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Grandstand view

Rapidly taking shape alongside the start finish straight at Rockingham are three permanent grandstands that will accommodate 27,500 spectators, all with full, unhindered views of the action.

However, making this happen has not been easy.

Construction got off to the worst possible start when reconfiguration of the layout meant that the grandstands had to rotate 90degrees from south to west, positioning them on top of some of the worst ground on the site.

A combination of iron ore reject, rock material and heavily compacted clay necessitated a complete redesign for piling subcontractor Aarsleff Piling.

Out went the original 250mm precast concrete piles, and in came 244.5mm steel oil well casing. In all 580 piles needed to be driven 29m into the limestone bedrock.

This proved to be a significant setback. Construction of the main grandstand is back on target for completion in May, but it will be a tough task to get the complex fully finished for the Rockingham 500 in September.

Despite this, the speedway has already put in a planning application to extend the seating to 50,000, and more expansion could follow. 'By the time you've put up temporary stands five times you could have paid for a permanent one, ' explains Mubarak. 'We are already in discussion on the possibility of extending further to 70,000.'

These plans have not gone down well with the residents of the little village of Rockingham, less than a kilometre from the circuit. They have already expressed concerns about the volume of traffic that will be generated by the current 27,500 capacity.

Residents of Corby, on the other hand, are preparing themselves for a business boom. Move over Indianapolis, Rockingham is coming.

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