 Cortina
Peter Hemi - NZ Super Saloon Car Champ
Kim Austin - Ashley Forest Rally Sprint Record Holder
Ricky Mitchell - Auckland Super Stock Champ
Steve Murphy - 2 x NI Rally Cross Champ. NZ Rally Cross Champ, 2x Ashley Forest Rally Sprint Car Champ
Andrew Hawkeswood - NZ Rally Champ and Sprintcar Driver
Mike Eggleton - Multiple Champion Rally Co-Driver for Possum Bourne
Clyde Walters - Multiple Targa Driver with his spectacular MK 3 Zephyr
Tony Mc Call - 9 x NZ Off-road Racing Champ
Dean Perkins - NZ V8 Race Car Driver
Paul Vazey - Well regarded Stock Car Chassis builder and Race
Ossie Sokol - One of NZ's Top Sprintcar Drivers
Moving along to date, we now have the following race classes competing at Meremere Dirt Track.