BOP Kart Club History

(First Kart Club in the North Island) by Sue Moczydlowski 

The first North Island New Zealand "Go Kart" Club was established in the Tauranga area. The Christchurch Kart Club was also said to be formed about the same time, but to who was first in New Zealand is still a mystery.

On the 2nd of July 1959, with 60 members, the first Tauranga Go Kart Club was formed, but it was without a home. The only solution was to go to the public. The Club, along with other sporting clubs, assisted raising funds for charity organisations. In 1959 the Club helped raise funds for four schools in the Western Bay of Plenty and in return was able to use the school grounds for racing. In that same year the Club also raced in Te Puke at a Scouts Gala where well known racing driver Denny Hulme raced and won the invitation race.

The Club later used a track at the Hairini intersection, but this was only for a short period as development would soon take over. The Club was then offered a small quantity of land at Oropi, on the outskirts of Tauranga, where it had a dirt track for several years. However, once again, because of development, the Club had to find a new home. Another motor sport personality prominent in Karting at this time was Ginger Molloy who, along with his daughters, raced several times for the BOP Club.

After leaving the Oropi track the Club was once again without its own track. During this time several Club members used the Tauranga airport whilst others had access to land at Welcome Bay. The Club was then very fortunate to be offered a lease of the old quarry site at the back of Jack Fagan's farm, at Alley Road, near Te Puke.

In October 1973 the 'Tauranga Go Kart Club Incorporated' was granted consent by the Tauranga County Council for the development of a 400 meter long dirt track where the Club hosted regional and North Island title meetings until 1979.At about this time in the Club's development it undertook a name-change and was then renamed the 'Tauranga - Te Puke Kart Club'.

In 1979 heavy rain caused massive slips in the Papamoa Hills, the quarry was badly damaged and the track flooded. A great deal of repair work needed to be done before racing could recommence. Because of this it was decided to upgrade the existing track by sealing and extending the track by a further 80 meters. The sealing work was completed in January 1982.

The leased land was purchased by the Club in 1988 and further development of the track and facilities was placed on-hold while the Club focused on repayment of the loan obtained to complete the purchase.

In 1995-96, the pit area was shifted and rebuilt in readiness to undertake planned extensions to the track at the quarry end of the property. In February 1998 earthworks commenced on the track extension project and the newly extended 725 meter long tack was officially opened on 18 April 1999.

The Club, on 26th May 1997, again changed its name to the 'Bay of Plenty Kart Club Incorporated' and the track itself was renamed the Fagan's Valley Raceway.

2002 saw a significant upgrade to the sites facilities. New safety fences and concrete curbs were installed on the track corners to comply with national KartSport New Zealand rules. The pit areas were concreted and grassed and a new control tower was built. Disaster again struck in March 2009 on the race track in the form of another land subsidence covering 1/4 of the racing circuit. Extensive work was needed so racing could commence in the way of drainage and a "bund" wall erected to alter the water flow away from the track. Fortunately the track surface was undamaged.

An extension, in 2010, was made to the scrutineering shed covering in the overhanging roof to allow for more storage for track and safety equipment.

2005, 2008, 2010 saw the comeback of Kart racing in the streets of Tauranga. This event has been very popular with both the public and competitors. The idea of street racing was to take Karting to the public and allowing competitors to have a change from their normal race tracks. The event was strongly encouraged by the Tauranga City Council and is now classed as a "Tauranga Flag Ship Event".

In 2011, in association with KartSport New Zealand's rebranding, the club adopted a new logo of "KartSport Bay of Plenty" but still operated as Bay of Plenty Kart Club. The new logo was introduced to be in line with all other Kart clubs affiliated to KartSport New Zealand.

Operating for more than 50 years, the Bay of Plenty Kart Club is a strong family based community club providing safe, exciting, affordable motorsport for families and individuals both young and old with the focus being just as much on fun and enjoyment as it is on the competition itself.

Street Race History

2005  SOLA60 - Tauranga streetrace.

2008  CASTROL - Tauranga streetrace

2010   Farmer Auto Village - Tauranga streetrace