IT’S been painted white, bright yellow, now it’s black, and it’s almost as iconic as the Invercargill Water Tower.
It is the control tower at X Factor Cars Riverside Speedway which has been standing proud since the late 1970s and would have witnessed many an epic battle on track throughout the years.
From the outside, the tower, which houses the race commentator and lap scorers, looks all right but it is starting to get towards its best by date with the coastal conditions finally starting to take their toll.
While the tower is still safe enough and had some strengthening work, it is at a point of no return where throwing the money needed to keep it safe would be throwing good money at bad.
The club has been tinkering with the idea of a new control tower for some time, and that dream is finally becoming a reality.
The club is embarking on its biggest project in many years, a brand new state-of-the-art control tower on top of a more modern toilet block which will certainly make the public speedway experience a lot more enjoyable.
The project will be in two stages, the first being the ground floor/toilet block, which is expected to take shape throughout this coming season, while the control tower will be the following season in stage two.
The entire building will link up to the current clubrooms, meaning the complete flow will be far better and the club can do away with the current toilet block in the clubrooms, which is prone to flooding.
The new control tower will be pushed slightly further down the home straight.
The timing of this means it will also coincide with the new Mylaps lap monitoring system Speedway New Zealand has rolled out. Setting up a timing loop in the correct place will be easier, where currently the race actually finishes about 10m after the flag stand, which has caught the odd driver out over the years.
The upper level of the tower will be home to the commentator, lap scorers and a room for officials to view from.
A separate group of people have been set the task of putting this project together and managing it to completion, taking the project away from the club committee and allowing those members to just focus on the day-to-day running of the club.
Riverside president and commentator Daryl Shuttleworth said: “A very dedicated bunch of people have got us to this stage, they have helped raise the funds needed to put a spade in the ground but we have a long way to go and a whole heap more money to find.
“We are so very grateful to the ILT Foundation, Community Trust South and Aotearoa Gaming Trust who have all given funding to our club to help us achieve what will be a fantastic building which will serve us well into the future.”
X Factor Cars Riverside Speedway will certainly cut a different shape on the horizon, with the big tower set to go within the next couple of years.
This will add yet another chapter to a club which will have been established for 50 years in 2022 and a track which has been here since 1976.
The new building will certainly add to a great club going forward for many years to come.